Leave.EU – The Soft Brexit Con Begins


Theresa May put together a new cabinet this week following her poor showing in last Thursday’s general election. The Prime Minister has been left weakened by her failure, so Brexiteers like Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, and David Davis have survived intact. But Leavers shouldn’t rejoice. Major promotions have been handed to Remainers Damian Green and Gavin Barwell, who are now First Minister of State and Downing Street Chief of Staff respectively.


 That means Downing Street is now more Europhile than ever with May’s Chiefs of Staff both receiving the chop. One-half of the duo, Nick Timothy, made a  horrendous screw up with the disastrous social care policy but he’s a true Brexit crusader.

We’ve also seen changes in the Brexit Department with trusted Leavers Stewart Jackson and David Jones being replaced by Steve Baker and Baroness Anelay. Baker campaigned with Vote Leave, which was long rumoured to want a Leave outcome in the referendum to make way for another David Cameron style reform negotiation, heaven forbid actually exiting the failing bloc, while Anelay is a Remainer. Our Brexit department is no longer fully committed to our withdrawal from the EU. We should all be keeping a close eye on this lot.

And even if the Prime Minister had stocked the department to the brim with passionate Eurosceptics, negotiations commence in just three days. This is not the time for clear outs.

But the cabinet reshuffle is just part of a wider pattern of attempts to delegitimise our historic vote last year. Ex-PM David Cameron, who lost big when he tried to trick us into staying in the EU during the referendum, has broken his silence and called for a softer Brexit.

Chancellor Philip Hammond was expected to make a pitch for staying in the Customs Union yesterday, but his Mansion House speech was cancelled due to the Conservative’s public relations disaster over the horrific Grenfell inferno. Staying in the CU would be a huge departure from the Prime Minister’s harder line on Brexit that opened the Article 50 process. While Hammond is no Brexiteer, his proposition points to a troubling malaise on the independence-lite faction of the Conservatives that ran the Vote Leave campaign.

Archetypal Tory Establishment Eurosceptic Crispin Blunt has written a piece in the Times today arguing for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area until 2021. A worrying movement around the softer fringes of both the Leave and Remain sides towards a half-hearted withdrawal is emerging. For them, staying in the Single Market is not a million miles away from leaving right and proper, except that’s exactly what it is. A country stripped of control over its borders and its trade policy while being forced to hand over tens of billions in taxpayers’ money each year to a foreign power cannot call itself independent.

Fantasies about alternative pathways out of the EU are of course being fuelled by Labour’s narrow Brexit position: leaving the Single Market if it remains unreformed. How Corbyn and chums have not been obliged to lay out their position on immigration, trade and budget transfers is an outrage (check out our News-Watch fundraiser) but it has nonetheless been devastatingly effective in offering Remainers a glimmer of hope that the UK will continue to be swamped with cheap Labour and shafted by EU courts.

Similarly, no-one should kid themselves into thinking the Establishment will force through a departure from the EEA a couple of years after leaving the EU. While the public will cry out for a real Brexit, the suits in Westminster will settle for the version in name only.

But that’s the Establishment position, ordinary voters can reassure themselves with recent polling from Lord Ashcroft showing that 71% of the public now wants the government to get on with our departure from the failing bloc. Only 28% now actively resist national independence. YouGov, who have seen their reputation restored by accurate predictions of a hung parliament, arrived at 70%.

The time for games is over. We voted to control our borders, our money, and our destiny as a trading nation. That means leaving the European Union properly – withdrawal from the political institutions, the Single Market, and the Customs Union. The British public will not accept a fake Brexit, and politicians should recognise this or face the consequences at the ballot box.

Over the Channel, things are no different. This week the newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron said that Britain could change its mind on Brexit before the end of the two-year negotiating window opened by the Article 50 notice.

He was joined by arch Europhile Guy Verfofstadt, who said that the door would be left open for Britain to rejoin the EU in the years to come, adding that “it will be a brand new door. A brand new door with a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real power and with unity. That is the door towards Europe.” Eliminating the rebate would cost Brits an additional £4bn a year. Some offer!

But again, ordinary voters are singing to an entirely different tune. Research by the Pew Research Center released this week reveals a growing number of Europeans wanting a referendum on EU membership including a majority in Poland, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, and Greece. Germans, whose national identity is supposed to be intertwined with EU nation-building, are 50:50.

In economic news: enraged by the election outcome, economists and business leaders told the Prime Minister to get on with Brexit talks or face economic consequences. Some think that the general election makes a soft Brexit more likely, but polls show that the public still favours true independence from the EU. Meanwhile, the EU pays out more cash to dysfunctional Greece as unemployment plummets in the UK. Firms remain optimistic and committed to the UK as tech roles rise in London.

This was also the week the EU launched its foolhardy grab at the City of London’s gigantic clearing sector.

Kind regards,
The Leave.EU Team