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LONDON — It is almost certain that Prime Minister Theresa May is taking Britain into a "hard Brexit" but prominent Conservative politician Michael Gove told Business Insider that the way the public can help shape a different type of deal is by keeping the "frankly incompetent" leader of the opposition party Labour out of government.
"Ultimately whatever you think about the type of Brexit you want, in Theresa [May] you have someone who listens, in Jeremy Corbyn you have someone who is frankly incompetent and in a seat like Croydon who some may vote Liberal Democrat, [it] risks letting Labour in. And you can't have that," Gove, who has been an MP for Surrey Heath since 2005 and was formerly the Secretary of State of Education from 2010 to 2014 and the Secretary of State for Justice from 2015 to 2016, said to Business Insider on Saturday at a Conservative conference in East Croydon.
Gove also made a bid for Tory leadership last year after David Cameron stepped down as prime minister following Britain narrowly voting for Britain to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016. Gove was a key campaigner for Brexit during the run-up to the election, while May backed 'remain.' Eventually, May won the leadership race at the end.
"And if you do want to influence the shape of Brexit there is no one better placed than like a minister like Gavin [Barwell] who is respected across the party who has Theresa's complete confidence, who will be able in private but clearly, to influence the shape of the eventual deal we will get in the interests of people in this constituency," added Gove.
Ultimately whatever you think about the type of Brexit you want, in Theresa [May] you have someone who listens, in Jeremy Corbyn you have someone who is frankly incompetent
Politicians across the country are quickly getting campaigns in place and earlier this week and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn started his campaign trail in Croydon — which is London's most marginal seat. Tory MP Gavin Barwell won in the 2015 general election by just 165 votes.
This was why Gove was in East Croydon on Saturday — to support Barwell and other neighbouring Conservative MPs, such as Chris Philp who is in the Croydon South seat, and speak to Tory party members. Gove also said he supported Barwell and helped him on the campaign trail in the 2015 general election.
How to shape a Brexit deal
Prime Minister May called for an early general election earlier this week and parliament voted this to pass the following day. The election will take place in just six weeks' time on June 8, and May said it is in "the national interest" to do so.
May said an election victory for the Conservatives would "guarantee certainty and stability for the years" and give her the public support to deliver her policies, including Britain's imminent departure from the European Union.
Britain is heading towards a "hard Brexit" — relinquishing access to the EU's Single Market in exchange for total control over immigration.
Gove reiterated to BI that May, who is already leading the country into a Brexit, is the best placed for the job and that by voting for the Tories, it will allow people to "stay involved in that conversation" because Britain is heading for a Brexit no matter what.
Phil Noble / Reuters & Carl Court / Getty Images"I don't think there is any way, any of us, could say to the British people that voted to leave — whatever our views on the matter — 'terribly sorry, we are going to reverse that decision," said Gove to BI.
"I think the media uses the phrase 'hard Brexit' and 'soft Brexit' a lot and I think we're supposed to understand why or know what it means but the critical thing is, do we have an orderly Brexit that works for Britain. And the key thing about Theresa [May] is that she's not ideological, she is absolutely a practical person.
"And in the referendum, it was pretty clear people wanted control of migration, not no migration — absolutely not — just control. Also the capacity to have our own trade deals and control of our own laws. So that means outside the Single Market, that means outside the Customs Union, and also outside the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice.
"But there are lots of other decisions that still remain to be made. And the type of Brexit we have, the nature of the trade deal we have with EU, the security cooperation we have with other European countries, and also some of the European rules and regulations, which we didn't like the fact they were imposed by Europe but we agree with — like workers rights — it is important people stay involved in that conversation."
Currently, polling data shows that the Conservative party is in line to win by a landslide victory in the general election.
The Times and The Telegraph also published data that said pollsters expect the Tories to win by a 100 seat majority while financial spread betting firm IG Market predicted the amount of seats each party will win as follows:
- Conservatives — 370 seats (gain of 40 seats in current Parliament make up)
- Labour — 177 seats (loss of 52 seats)
- Liberal Democrats — 34 seats (gain of 25 seats)
- Scottish National Party — 50 seats (loss of 4 seats)
- UKIP — 1 seat
How will you vote? Vote in Business Insider's poll here:
- Labour will struggle to even take London’s most marginal seat from the Tories
- POLL: The Tories are set to win in Wales for the first time in nearly 100 years
- TONY BLAIR: Do not vote for MPs who 'back Brexit at any cost'