‘You’re rubbing our noses in it!’ Remainer Lord Heseltine lashes out at Boris Johnson’s plans to celebrate Brexit with a commemorative coin and Downing Street light show as pro-EU critics accuse Brexiteers of ‘gloating’
- Government marking Brexit with a special 50p coin and Jan 31 countdown clock
- Lord Heseltine said actions were ‘unwise’ because they would upset Remainers
Lord Heseltine has lashed out at Boris Johnson’s Brexit celebration plans as the Remainer peer told the Prime Minister it was ‘unwise’ to ‘rub our noses in it’.
The former deputy PM who lost the Tory whip over Brexit said the government’s proposals to mark January 31 risked exacerbating national divisions at a time when sensitivities over leaving Europe were still running high.
Brexit day at the end of the week will see a Downing Street light display and countdown clock, government buildings lit up in red, white and blue, and Union flags put up in Parliament Square and Pall Mall.
Lord Heseltine, the former Tory deputy PM, said the plans to mark Brexit day were ‘unwise’ and risked alienating Remain voters
Meanwhile, the government has announced the release of three million 50p coins to mark the occasion bearing the words ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’.
But Lord Heseltine told The Observer: ‘Brexit is the most divisive issue of modern times.
‘Those of us who fought to Remain did so sincerely in the interests of our country and subsequent generations who we believe should be influential at the heart of Europe.
‘I think it is unwise of the government to rub our noses in it by celebrating our defeat at this hour, whilst talking about unifying the country.’
Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey joined the criticism, as he said Mr Johnson should be using public money to unite the nation and ‘not gloat with an expensive party’.
The Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, told the paper that ‘leaving the greatest postwar peace project ever created’ was ‘not something we should be celebrating’.
Mr Johnson, pictured on Friday signing the Withdrawal Agreement treaty, and Downing Street will mark Brexit day with a light show and countdown clock
But Mr Johnson last night insisted it was time to ‘heal past divisions’ over Brexit.
‘No matter how you voted in 2016, it is the time to look ahead with confidence to the global, trail-blazing country we will become over the next decade and heal past divisions,’ he said.
‘That is what I will be doing on 31 January and I urge everyone across the UK to do the same.’