Owen Paterson urges Theresa May to 'move aside’

Owen Paterson urges Theresa May to 'move aside’

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The former environment secretary has said that the prime minister should “move aside” ahead of Friday, so that the UK can leave the EU without a deal.

The Brexit deadline was extended to April 12 after MPs failed to pass Theresa May’s deal on March 29.

The prime minister has requested a further extension to Brexit to June 30, but Owen Paterson argued that the UK should simply leave on Friday as planned.

He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “If the Conservative party does not deliver Brexit there will be “absolute fury” from Conservative voters.”

Conservative MPs are formally unable to remove the prime minister until November after she survived a no-confidence vote in December last year, but Mr Paterson argued “something needs to happen”.  

The MP for North Shropshire said Mrs May should “move aside” and dismissed the option of a general election.

“The last thing we want is a general election,” he said. “People are sick to death and just want to leave. It is a very clear message.”

He added: “We can honour the referendum by choosing to leave on Friday. We know all the hysterical Project Fear is nonsense.

“There is still time. If we left with no-deal, we would end the uncertainty.

“The businesses that are being held back would be released. If we don’t leave on Friday, the uncertainty will continue and it is also not good for Europe.”

ERG member Mark Francois has told Julia that the UK can still leave the European Union on Friday, despite attempts to further extend the Brexit deadline.

He added: “We should have left long ago but the prime minister has not exactly played a blinder in terms of the Brexit negotiations.

“She came out with a withdrawal agreement that means that we don’t really leave the European Union, which is why it was voted down by the House of Commons three times.

“Now she has found herself having to be a supplicant to the President of France and the German chancellor as a result.”

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