May made false promise to be “straight with the people”

by Hugo Dixon | 07.06.2018

The double-speak at the heart of government has reached new depths. Cabinet ministers are squabbling over whether a “time-limited” backstop should have a time limit. Theresa May says it shouldn’t; David Davis says it should. The row could come to a head at a crunch meeting of the Brexit war cabinet today. The clock is ticking, and Brexit is a total mess.

A quick recap. The backstop is supposed to be a short-term fix to keep the Irish border open until the government figures out a long-term customs arrangement that also allows trade to flow smoothly over our other borders with the EU. During this stopgap, we would follow the EU’s tariffs.

The snag is the EU won’t accept any backstop that has a deadline because we still don’t have any viable long-term solution. That’s why the prime minister doesn’t want to put any time limit on it despite describing it as “time limited” – and despite saying in her last big Brexit speech at Mansion House that “I want to be straight with the people”.

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The Brexit secretary and other Brexiters smell a rat. If there’s no time limit, the UK would be stuck following EU tariffs indefinitely – and all their fantasies of swashbuckling around the world cutting trade deals would turn to dust.

That’s why Davis hinted yesterday he might resign, though newer reports suggest he won’t after all. Hard Brexiters often threaten to storm out of Cabinet, only to change their minds.

Brexiters in the media are also losing hope. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has an astonishingly bleak column in the Telegraph, titled: “Weep for Brexit: the British dash for independence has failed.” One of its lines is that “total capitulation on EU terms…. looks unavoidable.”

Evans-Pritchard is right. Even if the Cabinet agrees the backstop should be indefinite, it will also have to follow many EU rules (not just tariffs) and pay into its budget before it gets a deal. I have written in more detail on the further capitulations in store.

Remember that Brexit hogwash about controlling borders, money and laws? We are, instead, going to lose control. When, oh when, can the prime minister be honest about this?

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

One Response to “May made false promise to be “straight with the people””

  • Absolutely nothing promised by the exit team can be delivered. We are free to print blue passports (?????) and engage in the wholesale deportation of people the government does not like. Mostly brown colour and this is successfully clearing out many, many of the staff at our NHS hospitals.

    Next up is a jet exclusively for Borus and why not one for Fox as well?

    When will the avengers or similar come and toss the Tories into the dustbin of history?