Conservative frontbencher and Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, has claimed that failing to deliver on Brexit would be “appalling”. The Brexiteer also hit out at Remainers who were trying to re-run the Brexit vote claiming “we had a people’s vote in 2016 and we have to do what we were told to do”. Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Conservative MP said: “It is appalling to consider another referendum.
“Mainly because people talk about it as a ‘confirmatory referendum’. No it’s not.
“It is an attempt by those on the Remain side of the argument to run it again, to put it back to the people, with by the way Remain on the ballot people, nobody is suggesting this is just to confirm the Prime Minister’s deal or a WTO withdrawal.
“It is to try to re-run the referendum. We had a people’s vote in 2016 and we have to do what we were told to do.”
During the interview, Ms Leadsom also said that she would “never” vote to revoke Article 50 and would vote to Leave the EU with no deal if Britain was faced with that stark choice.
She said the UK could “survive and thrive” after a no deal exit and it would be “not nearly as grim as many would advocate”.
Challenged on whether she could accept the UK remaining in a customs union with Brussels, the Commons Leader said: “There are various different types of arrangement and those discussions are still ongoing.
“For me, whatever we deliver, it has to be Brexit.
“My expectation, and I’m not party to the discussions, is that the Prime Minister will only seek to agree those things that still constitute Brexit.”
Asked by Marr if a customs union constituted Brexit, Ms Leadsom said: “It depends on what that means. There is a customs arrangement in the Prime Minister’s deal which I have supported every time.”
Ms Leadsom said the Tories were working with Labour “through gritted teeth”, adding that taking part in the European elections would be “utterly unacceptable”.
She said: “The efforts of the civil service have been superb in preparing us for no deal”.
Asked about whether she was happy that the Prime Minister was working with Jeremy Corbyn to deliver Brexit, Ms Leadom delivered a sharp reply.
She said: “Obviously not. The point is, what we have to do is to deliver on the referendum, and three years on, it is so disappointing that Parliament hasn’t found it in its heart to deliver on that, in spite of the very clear majority to leave.
“So, what the Prime Minister has to do is to deliver on Brexit…that is what she is trying to do and that is what I am trying to support her to do.”
This week the Prime Minister has been meeting with Jeremy Corbyn to try to deliver Brexit after she reached out to the Labour Party leader last week.
The Prime Minister said she had done “everything in my power” to persuade Tory and DUP MPs to back her deal but acknowledged the withdrawal agreement had been rejected by the Commons three times and “there is no sign it can be passed in the near future”.
She said: ”Because Parliament has made clear it will stop the UK leaving without a deal, we now have a stark choice: leave the European Union with a deal or do not leave at all.
“My answer to that is clear: we must deliver Brexit and to do so we must agree a deal. If we cannot secure a majority among Conservative and DUP MPs we have no choice but to reach out across the House of Commons.
“The fact is that on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties agree: we both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs. That is the basis for a compromise that can win a majority in Parliament and winning that majority is the only way to deliver Brexit.”
On Friday, Mrs May wrote to European Council president Donald Tusk requesting an extension to the Article 50 process until June 30.
The Prime Minister said she will seek to ratify her withdrawal agreement before the European Parliament elections on May 23, but will make “responsible preparations” to take part if that does not prove possible.
Reports suggest Mr Tusk is recommending a longer postponement of one year, with a break clause in the case of earlier ratification, in a so-called “flextension” deal.