David Gauke has said that his former party is ‘not being straight with the British public’ over its Brexit promises.
The former minister’s comments come after he announced he would stand as an independent candidate in his South West Hertfordshire constituency, and would back a People’s Vote.
He told Channel 4 News that he thinks a lot of long-standing traditional Conservative voters are “very uncomfortable” with the party’s approach.
MORE: Former Tory minister to stand as independent and back second referendumOn Boris Johnson’s promises to “get Brexit done”, he added: “The failure to be straight with the British public that if we are going to get a free trade agreement with the European Union it’s going to take more than 11 months”.
He continued: “It’s going to take some time and it’s simply not possible to do it on a timetable that says ‘We will leave the implementation period do or die at the end of next year’.”
"The Conservative Party is not being straight with the British public."— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 13, 2019
Former Conservative minister David Gauke says "you simply cannot reconcile the reality with the government's rhetoric" over Brexit. pic.twitter.com/CFJ3OcPniD
Gauke told the programme: “My point is not really about the merits in general of Boris Johnson. It is about a policy which I think is going to be very damaging to the country.
“I do think there is a failure to level with the British people that the idea that we’re just going to kind of get Brexit done on the 31st of January, and then we can move on to other things and no-one will hear about Brexit ever again, it will all be in our past, simply doesn’t reflect the reality.”
He said the party has “changed very rapidly” in the last few months, adding that the Conservative party “should be a broad church” which accomodates a range of views.
“But it is now taking a purity test if you like on Brexit. It is very focused on appealing to the supporters of Nigel Farage,” he said.