Michael Heseltine responds to his sacking: I’ve never met Theresa May
Speaking on International Women’s Day, Heseltine also said that May had a 'man-size' job to do.
Michael Heseltine has spoken out after being been sacked from his government advisory positions for supporting yesterday’s amendment to the Article 50 bill.
The former deputy prime minister said that he had never met Theresa May, who entered the Commons back in 1997.
But there was confusion as Downing Street then rejected the claim, with the prime minister's spokesman saying: "My understanding is that the prime minister has met Lord Heseltine."
Heseltine was one of 13 Conservative peers to vote against the Government on whether Parliament should have a “meaningful” say on the final terms of Brexit, including if the prime minister chooses to withdraw from negotiations without a deal.
He subsequently learnt that he had been fired from his five official roles.
The Tory peer occupied various advisory posts working alongside the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on issues from estate regeneration to a city deal for Swansea. Westminster sources suggested that business secretary Greg Clark was one senior Tory who would miss having the deputy prime minister sitting near his office.
Speaking about his sacking, Heseltine said the Government had decided to make an example of him.
He told the BBC: “This is the prime minister exercising her perfectly legitimate right to get rid of opposition in any way she finds appropriate. Whether it's a wise thing to do is a matter for her not for me.”
On the Today programme, the Tory peer said he had done “three, four days a week” over the last six years, but “the point comes in life when you have to do what you believe to be right”.
He also said that he hadn’t actually been contacted by Number 10 about his sacking.
Asked what he made of May's premiership, he said: “I heard nothing from Number 10. Indeed I’ve had no relationship with Number 10 since the new prime minister.
“I’ve never met Theresa May and so I can’t make a judgement.”
In what looked like a dig at the prime minister's populist instincts on Brexit, he added: “She’s doing well in the polls…"
Heseltine was later chastised on television for saying May had a "man-size" job to do - as he spoke to Sky News on International Women’s Day.
Explaining that he had never met May as prime minister, he told presenter Sarah-Jane Mee: "I don’t in any way criticise her for this. She has got a man-size job to do and she’s very busy."
“She’s got a man-size job? It’s a woman-size job now,” Mee said.
Heseltine replied: “I find myself chastised by you, and you are quite right."