Lord Heseltine: Millions of Tories could vote Lib Dem at election because of Brexit

2 October 2019, 23:05 | Updated: 24 October 2019, 11:15

Former Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine
Former Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Millions of Tories switch to the Lib Dems at the next election because "they will not swallow the line that is peddled about Brexit", Lord Heseltine has warned.

The former Conservative deputy prime minister and vocal Remainer said it was "unbelievable" that the Government was risking the future of the UK "on a dogma which was driven by extreme populism".

Speaking at Westminster, Lord Heseltine argued that the PM was combining "an agenda of right-wing hardline politics with Brexit" in a bid to attract supporters of Nigel Farage.

He also said the idea that US President Donald Trump would offer Britain a generous trade deal just as he was seeking re-election was "a delusion of the most naive sort".

Lord Heseltine made his withering criticism during a Brexit debate in the House of Lords after Mr Johnson unveiled his latest plan to reach a deal before October 31.

Referring to the PM’s speech, he said: "It revealed very clearly what the strategy is and what is has been since day one of his premiership.

The Prime Minister unveiled his final Brexit deal on Wednesday
The Prime Minister unveiled his final Brexit deal on Wednesday. Picture: PA

"It is to combine an agenda of right-wing hardline politics with Brexit to try and get it through a general election campaign by attracting back Nigel Farage's supporters.

"It is as blindingly as obvious as that."

Lord Heseltine said the main problem for the Conservatives was not Jeremy Corbyn, but the Tories themselves given the internal party divisions.

He added: "There are millions of Conservatives who are now voting for the Liberal Democrats because they will not swallow the line that is peddled about Brexit.

"The idea that President Trump is going to do a soft-option for Britain's trade in a pre-election period in America is a delusion of the most naive sort.

"The idea that the Conservative Government is risking the future of the United Kingdom itself on a dogma which was driven by extreme populism is to me unbelievable."

Pressing for a second referendum, Lord Heseltine said: "We need to go back to the people for an endorsement of the decision and much better its rejection."

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