Lord Adonis: PM has become an ally of UKIP and the Tory hard right

PUBLISHED: 19:43 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:51 29 December 2017

Lord Adonis. Photograph by Paul Bennett.

Lord Adonis. Photograph by Paul Bennett.

Archant

Lord Adonis has quit the government’s infrastructure role delivering a scathing verdict on the handling of Brexit and claiming the PM has become an ally of UKIP and the Tory hard right.

The Labour peer resigned as chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, saying he was “duty bound” to oppose the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill when it comes to the House of Lords.

In his resignation letter, seen by the Press Association, he told the Prime Minister: “Brexit is a populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump.

“After the narrow referendum vote, a form of associate membership of the EU might have been attempted without rupturing Britain’s key trading and political alliances.

“Instead, by allying with Ukip and the Tory hard right to wrench Britain out of the key economic and political institutions of modern Europe, you are pursuing a course fraught with danger. Even within Ireland, there are set to be barriers between people and trade.

“If Brexit happens, taking us back into Europe will become the mission of our children’s generation, who will marvel at your acts of destruction.”

He warned the Government is “hurtling towards the EU’s emergency exit with no credible plan for the future of British trade and European co-operation, all the while ignoring - beyond soundbites and inadequate programmes - the crises of housing, education, the NHS, and social and regional inequality which are undermining the fabric of our nation and feeding a populist surge”.

Sir Vince Cable said Lib Dem peers would work with Lord Adonis - and veteran Tory Lord Heseltine - to fight against Theresa May’s plans for Brexit when the legislation arrives in the upper chamber.

He said: “Lord Adonis is one of the most thoughtful politicians around. This is why he has so many friends and political admirers beyond the Labour Party.

“It is, then, a great shame that he is no longer leading Britain’s infrastructure programme.

“Yet he felt there was no other option but to resign because of the way Brexit has been so badly mishandled.

“Notably, he is deeply concerned by how the Conservative leadership has pandered to its right wing over the single market and customs union, leaving which will badly - and needlessly - damage our trade.

“We hope to work closely with Andrew - and Lord Heseltine, another admirable politician who has been so badly treated by the Conservative right - in fighting to end the hard Brexit that the Government is recklessly pursuing.”

Whitehall sources indicated that Lord Adonis, whose frequent criticism of Brexit had caused outrage among Tory Eurosceptics, had “jumped before he was pushed”.

A Government source said: “He’s been moving closer towards the exit door with each new onslaught he makes against Brexit.

“He’s now walked through the door before he was pushed.”

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