Vote against May’s Brexit agreement, Raab urges MPs

Dominic Raab

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab urged MPs to vote against the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement as he criticised “scaremongering” around a no-deal exit.

Mr Raab, who resigned from the post in November, also proposed post-Brexit policies including a rise in the National Insurance earnings threshold, during a speech in London on Monday.

He said there should be more shareholder control over chief executives’ pay and suggested lowering the income tax threshold.

He also refused to comment on a potential Conservative leadership bid after MPs vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, which is expected to be rejected.

“The fundamental way we get change in the Withdrawal Agreement, a negotiated change, and the only way, is to vote down the current, I think, bad terms tomorrow. And then the Government will have an opportunity to go back to the EU,” he said.

“The idea that the only option is this very poor deal on the table, I’m afraid I think is a bit of scaremongering and whip’s tactics that have been fired up to try and increase their vote.”

In his speech to the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, Mr Raab said Brexit offered “clear opportunities” for Britain.

But the Conservatives must counter the “seductive Marxist allure” of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, and instead champion consumers and business.

He said Labour had “tapped into” the feeling of voters about an “exploitative and unaccountable elite”.

Mr Raab proposed a gradual reduction in the basic income tax rate from 20% to 15%.

He also urged a repair to the “frayed” relationship between shareholders and board members in big business.

He said: “We should do more to encourage stronger shareholder activism, by legislating to empower binding shareholder votes on executive pay packets, not just pay remuneration policy.”

Calling for the National Insurance threshold to be increased, he said: “We should raise the National Insurance employee contribution threshold to £11,850, which would be in line with the personal allowance for income tax.

“That would save someone earning £15,000 on a low wage £412 each year.”

Mr Raab added: “Brexit will bring enormous opportunities that are there for us to grasp and that spirit of renewal must also galvanise us to tackle some of the homegrown problems and challenges around an authentic and credible policy agenda.”