POLITICS

Brexit: Britain Will Get 'A Worse Deal' Because Of May's Disastrous Snap Election Result - William Hague

Former leader knows more than most about poor campaigns.

30/08/2017 15:29 BST | Updated 30/08/2017 15:47 BST
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Britain will “get a worse deal” on Brexit thanks to Theresa May’s disastrous snap election result, former Tory leader William Hague has declared.

Hague said the PM’s loss of her Commons majority had weakened the UK’s hand in the talks with Brussels and it would now have to pay more money to get a “softer” exit from the EU.

Speaking to Radio 5 Live, the former Foreign Secretary said Brexit had become “more difficult to negotiate” following May’s blunder in the June poll.

“They [the EU] know that the result of the British election weakened the British government’s negotiating position,” he said.

“It absolutely did. Of course [May is] not in anything like as strong a position as if she’d won a majority of 60 or 100 or whatever it might have been in the House of Commons.

“So Britain will get a worse deal as a result of the election. I think there is no question about that.”

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Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Asked if the Tories’ poor performance in the election would lead to a “softer Brexit” Lord Hague replied: “Compared to what could have happened with a different election result, yes, but more difficult to negotiate.

“And in some ways less advantageous for the UK in the sense that we’ll end up having to pay more, we’ll pay a bigger price for leaving I think because of the uncertainties of the election result.”

May repeatedly boasted during the election that she was calling it to “strengthen my hand” in talks with Brussels.

In the end, the Tories lost 13 seats and May her Parliamentary majority as Labour narrowed the gap with its “Corbyn surge”.  

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Jeremy Corbyn after the general election.

Hague added that the Brexit talks would not now go smoothly. “There’s going to be big bust ups. Nobody should think there’s some smooth process by which you bring this about.”

The former Tory leader, who had campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, is the second senior party figure to criticise May over the snap election that she called earlier this year.

Last week, Boris Johnson irritated allies of the PM by ridiculing her decision to call the election, telling the Libyan government that she wasn’t “ready” to fight it.

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Theresa May's doomed 'Presidential-style' election campaign.

Hague - who led the Tories to a catastrophic defeat in 2001 - was more diplomatic, but made clear that he thought May’s campaign had been “poor”.

“I don’t think calling the election was a mistake. I think the result was a mistake. Collectively, by the people of this country. And I think there was a pretty poor Conservative campaign,” he said.

Speaking in Japan, the Prime Minister played down claims her Government was taking a “softer” approach after Labour’s new shift in policy to stay within the single market and customs union during a transition period.

She told Sky News: “You can’t be a member of the single market unless you’re a member of the European Union. The British people voted to leave the European Union and we will be leaving.”