'I don't have any fear of no deal' - Liz Truss says there is no support for a softer Brexit as MPs set to vote again
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Norfolk MP Liz Truss has said she does not have "any fear of a no deal" as Westminster enters another turbulent week for Brexit.
MPs are set to take back control of the Brexit agenda in a fresh attempt to find an alternative to Theresa May’s deal that Parliament can support.
The Commons will stage a second round of “indicative” votes on Monday on a series of rival proposals tabled by backbenchers to see if any can command a majority.
However South West Norfolk MP and chief secretary to the treasury Ms Truss said she felt the way forward was to make tweak’s to Theresa May’s deal, which has been rejected by the Commons three times.
MORE: Liz Truss positions herself for Tory leadership, saying the party needs to ‘remodernise’
In the wake of Tory chief whip Julian Smith saying the Government should have made it clear that a softer Brexit was inevitable after the 2017 general election, Ms Truss told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s not clear to me that going softer is the way to command support.”
She added: “If you look at the parliamentary arithmetic now, It’s not clear that something like a customs union actually commands support.”
Ms Truss said: “I think that we are well prepared for no deal.
“I don’t have any fear of no deal.”
Referring to the chief whip’s comment that the Cabinet was the most ill-disciplined in history, Ms Truss said: “It’s difficult to compare cabinets through the ages.
MORE: Norfolk Tory MPs back Theresa May’s deal in vain as Brexit set for long delay after PM suffers another defeat
“Of course, this is an incredibly testing time; it’s a time when we have got a minority Government.
“And there are differences of opinion, I won’t deny that.”
Ms Truss said: “The will of parliament so far has not been in favour of a customs union.
“I think the answer lies in modifications to the prime minister’s deal to be able to get that to have support.”
Ms Truss has appeared to set out her stall for a potential Tory leadership bid.
MORE: Which of Norfolk and Suffolk’s MPs do bookies think could replace Theresa May?
Last week she laid out a raft of popular policies to rocket-boost the economy, and threw her weight behind a Canada-style free trade deal after Brexit.
And in the Sunday Times she said the Conservative Party needed to “remodernise” and said: “We need to reshape the state and not just think the answer to our problems is spending more money.”
She added: “Sometimes politics can be in danger of being managerial. The Conservative Party needs to remodernise. We need to be optimistic, aspirational. We need to participate in the battle of ideas. We haven’t been doing.”
However transport secretary Chris Grayling suggested the next leader should be a senior figure who campaigned for Brexit.
Ms Truss backed remain in 2016.
MORE: How did Norfolk and Waveney MPs vote in latest round of Brexit decisions and what happens next?
He indicated that the younger generation of contenders - which includes Dominic Raab, Ms Truss and Matt Hancock - should wait until after the next general election due to take place in 2022.
“The next two or three years are going to be very tough because the European stuff is not going to go away,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“We have got to negotiate a free trade agreement, sort out where we are, but also as we get into the 2020s, we are going to have to pass the torch to a new generation.
“Is the person who takes us through the next two or three years and sorts out Brexit and gets the sort of hard time that Theresa has had, the same person who we want to be leading us into the 2027 general election?”