Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has confessed he has not actually seen the Sir John Major speech he has spent much of the past day touring studios attacking.
The ex-Work and Pension Secretary has described Sir John’s speech, in which the former prime minister attacked the government’s Brexit strategy, as “strangely bitter” and “rather sad” in a number of interviews overnight and today.
But, questioned on it by Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid today, Mr Duncan Smith admitted he had not actually seen the speech which has riled him so much.
Asked why not, he said: “To be fair I had a whole host of meetings,’ before claiming that he had watched a few short clips of the speech.
The self-styled Quiet Man was one of the so-called ‘bastards’ who sought to undermine Sir John over Europe throughout his premiership.
Mr Duncan Smith told Good Morning Britain: “I don’t have any problem with him making a speech saying that he doesn’t want us to leave. He never did, he’s argued against it and that’s fine.
“I just… the one bit… I’m not going to get into this… you know, politics is a rough old game, he wants a second referendum, I don’t believe in that.
“That’s not democracy. You ask the British people, they made a decision, you have to deliver on it.
“I think if you keep going back just because you don’t like, what you end up with is the establishment, the people that govern somehow saying, ‘do you know what? You’re too stupid and we don’t think you know what you’re doing and therefore we’re gonna hold it again until we get the right decision’.”
In his speech yesterday Sir John said the PM should offer MPs a free vote on the final Brexit deal, with the option of putting it to the public in a second referendum.
In a high-profile intervention in the Brexit debate, he warned of a ‘terrible backlash’ from the public if EU withdrawal left the UK poorer and weaker, as forecasts suggest.
Sir John called on May to stand up to the ‘ultra-Brexit’ minority in her party and drop her ‘red lines’ of taking Britain out of the single market and customs union.
The red lines were opposed by a majority in both Houses of Parliament and had ‘boxed the Government into a corner’ in negotiations, making a favourable outcome ‘impossible’, he said.