And here it is: the clearest proof for the Brexit Betrayal out in the open. Finally. We knew that Mr Phil Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord of the Treasury, was an ardent Arch-Remainer. We knew that the various ‘Project Fear’ scenarios coming out from his ministry did so with his blessings. Now, five minutes to midnight, he’s put his cards on the table, telling Ms May: stop No Deal Brexit or no money for her ‘legacy projects’.
Reports (here and paywalled here) describe Hammond’s coercion plan. It would of course be just speculation to assume that this was the very first time the Chancellor had tried to exert such influence! Here are the gory details:
“Philip Hammond has told Theresa May that he will fund her legacy plans as a trade-off for her allowing Tory MPs free votes on efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit. The chancellor has been locked in a row with the prime minister over her attempt to push through £27 billion of funding for education before she steps down. After weeks of talks Mr Hammond is close to signing off an agreement to boost education funding by about £5 billion. However, he has suggested that his support is conditional on suspending the whip on a cross-party attempt to stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal on October 31.” (link, paywalled)
While it’s good to see that the Treasury is trying to scotch some of Ms May’s scorched-earth policy initiatives (not the climate crap one, you’ll have noticed!), the way Hammond links this to that shibboleth of “No Deal Brexit” is, well, let’s say: not exactly gentleman-like. Here’s the reason for the Hammond arm-twisting:
“Boris Johnson, the frontrunner for the Tory leadership, has repeatedly refused to rule out the “nuclear option” of suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. Mr Hammond has publicly warned that sidelining MPs by proroguing parliament would be “shocking” and said he is sure that the Commons would “find a way” to stop it.The architects of the move to prevent Mr Johnson from proroguing parliament if he becomes prime minister believe that it will have more than enough support to pass if the government does not whip MPs to vote against it.” (link, paywalled)
There it is: withdrawing the whip will support the Arch-Remainers’ Parliamentary machinations, kicked off by that other Arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve as we reported yesterday (here).
To me, it looks as if a ‘nuclear option’ is now being deployed by the Chancellor himself. I’m sure you remember the attempt of that LabCon ‘coalition’ of Sir Oliver Letwin MP and Dame Margaret Beckett MP to introduce an amendment stopping government money to pay for schools, pensions and the NHS should a No Deal materialise. Now that bunch of cross-party Remainers will have the expertise of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer to utilise:
“Mr Hammond, who is expecting to return to the back benches after the leadership election, is increasingly seen as a leading figure among Tory MPs determined to stop no-deal. One ally of Mr Johnson said that they expected him to be a “nightmare” on the back benches. Mr Hammond said last week: “Because this is a parliamentary democracy and it would be frankly rather shocking if the House of Commons — the elected representatives of the people — could be simply sidelined by a government that was doing something that was the exact opposite of what the House of Commons clearly wanted done.” (link, paywalled)
Yet again we see the disdain and indeed contempt in which these powerful Arch-Remainers hold us, the electorate. Obviously, their games inside the House of Clowns is all that matters. ‘Parliament is supreme’, they shout – forgetting that it’s us who put them there, and that they have to answer to us, not their fellow plotters.
That they believe they have the ‘freedom’ to behave as they do is IMHO due to the fact that most of them simply have never learned that we are the ultimate arbiter. Of course, our apathy in elections, not least due to the knowledge that ‘they’ can’t do anything anyway because “the EU won’t like it” has played a major part. While they are a puppet parliament subject to Brussels, we voters have learned from the Referendum and what followed in these last three years and understand the pitiful role they play in reality.
That’s why more and more of us agree: the time for tribal Party Politics is over. It’s about Leave or Remain. The contortions of the Trade Unions (see this article) about making Labour support a 2nd referendum make that obvious. A No Deal Brexit is of the devil for them as well, so they want a “Labour Brexit” as choice as opposed to Remain or a “Tory Brexit” … really!
Meanwhile, in the wake of the leaked emails by the UK Ambassador to the USA, Richard Littlejohn has written a fine article about the influence of Whitehall in those leaks and the Brexit debate. The title speaks for itself: “The arrogant men in Whitehall do not know what’s best… and the leaked memos from Britain’s man in Washington just prove it”. I also heartily concur with his conclusion: “Call me old-fashioned, but civil servants — like children — should be seen and not heard.” Do read the whole thing!
It is certainly extraordinary to hear those Mandarins describe how the sky will fall in should there be a No Deal Brexit, being given a platform in our Remain MSM, while MPs who worked in the DexEU Department are sidelined. See for example this:
“Chris Heaton-Harris, who was in charge of preparations for leaving in March without an EU divorce deal in place, insisted government, business and the public are ready and Britain will “thrive”. The former Brexit minister said no-deal was wrongly “demonised” and some opponents were becoming “quite hysterical”. Mr Heaton-Harris, who quit in April in protest over Theresa May’s decision to delay the UK’s departure from the bloc, hit out at “negative” coverage of the option as the BBC aired a Panorama documentary on Britain’s readiness for no-deal.” (link)
What would he know, he’s only an elected MP … ! Do read the whole article, it’s not paywalled. For more on the nitty-gritty described by Mr Heaton-Harris, have a look at what the unsurpassed Sir John Redwood writes in his Diary entry today.
The BoJo-Hunt chase comes into this febrile debate as well, now that the two will face each other at hustings. Suddenly, Ms Amber Rudd, who was exceedingly quiet these last few weeks, has come out into the open, in support of Hunt. She is quite blatant:
“I’m backing Jeremy Hunt, and one of the reasons why is because I think he is the candidate most likely get a deal from the European Union so we can leave in a way that protects jobs, security and the Union. His background as a dealmaker is unrivalled. While Boris spoke about £350 million a week for the NHS, Jeremy delivered it.” (link, paywalled)
It’s always nice to nail the porkies of an MP, a remainer at that. Look at that last sentence. Mr Hunt did not ‘deliver’ that money to the NHs, it was finagled in a budget while he was already Foreign Secretary. Nice try, Amber!
With the main political parties in disarray, with Whitehall’s desperate attempts to stop Brexit at all costs now out in the open, it may come to a GE in the near future. The Taoiseach who has also been rather quiet told the DM (here) that only a GE would be acceptable to Brussels should the next PM have to ask for a delay to avert that No Deal Brexit – something of which they are all so afraid that they all are preparing for it: Brussels, London and even Dublin.
Nigel Farage has already said repeatedly that only a GE can remove the current crop of Remain peacocks in the HoC who seem to think that blocking Brexit is what they must do – even though we, the electorate, haven’t given them the mandate for that, to the contrary.
While the members of the establishment parties war against each other, while Remainers war in the HoC against Leavers with ‘coalitions’ and coercions, the changing political landscape becomes clearer every day. In the end a GE will be about Leave or Remain. Just that.
Peacocks beware – your time is running out.