The new foreign secretary has been accused of “misleading the public” for claiming Brexiteers warned before the 2016 EU referendum a no-deal divorce was possible.
Labour MPs, including the former Foreign Office minister Ben Bradshaw and member of the foreign affairs select committee Ian Murray, have called on Dominic Raab to apologise over the comments.
In a letter seen by Sky News, they have vowed to hold him to account and argued there is “no mandate” for leaving the EU on Halloween without a withdrawal agreement.
Mr Raab had claimed earlier this week that “we made clear – those in the campaign – that we should strive for a good deal but, if that wasn’t available, that we should go on and make a success of Brexit”.
He said he was questioned on it “almost every time I appeared” on the BBC, and added “there’s all sorts of interviews which said that of course we’d prefer a deal, but that there would be a risk”.
But campaigners pointed out the then-justice minister said in the run up to the 2016 poll that “of course we’d strike a new deal and relatively soon, with transitional arrangements if necessary”.
Mr Raab also said before the vote that it was “reasonable to expect we would negotiate a bespoke British deal”.
He was promoted by Theresa May to Brexit secretary the next year, but quit over the draft deal brokered with Brussels.
He was tackled by Mr Bradshaw, who said the claim Vote Leave warned of a no-deal Brexit was “simply not true”.
In the letter to the foreign secretary, he writes: “You sat on the Vote Leave campaign committee… and appeared many times in the media as a spokesperson, and yet there appears no evidence at all of you ever suggesting that leaving the EU without a deal was a likely or possible outcome.
“Nor is there any record of your colleagues within Vote Leave regularly arguing that no-deal was a possibility.”
He added: “This is not a subject for debate, it is a matter of public record.”
Mr Murray has also threatened to grill Mr Raab on the subject at his next showdown in front of the Commons’ foreign affairs committee.
He told Sky News: “Dominic Raab is continuing the example set by the new prime minister of flatly misleading the public when he claims no-deal was discussed as a realistic outcome by Leave campaigners including himself during the 2016 referendum.
“It is an insult to the great office of British foreign secretary that he holds to twist the truth in this way, and he must be held to account…
“I will insist he provides me with specific examples of when he or other Leave campaigners argued in favour of a disastrous no-deal or suggested it would be a likely outcome from a vote to leave the EU.”
Both MPs are supporters of the People’s Vote campaign calling for another referendum.
Mr Raab’s parliamentary office and the Foreign Office were both approached for comment.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU on 31 October “do or die”.