Ken Clarke: The ‘nonsense’ surrounding no-deal Brexit is ‘driving me up the wall’

Ken Clarke is back on the television again. Photograph: BBC.

Ken Clarke is back on the television again. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Ken Clarke has said he feels the public's exasperation with Brexit and the 'nonsense' around no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to Adam Boulton on Sky News, the father of the house, said he was worried people have got to the point now where they are so fed up of Brexit they will allow anything to happen because they are losing interest.

He said: "I think I share the exasperation of most of the public, it's beginning to drive me up the wall.

"It's becoming silly and slogan based and simplistic.

"I think what worries me most is a great many of the public and paid up members have had enough of this.

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"This is gone on for over three years and so we're concentrating on silly simple answers. Let's just stop it all on October 31st. Give up every agreement. Stop bothering about trade and all these things, and on 1st November we'll find out what it's like.

"And that has a certain appeal. But it should have never been introduced in the first place, and it's not actually possible."

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He claimed that neither Jeremy Hunt nor Boris Johnson plan to allow a no-deal Brexit, despite claims to the contrary.

"None of the candidates want to leave with no withdrawal deal, and no transition period.

"And you can't just leave on 31st October. And if you do, despite all the hundreds of millions of pounds and the thousands of civil servants who have been devoting time to it, we still don't know the immediate effects of it. Waking up on 1st November finding we no longer have any regularised arrangements with our neighbours and our most important markets.

"It's just nonsense."

Speaking to journalists at a lunch, he added that "the real world" would eventually take over.

"They are pitching themselves at the electorate they are doomed to have to appeal to. I don't think either candidate believes leaving with no deal makes the slightest sense at all.

"Jeremy hedges it, Boris does his usual thing of changing the way he expresses it day by day. He'll make his mind up what he'll actually do, regardless of what he actually said, if he actually finds himself prime minister, and I'm sure Jeremy will start getting back to common sense if he finds himself prime minister."

He continued: "As I don't think that the declared policy position of either candidate is remotely credible, nor do I think it is what either of them think it is what they're going to pursue, I shall wait to see what the prime minister says he and the government he forms actually intends to do,"

And commenting on the leadership race itself the 76-year-old quipped: "When the Conservative party can't think of anything sensible to do in a crisis it always has a leadership election. And I've taken part in several of them."

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