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Cabinet must share blame for Brexit failure – Paterson

By Mark Andrews | North Shropshire | News | Published:

A Shropshire Tory MP has likened cabinet ministers to business-class passengers on a plane, sipping champagne while unaware the pilot has turned the engine off.

Owen Paterson

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, a fierce critic of Theresa May's Brexit deal, said the entire cabinet had to share the blame for the fact that Britain was still in the EU.

The former cabinet minister, who called for Mrs May to step down when Britain failed to leave the EU on March 29, said the Prime Minister had to accept the blunt of the blame for this failure.

But he said the her cabinet colleagues also had serious questions to answer.

"The blame for the desperate straits the Tory party finds itself in must, of course, fall squarely on Mrs May herself," said Mr Paterson.

"But why has it take cabinet ministers so long to act? The truth is that they are all complicit in allowing matters to reach this point."

Mr Paterson said over the past few months ministers had failed to grasp the public mood.

"They failed to understand the the enormous strength of feeling which erupted since the UK failed to leave on March 29," he said.

"They may have noticed a little extra turbulence, but they were still comfortably flying in business class, eating good food, sipping champagne, enjoying agreeable company.

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"Yet all the while, they were wilfully ignoring the fact that the pilot had turned off the engines."

Mr Paterson, who served as Northern Ireland secretary and environment secretary in David Cameron's government, said a change of leader would not be enough to restore faith in the Conservative Party.

He accused the party leadership of being to quick to dismiss the reasons why Conservative voters were switching to Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party.

"Ministers must take this opportunity to reflect seriously on why so many natural conservatives are leaving our party to support one that has only existed for a few weeks," he said.

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"It is not because they have suddenly become radicalised. It is not because they are desperate to get the wretched withdrawal agreement 'over the line'. It is because they recognise the fundamental importance of trust in democracy.

"The Cabinet's collective inaction means that they must all bear responsibility for the Government's failures.

"They are all to blame for not warning the Prime Minister off her disastrous strategy. They are all to blame for failing to tell her that her time was up months ago.They are all to blame for failing to stop that appalling speech on Tuesday night."

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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