New Tory awkward squad takes shape as Anna Soubry slams Liam Fox

Written by Sebastian Whale on 30 September 2016 in Diary

The former business minister has joined Nicky Morgan, Ken Clarke and George Osborne in calling for more Brexit clarity.

Free from the shackles of collective responsibility, Anna Soubry has turned her fire at a leading Brexiteer in the Government.

The former business minister branded Liam Fox “almost delusional” after he said the UK’s trade with the EU would be “at least as free” after Brexit as it is now.

She also expressed her frustration that 100 days after June’s referendum “we still don’t know what Leave looks like”.

Soubry has become the latest member of an emerging ‘Tory awkward squad” after party grandee Ken Clarke and former education secretary Nicky Morgan both lamented the government’s silence over Brexit.

Clarke yesterday pulled no punches as he launched a withering assessment of May’s administration, arguing she leads a “government with no policies”.

In an interview with the New Statesman, Clarke said: “Nobody in the Government has the first idea of what they’re going to do next on the Brexit front.”

Speaking on the Daily Politics, Soubry said she shared the former chancellor’s “concerns” and called on May to take the lead on disclosing details of the UK’s upcoming exit from the EU.

“Three months on we still don’t know what leave looks like. Some of the senior people of the Leave campaign sit at the very highest level of government; Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, David Davis, Priti Patel and Andrea Leadsom. They really have got to say now to the British people what Leave looks like, what Brexit actually means,” she said.

“I do think that Theresa May needs to play her part in that, she is the first minister, she is the prime minister. It’s for her not to rely on Boris, Liam and David.

“She has to come forward and she has to tell us what those guiding principles, what the plan is. We don’t want the details of negotiations. She’s right about that. But we need to know three months on what Brexit’s going to look like. We still don’t.”

She added: “I think my concern at the moment is that from government all we’re hearing from is people like Liam Fox, who are talking in a way which at times concerns me as almost delusional. I mean the idea we’re going to get a better deal from Europe is nonsense.”

Soubry and Morgan both left the government as May appointed her top team upon entering Downing Street.

The Tory awkward squad has traditionally been comprised of eurosceptic backbenchers, who helped ensure David Cameron committed to an EU referendum in the last parliament.

But with pro-Remainers Morgan, Soubry, Clarke and even George Osborne speaking out over Brexit, it looks like there could be a new hit squad in town.


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