Theresa May swipes that her Brexit deal would have been 'better'

Theresa May swipes that her ‘soft Brexit’ deal would have been ‘better’ for the UK than Boris Johnson’s – as she says she suffered ‘sexism’ in No10

Theresa May has swiped that her ‘soft Brexit’ deal would have been ‘better’ for the UK than Boris Johnson’s.

The former PM took a pop at her successor over his ‘bad’ agreement, which she argued had to be ‘resolved’ with Rishi Sunak’s Windsor Framework, as she promoted her new book.  

Mrs May also complained that she suffered from sexism during her time in Downing Street as she was portrayed as a ‘silly woman’.

Theresa May has swiped that her ‘soft Brexit ‘ deal would have been ‘better’ for the UK than Boris Johnson ‘s

The former PM took a pop at her successor Mr Johnson (pictured in Ukraine last week) over his ‘bad’ agreement, which she argued had to be ‘resolved’ with Rishi Sunak ‘s Windsor Framework

Mrs May’s deal would have seen Britain follow EU rules until both sides could be assured that Brexit would not establish a hard border in Ireland – mechanism known as the ‘backstop’. 

However, it repeatedly failed to gain Parliament’s support, before being turfed out of power by her party.

Mrs May said Mr Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, signed in 2020 and fully enacted in 2021, had made it ‘difficult for people’ in Northern Ireland.

‘It was a bad deal, I think as we saw from all the problems we had on the Northern Ireland Protocol,’ she said.

‘And Rishi Sunak came in and of course agreed the Windsor Framework, which has eased that situation and in many ways resolves those issues.

‘But we had that period of time when it was really very difficult for Northern Ireland and difficult for people, supermarkets and so forth in Great Britain who were sending food over to Northern Ireland, all the checks and stuff that came as a result of Boris Johnson’s deal.

‘So that is why I think my deal would not have been in that position and would have been better.’

Mrs May, who became only the UK’s second female prime minister, said she feels sexism is still at play in British politics.

When she was in power between 2016 and 2019, she said there was a ‘focus’ on what she wore.

Speaking to the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, she said the media framed her as a ‘typically silly woman’.

She continued: ‘It is one of the challenges, sadly, for women in public life. If a man shows emotion, it is wonderful that he is showing that side of himself.

‘If a woman shows emotion, it is weakness.’

The interviews are part of a promotional campaign for her book The Abuse Of Power.

Mrs May also hit out at Home Secretary Suella Braverman for calling the Channel boats crisis an ‘invasion on our south coast’.

Asked about the Cabinet minister’s remarks on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr, she said: ‘It is not the language that I would use.

‘And I have made one or two points about some of the migration policies that have been brought up by the Government.

‘I’m particularly concerned about their most recent legislation and its impact on the victims of slavery, for example,’ she said, in reference to the Illegal Migration Act’s treatment of asylum seekers arriving via unauthorised routes.

Mrs May, who previously led the Home Office for six years, said the ‘hostile environment’ policy carried out by the department during her tenure mistakenly came to take on a broader meaning.

Mrs May said Mr Sunak’s Windsor Framework (pictured being agreed with Ursula von der Leyen) needed to ‘resolve’ the issues created by Mr Johnson’s agreement

The policy, introduced by Mrs May in 2012 when she was home secretary, was intended to deter migrants from remaining in the UK without permission but was later ruled to have broken equalities law.

The Tory former leader said the label was used to ‘describe the environment we wanted to set for those who were here illegally.’

She added: ‘It is only fair to people who come here legally, that people who are here illegally are not able to, if you like, carry on living a life as if they’ve come here legally.

‘And so it was aimed at a particular group of people. What of course happened was it came by some to be interpreted as more generally applying to people who had come in to live in the country.

‘And that was a mistake, because that was never what was intended.’

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