Former party leader claims UK will be back in EU ‘within 10 years’

European flags appear alongside the union flag as campaigners fight against Brexit. Photograph: Jona

European flags appear alongside the union flag as campaigners fight against Brexit. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA. - Credit: PA

A former Tory minister and leader of the short-lived Change UK party has said she believes the UK will be back in the EU within a decade.

Anna Soubry was speaking to LBC Radio on the day that the deadline expired to request a transition period extension.

She said: 'When our economy suffers in the most dreadful way everything will be blamed on Covid, when undoubtedly some of it will be on the fact we've left the European Union.

'It is the stuff of madness but we are where we are...I just think it's a terrible tragedy and I think that's how history will record it. Our country has made a terrible mistake.'

Presenter Eddie Mair questioned whether it would be down to Remainers to push for the country to rejoin the EU.

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But Soubry accepted it was not the time to campaign after four years of arguments about the UK's withdrawal, claiming the campaign will fall on a new generation of activists.

She explained: 'No, people are fed up to the back teeth with Brexit'.

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She continued: 'I don't think there's an appetite at large for some movement that would win widespread support for us to rejoin because we haven't even fully left yet.

'I think it will be my children's generation that will do it, I think we'll be back in the EU in ten years time. Of course we'll never get the unique and very special and very good deal that we once had.

'So no doubt the EU will say well if you want to rejoin you have to join the Euro, you've got to join Schengen. We were in a unique position but there's no point in looking backwards, we've got to look to the future,' she said.

Soubry added it will be the same generation that will have to 'pick up the tab' for both the 'Covid crisis' and for the 2016 decision to leave the EU.

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