Analysis

“We might as well have remained” hard Brexiter admits

by Luke Lythgoe | 12.03.2018

One hard-Brexit Tory backbencher thinks Theresa May has sold out the national interest as Neville Chamberlain did with his pact with Hitler before World War Two, and another says we might as well have remained in the EU. But they are still determined to keep their lips zipped in order to ram Brexit through, according to a cache of WhatsApp messages leaked to BuzzFeed.

Amidst the insults from members of the European Research Group to their soft-Brexit colleagues – calling pro-Europeans “condescending arseholes” and the chancellor “Philly no mates” – were three especially revealing remarks.

“It is pathetic to be frank – a modern day Chamberlain”

ERG members have extreme reservations about May’s Brexit deal, as shown in this comment from Philip Davies about allowing free movement to continue during the transition period.

Asked about his messages by BuzzFeed, Davies said they were “old comments born out of snapshots of frustration” and the Tory party had “moved on a long way since then”.

“Let’s not give oxygen to this blue on blue attack. It does nothing to help get Brexit through!”

If Brexiters ever appear to bite their tongue, Maria Caulfield spells out why here. They’re terrified that a fight between Tories will lead to defeat in Parliament and stop Brexit happening. Better to push a softer Brexit through now, then harden it up later. It’s not just backbenchers who think this – Michael Gove said as much in a Telegraph column last December.

“We might as well have remained”

Again from Caulfield, the implication is: “No Brexit is better than a bad Brexit.” She was referring to the payment of £39 billion to the EU to settle our debts on departure. But it could equally apply to May’s plan to become a rule-taker during the transition, or to permanently keep key sectors of the economy under EU rules – again without much influence over what those rules are.

Of course the Brexiters are right, the deal shaping up is a miserable one. Where they’re wrong is thinking their plan for a short, sharp severance from the EU is better – it would be disastrous for our economy. As the facts of Brexit become clearer, only one solution makes sense: staying in the EU. Wouldn’t it be great if the Brexiters realised this and adopted “We might as well have remained” as their new mantra?

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

One Response to ““We might as well have remained” hard Brexiter admits”

  • Well, if the hard-core Brexiteers no longer have the will to fight on I can give them a graceful way out of their problem…which is that of abandoning Brexit and keeping their jobs. They can cancel Brexit as their way of punishing Putin…who is a well-known supporter of Brexit…thus killing several birds with one stone. They can keep their dignity and Putin can continue to cry all the way to the bank.