Ken Clarke gives remainers cause for cheer with ‘stonking’ Brexit speech
'I am the rebel,' the Conservative heavyweight proudly declared.
According to ancient parliamentary convention, applause for a speech in the Commons chamber is not strictly allowed.
But Remain-voting MPs could not be stopped from applauding Ken Clarke after he put the boot in to the government’s handling of Brexit.
The Conservative heavyweight said Nigel Farage was the most successful politician of his generation - because he persuaded people that the EU was full of "faceless grey Eurocrats" who do nothing but come up with "vast quantities of awful legislation" to achieve things such as banning bent bananas.
He went on: "I am the rebel. I espouse the policies that the Conservative party has followed for the fifty years of my membership of it. Until we had a referendum 18 months ago."
On social media, Clarke’s Tory colleague Anna Soubry said he had delivered a “magnificent speech.. on why it’s so important we get Brexit right”.
Labour’s Liz Kendall called speech the “brilliant”, David Lammy described it as a “tour de force” and Chuka Umunna said Clarke was “destroying his Government's case for a hard Brexit in the Commons”
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran enthused: “Listening to the great Ken Clarke speaking on Europe. I wish someone of his calibre was in Cabinet. Especially at a time like this. Stonking speech by Ken Clarke. The chamber erupted into clapping and here, here's. First time I've seen it. Extraordinary.”