Nick Clegg admits “soft Brexit” hopes are dead
Nick Clegg has admitted defeat over his campaign for a soft Brexit, while revealing Brussels' "sneering disregard" for the reasons behind the referendum result.
The former Liberal Democrat leader and arch Remainer told a European think tank last night that he had accepted there was little chance of staying in the Single Market or customs union, after Theresa May's spokesman definitively ruled it out yesterday.
“This week is the week that the illusion of a so-called soft Brexit has died," he told the Lisbon Council last night, according to multiple reports.
However, Clegg added that he was working "day in, day out" to convince MPs to reject the final deal if they are unhappy with it – potentially paving the way for a much-feared no deal.
The former Sheffield Hallam MP and ex-deputy Prime Minister went on to reveal how he had found "a barely-concealed, almost sneering disregard for the politics of identity and the politics of patriotism" during his time in Brussels.
"There was an assumption that patriotism was an old-fashioned vestige of an order that was dying away," he said.
"The genesis of European integration was to go above and beyond the trap of patriotic politics. But it was a terrible misreading of what makes people tick. We are all tribal people. You might not like it, but that’s who we are."