Former aide to Theresa May admits she 'struggles to see economic upside to Brexit'

PUBLISHED: 15:30 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 01 March 2019

Theresa May's former chief of staff Nick Timothy. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Theresa May's former chief of staff Nick Timothy. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Theresa May's former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, has claimed that the prime minister and her ministers "struggle to see any economic upside to Brexit" and see it as a "damage limitation exercise".

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One of May’s most influential advisers since her time at the Home Office, Timothy was forced out of 10 Downing Street in 2017 after being blamed by many Tories for the disastrous general election campaign which saw the party lose its majority in the House of Commons.

Speaking to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg for a forthcoming BBC Two documentary entitled Inside The Brexit Storm, the Brexiteer claimed that May’s approach since then has stopped the government taking the necessary steps to get the most out of Brexit.

“I think one of the reasons we are where we are is that many ministers - and I would include Theresa in this - struggle to see any economic upside to Brexit,” he said.

“They see it as a damage limitation exercise.”

The Brexiteer continued: “If you see it in that way then inevitably you’re not going to be prepared to take the steps that would enable you to fully realise the economic opportunities of leaving.”

He added: “One of the difficulties she’s had is that she’s tried to take every part of the party with her at different points.”

“It would have been better to be clearer that not everybody in the party was going to get what they wanted.”

Stephen Doughty MP, a leading supporter of People’s Vote, said it was a “damning indictment”.

“It is a damning indictment of the prime minister when her former closest advisor admits that she and her ministers struggle to see any economic upside to Brexit and instead view it as a ‘damage limitation exercise’ - it shows that Theresa May knows Brexit will leave us all worse off.

“No-one voted to make themselves poorer, and it’s clear that the Brexit being delivered is very different to the one that was promised.

“This new revelation is one more reason why this must go back to the people for a final say, and why huge numbers will be marching through London on March 23 demanding a People’s Vote.”

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