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Chequers Brexit plan right one for now, Gove says

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The Environment Secretary said it was critical to leave the European Union in good order.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Theresa May’s Brexit plan is the “right one for now” and could be altered by a future prime minster, Michael Gove has said.

The Environment Secretary admitted the Chequers proposals had forced him to compromise on some of his beliefs, but insisted the most important issue now was ensuring Britain leaves the European Union in “good order”.

Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint sparked the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, and has infuriated hardline Brexiteers.

Asked if the plan would be permanent, Mr Gove told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Yes, but there’s one critical thing, a future prime minister could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union.

“But the Chequers approach is the right one for now because we have got to make sure that we respect that vote and take advantage of the opportunities of being outside the European Union.”

Mr Gove said the responsibility was now on the European Union to compromise “because we’ve shown flexibility”.

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“I’ve compromised,” he added. “I’ve been quite clear that some of the things that I argued for in the referendum passionately, as a result of Chequers I have to qualify one or two of my views.

“I have to acknowledge the parliamentary arithmetic.

“I believe the critical thing is making sure we leave in good order with a deal which safeguards the referendum mandate.”

Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for voters to have the final say on what happens next.

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In an article for the Observer, he wrote: “This means a public vote on any Brexit deal obtained by the Government, or a vote on a no-deal Brexit if one is not secured, alongside the option of staying in the EU.”

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan called for a fresh referendum (BBC)

But shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said a fresh referendum would give Mrs May a lifeline.

He told Ridge On Sunday: “Calling for a second referendum is really giving her a lifeline because then she can say ‘Oh, if I can’t get it through Parliament I’ll go back to the people’.”

Liam Fox said Brussels has made “reassuring noises” in recent weeks in the Brexit negotiations.

The International Trade Secretary previously put the chances of a deal at 60-40.

Asked about the assessment, he told Ridge: “Over the last few weeks we have certainly heard more reassuring noises from the European Commission and some of our European partners.

“They have understood that Britain is serious that if we don’t get a good deal we could end up with no deal.”

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