The Conservative Party has been put under “existential strain” by Brexit and some friendships and relationships will “never be healed”, according to a former cabinet minister. Nicky Morgan, the Tory chairwoman of the Treasury Committee, laid bare the personal toll on MPs divided over the merits of the UK’s departure from the European Union as she insisted she still believes the party can come back together.
Mrs. Morgan also said Brexiteer colleagues need to “understand that there is a need for compromise” and advised them against pursuing an approach that “potentially crashes” the UK economy.
Mrs. Morgan, in an interview with the PA, said of the impact of Brexit on her party’s unity: “Massive, I think it’s put the party under existential strain.
“I still believe… that we absolutely can come back together after this, but it’s going to have to be because people want to do that, there are still many, many issues which unite us as Conservatives, but yes I think there are friendships and relationships that will never be healed from this in the party.”
On her Brexiteer colleagues, the MP said: “Nobody gets what they want in complicated negotiations and I’m staggered that some of my Conservative Party colleagues don’t want to listen to what businesses and individuals are telling us.
“We’re going to leave the EU, the UK will be a third party member from next March… I would urge them not to willingly pursue a path that potentially crashes the UK economy, that cannot be acting in the national interest.”
Mrs Morgan also appealed to Theresa May to “keep talking” amid an impasse in the negotiations over the key issue of the Irish border, but urged her to prioritize securing a deal which a majority of MPs could support.
She said: “Well I think it’s Norway, I think it’s something like EFTA membership, with a customs union and that’s the kind of thing that a lot of MPs are talking about… that’s the kind of thing that I think MPs on all sides, many MPs are attracted by.”
Mrs Morgan added that any deal “has to be based on a recognizable model to provide the best chance of agreement.”
The MP also said there was “no appetite for any kind of leadership change before we are through Brexit”, adding there were “rumblings but no threat to the leadership” as the Prime Minister attempted to carve out a deal acceptable to Parliament and the EU.