Ed Davey squirms as he is confronted with own MP’s four words on rejoining EU

GMB: Ed Davey grilled on rejoining EU by Susanna Reid

Sir Ed Davey was put on the spot this morning over one of his MPs appearing to go rogue on Brexit.

The Lib Dem leader was grilled on ITV’s Good Morning Britain about foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran admitting “we want to rejoin” at a fringe event at the party’s conference in Bournemouth.

In comparison, Sir Ed has avoided saying whether the Lib Dems want Britain to return to Brussels during the annual conference.

Host Richard Madeley put Ms Moran’s comments to Sir Ed and asked if he wanted the UK to rejoin the EU.

The Lib Dem leader said: “What Layla Moran and I have said at this conference is we know that’s not on the table currently. We know that we need to start by rebuilding our relationship with Europe and we know that’s going to take some time.

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“The Conservatives have so soured our relationships with France and Germany and the whole of Europe that they don’t really want to engage in that discussion either.

“So we’ve got a very detailed policy on Europe and we have a four-step programme to rebuilding that relationship which starts by engaging people which I think is the mature way rather than shouting as the Conservatives seem to do.

“It involves tearing down some of those trade barriers, getting rid of some of those regulations that are shoving up costs in our supermarkets and undermining growth in our country.”

Mr Madeley pressed Sir Ed on whether Ms Moran was “speaking out of turn” by going “much further than you are”.

The Lib Dem leader replied: “What you’ve not quoted is all the things she also said. Layla has been the architect of building this patient, gradual process which we think is in our national interest.

“We’re in total agreement that Britain, once it’s rebuilt its relationship, once we’ve rebuilt the trust that we do want to be back at the heart of Europe.”

Co-host Susanna Reid then interrupted and said: “Layla Moran used the four words ‘we want to rejoin’. You’ve used a whole lot of other words, do you want to rejoin the EU?”

The Lib Dem leader insisted that he had given a “straight answer” as Ms Reid could be heard saying over him: “Do you want to rejoin Sir Ed Davey?”

Sir Ed added: “If you listen to what Layla and I have been saying we’ve been really clear it’s currently not on the table.”

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The Lib Dems have proposed a four-stage road map to “rebuild” the UK’s relationship with the EU, with the final step returning to the single market.

There is an ultimate goal of returning to full EU membership but no timeline has been set.

The party, which only returned 11 MPs in the 2019 general election on a pledge to stop Brexit, has turned its focus onto other issues such as sewage and the cost of living.

Speaking at a fringe event on Saturday, the Telegraph reported Ms Moran as saying: “We want to rejoin. We want, as part of it, to get back into the single market.

“We recognise that, in order to do that, we have to do stuff before, to get to that relationship. How do we talk about it in a way that doesn’t push people away, so where is that sweet spot?”

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