EX-BREXIT Under Secretary of State Steve Baker, who resigned along with Brexit Secretary David Davis, told The Sunday Telegraph that Prime Minister May had presided over a ‘cloak and dagger’ plot to undermine Brexit.
Baker stated that for months an ‘establishment elite’ had secretly been pursuing a plan for a much softer Brexit than the one on which he and Davis were working on. The move effectively rendered the Brexit department a ‘Potemkin structure to distract from what the Cabinet Office Europe unit was doing for the Prime Minister.’
Baker said: ‘In terms of who ultimately holds the pen on the papers that go to Cabinet for collective decision, it has been the Cabinet Office’s Europe Unit, and they have been clearly operating to a different ultimate goal to the one that we are operating to. ‘We’re back to what civil servants wanted a year ago, the advice they were giving then of something like the EEA (European Economic Area membership) plus something like the customs union.’
He added: ‘It must be the case that for months, large sections of the government were working on the Chequers plan, and they have just had a coup de grace at the last minute. I feel pretty sore about that.
May, meanwhile, has been courting Labour MPs to vote with the government today and tomorrow on trade and customs policy. Writing in The Mail on Sunday she also appealed to Tory MPs saying voting against her legislation could lead to a ‘disorderly and damaging Brexit’.
Long-standing Leave campaigners have confirmed that they will vote against. On Saturday night, the pro-Remain Labour MP Chuka Umunna said: ‘There is no Labour Remainer who would support May’s Chequers deal or prop up her sorry excuse for a government – full stop.’
They are being encouraged in this line by the ex-adviser to Labour PM Blair and Britain’s former trade commissioner in Brussels, Lord Mandelson. He claimed in yesterday’s Observer that May’s latest Brexit plan would lead to ‘national humiliation’.
Calling for a ‘people’s vote’, he said: ‘Inevitably you are drawn to the conclusion that it would be better to be fully in the economic structures of the EU or out of them all together, and if you are in them, better to stay in the EU itself as this provides a seat at the table where the rules are made.’
Mandelson is desperate for a seat at the EU table. He is calling for a second referendum and for Tory MPs to refuse to vote for May’s ‘soft Brexit’ to achieve it.