Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: Dominic Raab – ‘We need to hold our nerve’

Dominic Raab – ‘We need to hold our nerve’

Andrew Marr was joined by the Brexit Secretary as the deadline for achieving a deal with the European Union draws ever closer. Marr asked Dominic Raab about rumours that the mood in the party is restless enough to trigger a leadership contest against Theresa May, with the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers reportedly nearing the critical threshold of 48 signatures. Raab told his colleagues that now was the time ‘to play for the team’:

AM: What is your message to all of your colleagues who look at this and say ‘This is a complete shambles’?

DR: We’re at the end stage of the negotiation. I think it’s understandable there are jitters on all sides of this debate. We need to hold our nerve. The end is in sight in terms of a good deal… with the EU and I think colleagues should wait and see what that looks like… We won’t want to bring something back which we aren’t confident is a very good deal for the United Kingdom. But now is the time to play for the team, I think that’s the way we get the best deal for the EU and I also think that’s what the country expects from us.

On the question of extending the two year implementation period after the UK officially leaves the EU in 2019, Raab said that he was ‘open minded about the possibility… of a short extension’, which he suggested could be around ‘three months’. However, he added that ‘there needs to be something which allows us to control how long we are there for to avoid any sense that we are left indefinitely in a sort of customs union limbo’. On the death of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Turkish embassy, Raab dismissed the Saudi government’s explanation, stating ‘I don’t think it’s credible… We support the Turkish investigation into it and the British government wants to see people held to account’.

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