Lib Dem candidate for Cheltenham Max Wilkinson has reacted with dismay to the news Cheltenham’s Conservative MP will work on plans in government to leave the EU without a deal – despite urging campaigners to fight against a no deal Brexit just weeks ago.
Alex Chalk has been appointed Private Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, a fierce no deal advocate.
Mr Chalk has previously claimed to be a eurosceptic, before becoming a remainer. He then pivoted to vote for the May deal before stating he would oppose no deal.
Reacting to Mr Chalk’s new role, Cheltenham Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate Max Wilkinson said: “I’m totally dismayed. Has Alex Chalk finally made up his mind on Brexit now by signing a pledge to support Boris Johnson’s no deal?
“Less than a month ago, he told campaigners at Cheltenham Town Hall to fight against a no deal Brexit – saying it would be ‘very damaging for our country’ - but then voted against an amendment to stop it in parliament.
“Now he has taken a job working for one of the biggest exponents of a no deal Brexit in Boris Johnson’s government.
“It seems Alex Chalk’s parliamentary career comes before his concerns about the future of our country and his constituents.”
Mr Chalk’s new role comes just a month after the Tory MP told a People’s Vote rally that “sensible, pragmatic moderates should choose to fight” no deal.
Speaking at Cheltenham Town Hall on June 29, he said: “No deal would be very difficult and damaging for our country, where so much of our industry has been forged around the certainty of just in time supply chains.
“It would mean no implementation period, immediate tariffs, relations with the rest of the EU would be damaged by an almighty row about how much of that £39 billion would be paid.
“Avoiding no deal is the territory on which sensible, pragmatic moderates should choose to fight.”
Mr Raab has emerged as one of the most vocal advocates of a no deal Brexit in Boris Johnson’s cabinet, claiming the government is “turbo-charging” its no deal Brexit preparations under Mr Johnson.