Theresa May should put a “no deal option on the table” because none of her ideas to leave the customs union “inspire confidence”, a former Brexit minister has said.
David Jones MP, who was Exiting the European Union minister from 2016 to 2017, said he thought Britain would be better off quitting the EU and trading on “World Trade Organisation terms”.
The Prime Minister and her Cabinet Brexit sub-committee are due to decide next week on whether to collect tariffs for the EU after Brexit or use a combination of technology and goodwill to limit the impact of checks on trade once Britain quits the customs union after the UK leaves the EU next March.
Mr Jones told Chopper’s Brexit Podcast: “I think that really the no deal option needs to be put on the table again by the Government because it would be extremely worrying for the Irish republic if that were to be the outcome.
“At the moment we have got all sorts of ideas being put forward none of them which inspire confidence and I think that we do have to talk in serious terms about other arrangements.”
Also on the podcast, Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that the Tories had to become a “positive optimistic party that does have a sense of humour” to beat Labour at the polls.
She said ministers should “talk about money, success, aspiration. Talk about how things in this country are getting better.
“We are seeing real wages rising this week, company investment going up. We need to get that message across.
“The other great thing about being a Tory and one of the reasons why I joined the party is that it has got a sense of humour.
“The Labour party is po-faced, humourless, hat-wearing … there is something deeply negative when you look at the Labour benches and you see their Eeyore faces – that everything is going to the dogs.
“We need to be the positive optimistic party that does have a sense of humour and can take the mick of ourselves because everybody else does.”
Chris Skidmore, the Tory vice chairman for policy, also told the podcast that the party had to “reset the button” and “detoxify” policy on immigration, although he was against an amnesty for illegal immigrants in the UK.
He said: “I disagree with the idea of an amnesty – I think that is unfair on people who have gone through the legitimate route of getting British citizenship and also it would be a free pass for traffickers.
“But when it comes to looking at immigration, Brexit provides us with a great opportunity to reset the button…
“Actually immigration predominantly should be about what you contribute, what you give and for people coming to this country, working hard in areas where we need that work to take place, they should be rewarded with British citizenship over a period of time.
“Absolutely we should be looking for the future, trying to detoxify immigration so that it becomes about not pressure on public services and education but so we can say people who have come to this country have earned their right to be here. They have worked hard they have paid their taxes.”
Guests on today's Chopper’s Brexit Podcast are Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Sir Keir Starmer MP, shadow Brexit Secretary; David Jones MP, former Brexit minister; Chris Skidmore MP, Conservative party vice chairman for policy; Tory MP Bim Afolami; Giles Kenningham, former Conservative party head of communications; and Joe Twyman, the veteran pollster.