Baroness Thatcher would have been horrified by Brexit deal, Lord Patten claims

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Tory grandee Lord Patten has insisted that Baroness Thatcher would have been "horrified" by the Prime Minister's Brexit deal as he backed calls for a second referendum on EU withdrawal.

The former Tory party chairman and ex-Cabinet minister said Lady Thatcher would have been against Theresa May's plans because they hand too much power over to the remaining 27 EU states.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Lord Patten told the Press Association: "I think Margaret Thatcher would have been horrified at the idea that we should negotiate things that are really going to matter to our future in circumstances in which 27 EU member states each have a right to veto what we want to do.

"Because from the end of March onwards, if we go out on Mrs May's terms every member state has a veto on what we want.

"At the moment, things have to be decided by a qualified majority, but after the end of March it's a vote for everybody."

Lord Patten said he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that a new referendum was the only way to end the Brexit "shambles".

Former Tory minister and Hong Kong governor Lord Patten speaking during a People's Vote event at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, central London.

Former Tory minister and Hong Kong governor Lord Patten speaking during a People's Vote event at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, central London.

He said: "I've travelled quite a long way because I have never voted for a referendum in the past, but I think it is probably now the only way out of this terrible shambles."

The comments came after Lord Patten spoke at an event organised by the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum, where he urged MPs to reject the PM's deal when it comes before the Commons next Tuesday.

Lord Patten compared Mrs May to Dr Strangelove, the scientist in Stanley Kubrick's Cold War satire about nuclear destruction.

The Tory peer dismissed Mrs May's warning that rejecting her deal could lead to the UK crashing out of the EU without an agreement.

Former Tory minister and Hong Kong governor Lord Patten speaking during a People's Vote event at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, central London.

Former Tory minister and Hong Kong governor Lord Patten speaking during a People's Vote event at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, central London.

He said: "I don't believe that the Prime Minister or many members of her Cabinet think that this would be remotely responsible. It would be very damaging.

"These are similar to the tactics made famous by Dr Strangelove: if you threaten that something crazy will happen, your opponents will back down."