Saturday 19 January 2019 11:39 am

John Major urges Prime Minister May to ditch red lines on Brexit negotiations


City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email: alex.daniel@cityam.com

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email: alex.daniel@cityam.com

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Former Conservative prime minister John Major has urged Theresa May to drop her so called red lines on Brexit negotiations and let parliament find a way to avoid a no deal scenario.

Major said: “Her deal is dead and I don’t think honestly that tinkering with it is going to make very much difference if any difference at all.”

Read more: Customs union compromise could open the door to renewed talks on Brexit, says commissioner

“If we leave in chaos and without a deal, that seems to me to be the worst of all outcomes,” he told BBC radio.

Major, who was prime minister from 1990 to 1997, said he compromised on big decisions surrounding the Northern Irish peace process and the first Gulf War.

May should do the same, he said, after parliament rejected her proposed Brexit deal with a resounding majority on Tuesday night.

The Prime Minister is due to tell parliament on Monday how she intends to get past the current impasse, which has left business leaders and industry chiefs fearful of a damaging no deal Brexit.

Until a consensus is reached, Major added, delaying Brexit was sensible.

But former foreign secretary Boris Johnson warned yesterday that politicians risk losing the electorate's trust if they were to delay Brexit by extending Article 50 beyond 29 March.

Read more: Retail sales fall as 'suffocating' Brexit uncertainty envelopes UK high streets


In a speech at building machinery giant JCB’s headquarters in Staffordshire, he said: “It's overwhelmingly likely we will get a deal, a good deal – we just won't get this deal."

“To extend Article 50 now would no nothing but erode trust in politics,” the former foreign secretary added. “It would cause widespread international dismay.”

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