Lord Michael Heseltine has warned MPs against voting to “make this country poorer” in the looming House of Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
In a rousing speech on Wednesday afternoon, the Tory former deputy prime minister told the House of Lords that if it votes for slower economic growth, lower tax revenues and lower public spending “those who will suffer most are those least able to bear the strain”.
“I tell you there are no solutions that help the fortunes of the least privileged in the most stressful circumstances,” said the famously pro-Europe politician.
“When the election comes, it will have been a Tory that led the referendum campaign,” Heseltine continued.
“It will have been a Tory government that perpetuated the frozen living standards.
“It will be a Tory government that is blamed for what we are talking about today.”
“I will have no part of it,” he added.
MPs are currently debating the prime minister’s Brexit deal ahead of a crucial vote on 11 December.
Yesterday marked the start of the debate and May’s government lost three key votes in just over an hour with Tory rebels voting against her.
Earlier today, May was accused of “concealing” the downsides of her Brexit deal after secret legal advice revealed that the UK could be “indefinitely” tied to the EU.
But her deal still has the backing of cabinet ministers with Philip Hammond claiming that it will “heal” the divided country.
The chancellor told the Commons Treasury Committee on Wednesday the “economic cost” of leaving the EU was worth it in order to “move on as a nation”.