The sole Remainer Tory leadership candidate, who has just dropped out of the race, has warned that the candidates left are doomed to repeat the mistakes of Theresa May unless they accept the realities of negotiating Brexit.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “The stark choice is that there’s going to be no deal or a second referendum, because Theresa May’s deal will not pass this House of Commons,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how it’s dressed up by the contestants … whoever wins will have to deal with that reality.
“And what I wanted to do in that debate was focus on that reality rather than the path of least resistance, which is saying what we think our members want to hear.”
WATCH: Viral 90-second rant nails exactly how our politicians ignore Brexit realityHe added that the contestants are repeating all of May’s mistakes.
“One big mistake Theresa May made was boxing herself into the March 29 deadline, and they are all boxing themselves into the October 31 deadline,” he said.
He added that they are also unrealistic in thinking they can renegotiate the backstop, and that in supporting no deal some of the candidates are wading against the tide of both the House of Commons and the majority of the country.
“So, no matter what they say in the campaign, the risk is that whoever gets elected becomes a do-nothing prime minister because they cannot deliver what they promised in the campaign,” he said.
The MP for East Surrey had entered the leadership race just a week before deadline but did not get the required backing of eight MPs.
He stood alone among the candidates by including the possibility of a second referendum, and said he had put himself forward in order to widen the debate.
He said that all candidates should be open to an extension of Article 50 beyond the October 31 deadline, warning that with European recess in August there will be around two months to renegotiate any deal.
“It is highly unlikely that a new prime minister in July … will be able to do have done what Theresa May failed to do in about three years,” he said.
“That’s the stark reality, so an extension is highly likely.”