David Davis compares Brexit to the Suez crisis

David Davis MP during the Conservative Party annual conference. Photograph: Matt Crossick/EMPICS.

David Davis MP during the Conservative Party annual conference. Photograph: Matt Crossick/EMPICS. - Credit: Empics Entertainment

The former Brexit secretary also admitted making money betting on the outcome of the referendum.

Davis, 70, told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that there had been a 'fierce debate' over the disastrous 1956 invasion of Egypt just as there had over Brexit but insisted it would settle back down.

Asked whether Britain turning into 'a more narrow-minded, xenophobic and divided society' was a 'price worth paying' for Brexit, Davis said: 'That's the view of a Remainer.

'It's true, though, that the debate has become more corrosive. Part of the reason is because it is so important. This happens in British history.

'It happened over Suez when there was a fierce debate, and it happened when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. But then it always settled back down.'

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The Brexiteer also confessed that he had made a person profit betting on the 2016 referendum's outcome. Asked if there was a case for a second vote now the majority of British people thought that Brexit was a bad idea, David responded: 'Do you know how many polls were right before the referendum?

'None, and I made £1,000 pounds profit on the day of the referendum because I saw all these polls and I put a £200 bet on Leave.

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'The odds were five to one. But I got my money back.'

Davis said that while he was 'not an advocate for no deal', Britain 'should not be afraid of no deal'.

He said: 'It's not the best option by a long margin. It's not the best option for us. It's very much not the best option for a number of European countries, including Germany.

'But in any negotiation, you always have to have a walk-away option. When you go buy a car or buy a house or buy a piece of land, you've got to have the option of not buying it. Otherwise, the price becomes ridiculous.

'That's what has happened here. The price for Britain has become ridiculous. Therefore, we should go back and renegotiate properly this time.'

The ex-cabinet minister mocked claims of chaos if Britain left the bloc without a deal on March 29.

'People talking about aircraft being grounded,' he said. 'Really? Really? You don't want to go to America ever again?

'You want to fly around Britain when you're doing it? Oh, come on. That won't happen.'

And he insisted that he had to quit the government over the prime minister's Chequers plans, claiming that as he was so trusted people would have assumed it was a good deal.

'When I realized that the prime minister is about to hand away the control of our own future, our independent nationhood, I couldn't go on,' he told the magazine.

'I knew if I stayed a lot of people would have said: David is going along, we can trust David, so we will live with it. That is not what I wanted.'

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Loran, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: 'David Davis has really given the game away here. By comparing Brexit to the Suez crisis and appeasement, he's all but admitted Brexit will be a colossal disaster.

'The scary thing is that despite the damage he knows Brexit will do to the country's international standing and to communities across the UK, he doesn't mind going ahead with it. He knows he's not in the firing line, so he doesn't mind others suffering the consequences.

'It's shameful and the people of this country deserve better. That's why the public need their voice heard on Brexit through a final say, with the option to stay and lead in Europe.'

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