David Davis is right: Brexit means losing control

by Hugo Dixon | 09.07.2018

One big toad, David Davis, has jumped out of the Cabinet pronouncing that Brexit is like pan of boiling water. The proposal Theresa May foisted on ministers at Chequers on Friday will make the “supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real”, “hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU” and could “lead to further demands for concessions”, according to the Brexit Secretary’s bombshell midnight resignation letter.

One smaller toad, Steve Baker, has jumped out of the boiling water alongside his boss.

Will an even bigger toad, Boris Johnson, follow suit? We know the foreign secretary thinks the prime minister’s proposals are a “turd”.

So far the foreign secretary has said nothing since Friday’s day-long Cabinet meeting – and on Monday early afternoon he seemed to go missing. Nigel Farage goaded him to resign, tweeting that he would be a “hero” if he did.

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The other big toad, Michael Gove, has decided to “polish” the turd, to use Johnson’s lingo. He was on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday saying the prime minister’s plans would lead to a “proper Brexit”. 

It’s unclear whether May’s decision to replace Davis with Dominic Raab will change much. Raab is a Brexiter like his predecessor. But the prime minister seems to have decided to keep running Brexit policy out of Downing Street. Indeed, it looks like she’s going to reduce the size of Raab’s department, according to Sam Coates of the Times.

The Brexiters outside government our worried. Jacob Rees-Mogg, their leader, told the BBC: “The key is – who will be doing these negotiations? Will it continue to be 10 Downing Street or will it be done by Dominic?” Earlier he had warned that the prime minister would find it “very difficult” to get Tory MPs to support her proposals.

May is planning to present them to Tory backbench MPs this evening before publishing a 120-page White Paper on Thursday. She is also going to try to sell them to the EU.

Even before Davis’ resignation, neither task was going to be easy. The new political convulsions inject further uncertainty into the process. Will Brexiters try to unseat the prime minister? Will she modify her proposals? Will the EU negotiate if it thinks she is going to flip-flop again?

Amidst the mounting political crisis, pro-Europeans need to hold onto three points. First, what May proposed on Friday is not a soft Brexit. Not only will it turn us into a rule-taker; it doesn’t even protect 80% of our economy, services. I called it a “castration Brexit” over the weekend.

Second, this is not a deal. It is just a proposal. The EU will demand more concessions – including that we pay into its budget. The eventual deal will be even more miserable than the prime minister’s proposals.

Third, this will be a Brexit that pleases nobody – neither Brexiters nor pro-European patriots. The case for a People’s Vote on the final deal is rapidly becoming unanswerable.

This column was updated on July 9 at 2.45pm: to remove reference to Suella Braverman’s reported resignation which hasn’t happened; to mention that Johnson had apparently gone missing; to mention Raab’s appointment as Brexit secretary; and to update Rees-Mogg’s quotes.

2 Responses to “David Davis is right: Brexit means losing control”

  • ‘Giving away your thoughts weakens your bargaining position’ has been drummed into public thinking month after month. So, here we are about to give the public a chance assess brexit now that the cards are on the table. As in, how it will affect our economy and well being. We have also been learning about the players behind the scenes and how they were financed and how some of this money was to target specific sectors of our society to stoke their fears without actually putting this fear stoking out for public scrutiny. Here we are in the buildup to a revision of our actions and a second chance to vote for what is best for Britian and all who live here or depend on a healthy Britain to pay their pensions elsewhere. A healthy Britain is so important to so many and here we are intending to give the public the opportunity to vote again. When we see how easily we were manipulated before the first vote and yet we continue to accept the lies even after they have been exposed and when we see the pack of vultures getting ready for the next battle, how can we expect a fair vote? Destroying Britain is only a battle, the EU is next and we will begin to see our world even more shaped by the ideals of Trump and Putin. We don’t need a vote, we need a cancellation and we need to rejoin our friends in the EU and prepare to defend ourselves from those who really would take away our freedom.

  • Then perhaps the answer is the people’vote on the final deal or no deal. Ifor the vote comes out against the tbe deal then cancel brexit altogether by revoking Article 50. There can always be another referendum in a few years time to ask the people whether or not they are still happy with the situation?