A Brexit vision? Don't hold your breath

PUBLISHED: 11:19 11 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 11 February 2018

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt

PA Wire/PA Images

Government minister Penny Mordaunt has promised "meat on the bones" ahead of a series of big-hitting Brexit speeches.

The International Development Secretary said a series of major speeches planned by Prime Minister Theresa May and Cabinet heavyweights would set out a Brexit “vision”.

She told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “What the public want is they want the vision and they want some meat on the bones.

“And that’s what they are going to get. And that will involve at the end of the process the Prime Minister setting out what that new partnership will look like, but it will also give some detail on our trading ambitions and relationship, what it means for devolution, and many other aspects.”

Asked if she thought a transition period was a given, Mordaunt said: “My personal view is I do because it’s in our interest and it’s in the EU’s interest, so I think common sense will prevail.”

The comments came after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said such an outcome was not a given.

Mordaunt said: “What I would say to the public is that, actually, the other nations involved in this are very pragmatic and have not been impressed with some of the language that the (European) Commission has used.”

Asked if it was a Government red line to not have to grant full rights to EU migrants who come to Britain during a transition period, Mordaunt said: “It is what we are setting out in our position. Again, all of this is a negotiation.

“We are going to be setting out some more detail about our position on all of these issues over the coming months. But, that is something that we are looking for.

“Ultimately, it will be the negotiation, the phrase that is trotted out – nothing is decided until everything is decided.

“But, I think these things make sense and we are right to ask for them.”

Meanwhile Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told ITV’s Peston On Sunday a second Brexit referendum would “divide the country again”, adding: “Those divisions are really still there.”

He said the “better route” is to have a general election.

“We’d never turn our back on democratic engagement,” he said, but added that he would worry about opening up the potential of “right wing xenophobia”.

McDonnell added: “Well I think better we have a general election. Better we have a general election. On the issue, and all the other issues, because you then have a wider debate as well.”

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