Chris Grayling: May promised me she will honour EU vote

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Theresa May has given a personal pledge to leading leave campaigner Chris Grayling that she intends to honour the referendum vote by taking Britain out of the European Union.

Grayling, who was May’s campaign manager in her leadership bid and has been tipped for a leading role in her first cabinet, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I looked her in the eye, I got a promise from her that she really meant that Brexit meant Brexit. And I feel very happy that she is the person with the experience and the skills … [to] do this and do this well.

“We need to take this process carefully, we shouldn’t rush into triggering article 50, we should do our preparatory work, we should be certain about what our objectives are and then we should start the formal process.”

May, who campaigned on the remain side in the referendum, has also pledged to appoint a leave campaigner to a new cabinet role of Brexit minister.

Grayling, who has been named as a possible candidate for the role, said this was a “very sensible” pledge. He added: “It will ensure confidence amongst those who did campaign to leave that they have a champion who believes in what they campaigned for. Who that is will be a matter for Theresa, but it is right and proper that that process should be led by someone who is at the heart of the leave campaign.”

Asked if he would be happy if none of the key offices of state went to leave campaigners, Grayling said: “It is very important that Theresa now looks upon the party as not Brexiters, not stayers … but as a team of Conservatives who have a mandate from the country to deliver not simply Brexit, but also the agenda we were elected on a year ago.”

He also played down speculation that May would try to move closer to a 50-50 gender balance in the cabinet.

He said: “I doubt if Theresa will be looking at it on a statistical basis, but she has always been a champion of getting more women into parliament.

“I very much believe it is about the best people for the job. Of course Theresa is going to want to make sure she has got a balanced ticket that represents the views of different parts of the party, every sensible prime minister does that, but it is also important that we get the right people for the roles.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Matthew Weaver, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 13th July 2016 10.19 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010