Ex-PM John Major sparks fury saying Britain should accept it is no longer a first rate global power
EX-PM John Major has sparked fury after saying Britain should accept it is no longer a first rate global power.
Tory MPs have lashed out at Mr Major and branded him a “second rate PM” for claiming the UK will “never again” be seen as having a forceful presence on the global stage.
Boris Johnson has been accused of “failing” to negotiate with the EU[/caption]
In a speech last night, the former Prime Minister claimed: “We are no longer a great power. We will never be so again.
“We are a top second-rank power but, over the next half century – however well we perform – our small size and population makes it likely we will be passed by the growth of other, far larger, countries.”
Mr Major claimed Brits cannot “console” themselves by claiming “we punch above our weight” on the world stage.
And he said the UK’s “heft international influence” was buoyed up by being a member of the European Union and having close ties with the US.
In a furious condemnation of Brexit, Mr Major said the UK is no longer “relevant” to global superpowers and accused Boris Johnson of “failing to negotiate” with Eurocrats.
But Tory MPs blasted Mr Major as a “second rate Prime Minister” who “never understood Brexit”.
Andrew Bridge told The Sun: “What do you expect from a man who is widely considered a second rate Prime Minister?”
He tore into suggestions the UK was no longer relevant to the EU post Brexit: “Clearly the UK is a huge asset, not least because of the £15 billion a year we’ve been paying into the coffers.
“If the EU didn’t think the UK was of such huge value they wouldn’t be so keen to hang onto us.”
Mr Bridgen said the former Tory PM’s comments were “destructive”.
Senior Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne slammed the former PM, saying: “There are no small nations, only small minds”.
In a short but scathing response to Mr Major’s comments, Conservative MP for Telford Lucy Allan responded “So what?” to his speech.
It comes after Mr Johnson suffered a huge defeat in the House of Lords last night, as peers overwhelming voted against clauses which would overrule parts of the original Withdrawal Agreement.
The Lords voted 433 to 165 to strip the internal trade bill of the controversial clauses.
The Government immediately responded to the vote, insisting it would not back down.
And Tory MP John Redwood hit back at peers for trying to “undermine” negotiations with the EU.
He said: “The Internal Market Bill does not break the law but changes U.K. law to help trade.
“Why does the House of Lords always take the E.U. line and seek to undermine the U.K‘s negotiations? Why do they always want us to be governed by Brussels?”
A Government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the House of Lords has voted to remove clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill, which was backed in the House of Commons by 340 votes to 256 and delivers on a clear Conservative manifesto commitment.
“We will re-table these clauses when the Bill returns to the Commons.
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“We’ve been consistently clear that the clauses represent a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market and the huge gains of the peace process.
“We expect the House of Lords to recognise that we have an obligation to the people of Northern Ireland to make sure they continue to have unfettered access to the UK under all circumstances.”