GISELA STUART told Express.co.uk the one thing the European Union should have done to convince her to give it “another go” and not campaign for Brexit.
During the general election campaign, former Labour MP Gisela Stuart joined Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in a couple of press conferences and urged voters to back the Conservative Party in the December 12 general election. Ms Stuart was the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1997 to 2017 and her victory in Birmingham, which was previously considered a safe Conservative seat, was seen as a symbol of New Labour’s electoral success in the late Nineties. However, Ms Stuart claimed that today, Mr Johnson’s Conservatives represent the best way forward for traditional Labour voters.
Her words clearly resonated with voters as, on Thursday, Labour suffered its worst defeat since 1935, while Mr Johnson has become the most successful Tory leader since Margaret Thatcher.
Just like her, many people undeniably put “getting Brexit done” as a priority.
In an interview with Express.co.uk, though, Ms Stuart revealed that if the EU had done one thing before the 2016 referendum, she might have chosen to campaign for Remain.
Discussing the future of the bloc, Ms Stuart said: “I think that the tension as you look ahead, will be one between countries who have a single currency and ones who don’t.
“And while I do not expect other countries will leave, what I do expect, is that in the years to come within the European Union, there will be a new structure.
“The euro countries will have to deepen more.
“Other countries like Poland and Hungary, who are not part of the euro, might want to look at different arrangements.
“You have to remember, if David Cameron had come back with a deal that said the EU accepts, not as a matter of exceptionalism and opt-out but as a matter of structure for the future, a different structure for euro countries and non-euro countries, people like me would have said ‘let’s give it another go’.”
Ms Stuart added: “I think the next Commission will be very important to watch.
“One of the things about the next Commission and Parliament is that for the first time since the introduction of the euro, all the big offices are held by the big member states.
“This is unusual.
“I think there will be new tensions created by those who joined in 2004.”
In 2015, Mr Cameron had promised to win a host of concessions from Brussels that would convince Britons to remain in a newly-invigorated Europe.
Similarly to Theresa May, the former Prime Minister’s renegotiations failed to win over Tory MPs, as he did not achieve all he set out to, or claimed he would in his Conservative Party manifesto.
Mere moments after announcing his deal and the date of the Brexit referendum, six senior Tories announced they would be campaigning for Vote Leave.
At the time Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, Employment Minister Priti Patel, Leader of the House Chris Grayling and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers all decided to support Brexit during the referendum campaign.
Mr Cameron said the changes in his deal included curbs on EU workers’ benefits, protections for non-euro nations and an opt-out from “ever closer union”, but Brexit campaigners and MPs promptly questioned whether the promise was worth the paper it was written on.
Richard Tice, co-founder of Leave.EU and Brexit Party chairman said: “The Prime Minister promised half a loaf, begged for a crust and came home with crumbs.”
Nigel Farage branded the deal “truly pathetic” and said it had not strengthened the argument for staying in the EU.
He tweeted: “This is a truly pathetic deal.
“Let’s Leave the EU, control our borders, run our own country and stop handing £55m every day to Brussels.”