Former Theresa May loyalist Sir Michael Fallon has said that the prime minister’s Brexit deal is “doomed” and called for Brexit to be delayed in order to negotiate a better deal.
The former defence secretary described the deal as “the worst of all worlds” and confirmed he would not vote for it in Parliament.
The Sevenoaks MP said the agreement seemed “doomed” to fail when it came to the House of Commons.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “My fear is that this deal gives us the worst of all worlds.
“No guarantee of smooth trade in the future and no ability to reduce the tariffs that we need to conclude trade deals with the rest of the world.
“So, unless the House of Commons can be persuaded somehow that those are possible then I think, yes, the deal is doomed.”
Fallon said the government could not simply brush off Donald Trump’s warning about the Brexit deal and said a future trade deal with the US now looked “difficult”.
The US President said that the Withdrawal Agreement “sounds like a great deal for the EU”.
Fallon said: “It’s no use us just brushing that off, saying ‘no, no we can do a deal with America’, he’s the President of the United States, and if he says it’s going to be difficult, then it certainly looks like it’s going to be difficult.
“This is not a good deal and we need a better deal.
“If it’s possible to get a better deal, to send the negotiators back to Brussels for two or three months, to postpone the actual leaving date for two or three months, I still think that in the long term that would be in the best interest of the country.
“We have to get this right.”
The ex-Cabinet minister, who voted Remain in the EU referendum, said he did not think there should be another referendum.
He also said that May should not stand down if she loses the crucial vote on Brexit next month.
He said: “I don’t think changing the leader actually is going to affect this. It’s the government as a whole that needs to see that this deal at the moment doesn’t work for Britain.”
Asked if she could survive a defeat on her Withdrawal Agreement, he added: “Each of us has to make that decision on December 11.”
Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: “When people like Michael Fallon, an uber-loyalist, cannot vote for this deal you know the prime minister is facing a historic defeat.
“This bad deal does not deliver for anyone – no matter if you voted leave or remain.
“Fallon was always the trusted media performer in cabinet – this statement is probably the final nail in the coffin for the prime minister’s deal.
“The only route I can see ending this long national nightmare is a people’s vote and an exit from Brexit.”