Desperado Dom pins hope on Hungary scuppering Brexit delay

by Hugo Dixon | 08.10.2019

As Boris Johnson’s proposed deal heads for the rocks, Downing Street is promising goodies for EU countries that stop an extension and pain for those that don’t. This is a plan which is as devilish as it is desperate.

The Spectator’s political editor has published a text from an unnamed No 10 official, widely believed to be Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s top advisor. A key passage reads: “Countries which oppose delay will go to the front of the queue for future cooperation – cooperation on things both within and outside EU competences. Those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue.” The source added that defence and security cooperation would be affected if the EU tries to keep Britain in against the government’s will.

Johnson has made a terrible error to follow Cummings’ extreme advice so far – including the unlawful attempted suspension of Parliament. That helped provoke MPs into passing the “Benn Act”, a law forcing him to ask the EU to delay Brexit if he can’t get a deal by October 19.

Following a call with Germany’s Angela Merkel this morning, it is now pretty clear that he won’t be able to clinch such an agreement. The Prime Minister will try to blame everybody else but himself. But he is responsible. He made hopelessly unrealistic promises when he ran to replace Theresa May as Tory leader – and followed up with an offer to the EU which never had any chance of success.

Thrashing around in desperation

Johnson is now like a wild beast caught in a trap. The angrier he gets, the more he thrashes around – and the bigger the risk that he will damage himself and others in the process.

All sorts of crazy ideas are being thrown around in order to avoid the Benn Act which is closing around him like a vice. One wheeze was for him to deliberately break the law – but his lawyers told the Scottish Court of Session last week that he wouldn’t after the Attorney-General threatened to resign. Another idea, leaked to the Sunday Times, was to squat in Downing Street even if he lost a vote of no confidence and dare the Queen to fire him.

The latest plot is to persuade some EU state to veto the request for an extension. Johnson would only need to find one country to do so, as unanimity is required for extra time. The most promising candidate appears to be Hungary, whose prime minister Victor Orban, is the EU’s enfant terrible. The country’s foreign minister was pictured leaving the Cabinet Office on Friday, fuelling speculation that some deal might be on the cards.

It is hard to see this working. After all, Hungary has much more to gain from the EU’s regional aid than the UK could plausibly put in the mix. It’s not even as if Orban could be confident that Johnson would stay in office long enough to deliver any goodies.

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Edited by James Earley

Categories: Brexit Negotiations

8 Responses to “Desperado Dom pins hope on Hungary scuppering Brexit delay”

  • I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. But the depths to which this administration will stoop to get their way – against the will of Parliament – and the will of-the-people is staggering.

    Crooked Cummings fixed the referendum result. Now he intends to fix the election. The Rasputin of the 21st Century.

  • The whole situation is unbelievable and horrific. Threatening reprisals against individual Member States of the EU ? Just like Trump with Turkey whose economy Trump threatens to crush if his wishes are not followed by the Turkish government. This situation cannot get any worse, or more dangerous, and Johnson ( and Cummings ) should be removed from Downing Street.

  • This game playing is cowardly but typical of what we have come to expect from Johnson and Cummings. What is wrong with these guys? Why are they hell bent in taking the country down a path that will lead to years of trouble and destruction? What they overlook is that they are playing around with real lives. They are provoking violence and trouble and once it starts, where will it end? Ireland is particularly worrying in this respect.
    I know people who are scared of a no deal here and in the EU27. Ex pats are being used as pawns in these games and people who are ill are worried that they will not get their medication. We have talk of the real possibility of people dying in the event of a crash out.
    Johnson and his ilk will not be personally affected, They have money and connections. But millions of us do not and to those who stupidly say ‘get it done’ you do not know what you are wishing upon yourself.
    Anyone who is sane can see that Brexit is crazy. Why destroy 40 odd years of prosperity and peace for anarchy and recession?

  • Cummings seems totally unsuited to his role. His language suggests someone more likely to be preparing for a military exercise. Europeans are our friends and neighbours, not enemies. Has he not stopped to think that we will need a trade deal with the EU? They are our largest export market, and our nearest neighbours. Like Raab, maybe he needs to start studying his atlas to see where the UK is located. If Johnson is daft enough to take his cue from Cummings, we could see irreparable damage to our European relations for many years.

  • For the last three years I have been struggling to understand why this is happening. I do realise that many people, principally those who have never ventured from the UK’s shores, are suspicious and hostile towards all foreigners and have some sort of retrograde view of a powerful independent Britain still with an empire under its jackboot. These people have only the barest grasp of geography, politics, history and, obviously, reality. Cummings does not strike me as one of these, he is evidently intelligent – as his scheming demonstrates – but why is he so determined on self-destruction ? Can it actually just be down to the usual ? I.e. Money ? There are those who have been making a mint out of the markets as a result of Brexit and if they are in a position to dictate the passage of events, they stand to be even richer. Brexit boils down to the biggest confidence trick in history. The question is, how do you make the Leavers realise that they have been conned ? The only other possibility is that this is a right-wing coup – which is scary. We need an election NOW because I’m not convinced that a referendum would give us anything but more of the same.

  • We have not heard the voice of the European people in this country – only their representatives and Brussels officials are communicating to the UK voters. A major campaign on social media to encourage ALL the people of Europe to let us know that they support our remaining in Europe could help, in the absence of any other initiatives. They could be encouraged to speak about things they dislike about the EU and in doing so aline themselves with all voters here. A the moment they could be seen as complacent and compliant, which of course they are not.
    WHO out there has the skills and capacity to mount this campaign, assuming money could be made available?

  • The answer to John Morrison’s point – why is Brexit happening – is multifold, but one aspect is that it is a death cult. Films such as the Devil Rides Out have dramatised the struggle between forces of good and evil, but the Brexit saga threatens to be a horror show to outdo them all.