Opinion: Theresa May Rigged Her Cabinet Against Brexit

Bruce Detorres

We are in the most important moment in our history since 1940. On June 23rd 2016, the great British people voted to leave the European Union. The principles and convictions that won the vote were and still are threefold. We want to be able to do our own trade deals, and release ourselves from the burdens of EU protectionism and overregulation. This means leaving the Customs Union. We want freedom of movement to end and replaced by controlled immigration, while setting our own standards for who can come into the country. This means leaving the Single Market. We want the laws by which we all live by to be solely made by those who we elect and implemented by our courts alone. This means leaving the European Court of Justice. The deal which Theresa May put together and asked the House of Commons to accept was rejected. It was the largest Commons defeat in our entire political history, with a majority of 230 votes against. For once Brexiteers could agree with Michel Barnier as on Friday 15, he said Theresa May’s Brexit strategy had failed. In order to make sense of why this is true, we must come to terms that this shambles is no accident.

When David Davis was the Secretary for Exiting the EU, he began forming a White Paper that would deliver a Brexit which stood true to the three principles of leaving. His plan was called Canada-plus-plus-plus. It was formed on the basis of the recent trade deal struck between Canada and the EU. However, it would not be identical and would make sure that due to the United Kingdom’s geographical location, both the integrity of the UK and EU would be intact. The White Paper was presented to Donald Tusk and other member states. It was widely welcomed and deemed acceptable. The UK would leave but remain a close partner and continue trading with the EU.

Theresa May was told of the progress and acceptance the White Paper had achieved. However something dark was happening behind the scenes that Davis was not prepared to go along with. In December 2017 Theresa May very surprisingly agreed to the Irish Backstop. This baffled many in the Conservative Party. The legal text of this agreement expressed that either the UK stays in the Customs Union via Northern Ireland, or it must severe Northern Ireland from the rest of the country in order to leave. May had, essentially, caved in to the EU’s demands lock stock and barrel.

Tensions grew within the Party and especially between Davis and the Prime Minister. As the weeks and months went on, it became apparent that whatever Davis and his department were trying to achieve, May was countering by almost doing the opposite. Realising that he was not being listened to, Davis eventually had to resign. Many applauded his patience but he had stayed for as long as he could tolerate. Dominic Raab – another Brexiteer – was his replacement. He too tried and tried to push for a Brexit that would be standing true to the wishes of the electorate. Sadly, he eventually resigned for the same reasons.

What are those reasons?

The simple answer is that Leavers in the party and in May’s government are not being heard. In fact one could go as far as saying Leavers are not being allowed to work towards a proper Brexit. This kind of overbearing authority could only come from No.10. From the beginning of Theresa May’s premiership she chose more Remainers than Leavers for Cabinet positions. Although many Brexiteers were jittery at first, she had seemingly put Leavers in positions that would give them the power to honour the result. Boris Johnson was made Foreign Secretary, – although he resigned alongside Davis – Liam Fox is still the International Trade Secretary, and of course Davis was Secretary for Exiting the EU. However it slowly dawned on Davis and indeed the nation at large, that he didn’t hold the power of his own office. He was not leading and managing the responsibilities that come with being a Cabinet Secretary.

In fact, he was being usurped. He wasn’t leading the negotiations for the UK. A Permanent Secretary for the Department of Exiting the EU, Olly Robbins, was the one secretly speaking for the Prime Minister. This was obviously being done behind the backs of Davis and then Raab. Perhaps for the first time in our nation’s history, a Civil Servant held more power in an official government office than an elected Cabinet Secretary. A truly shocking and dangerous precedent that Theresa May has now set. It seems like May had merely made the position of Secretary of Exiting the EU to be window dressing, because she purposefully wanted to make it appear as if she was supporting a Brexiteer. This then would make it seem that she was championing a true Brexit such as clearly expressed in her own Florence speech.

She fooled the public with her guise. On the surface it looked as if she was honouring the wishes of the people. We now know with absolute certainty that she was trying her best to betray us instead. BRINO or Brexit in name only is her true aim. She knew she could trust Robbins to do this, as the Civil Service is packed to the rafters with people who wish to be anything but servants to the British people. A very large portion of the Civil Service don’t just hate Brexit, but are actively trying to slow or stop it as best they can. May comprised her inner circle with Europhiles who went on with the business of creating a deal that would suit their wishes and not the electores’.

However May could only get so far governing from her inner circle if the Cabinet was not on board. She would be facing a monumental revolt that would see her premiership in serious doubt of prolonging. That’s why despite at least half the party being made up of eurosceptics, she made remainers the majority. Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers of State and Junior Ministers, from top to bottom. Philip Hammond has made incredibly ridiculous forecasts and claims about the impact of any kind of Brexit. One could make the claim that he has even topped his europhile friend George Osborne in this pursuit. Greg Clark has made up scare stories about how a No Deal Brexit would be catastrophic for businesses. One such example is of AirBus being made to lie to the British people and say they would ‘quit the UK in the even of a No Deal.’ It has since been made apparent that the multinational giant was pressured by the government to do this.

Despite her image of a somewhat cagey operator, Theresa May is no frail vicar’s daughter. She may fumble her words frequently, speak with forced inflections in her tone and often look uncomfortably rigid when speaking to a member of the public, but she is ruthless behind closed doors. If you have any doubt of this, cast your mind back to the now notorious Chequers meeting in early July 2018. May and Robbins along with the majority Remain Cabinet Secretaries wanted everyone else to agree to the Chequers plan. The plan is largely what the final deal looked like. It was simply unacceptable for anyone who wished to beholden themselves to the referendum result. But even before discussions were being had, it was made clear to Leavers in the government that should they wish to resign, Ministerial cars were waiting right outside for them. May had no issue in making this threat clear in an attempt to bounce Brexiteers into bending their knees to her.

Brexiteers in May’s government have always been at a numerical disadvantage. When May formed her government in mid-2016, out of the 22 Cabinet Secretary positions, just 6 were given to Brexiteers. The rest were awarded to Remainers. Now only 5 Brexiteers are in such positions. However it must be noted that Fox, Gove and Leadsom have all crumbled and largely become silent. All three tried to spin May’s deal and ask that it be accepted by Leavers but their words wreaked of weakness and appeasement. For some unknown reason, The Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry, is allowed to attend Cabinet meetings. If you don’t know who she is, she called Leave voters “extremists”. Perhaps May wasn’t satisfied enough by shutting out Brexiteers and wanted just a little extra umph for her Remain horde.

Alas, the Prime Minister still chooses to bypass her own Cabinet and purely govern from her inner circle. I’ve lost count of how many times May has gone ahead with a plan regarding Brexit and not even consulted the Cabinet. In the first half of her premiership, there was indeed a lot of arguing in Cabinet. Remainers did not accept the result and wanted Brexit to be watered down as much as possible. On the other side Brexiteers wanted to remain faithful to the Tory Manifesto commitments and stay true to the three principles of leaving. One could make the argument that May just wanted to avoid the verbal fracas each meeting would produce. Prudent as this view may seem, the real reason has since became apparent. When she has rigged the Cabinet with Remainers, why would she bother asking their view when she already knows the answer? For a while Cabinet members were literally finding out what their own stance will be from news feeds on social media.

With just over a month to go before the official leave date of 29 March, Theresa May has a deal that won’t pass in the Commons. We as a nation must accept that we have ended up in this horrible state because of Theresa May. This shambles is no accident. Even with the Brady Amendment passed which expressed the wish for government to reopen the negotiations and either eliminate or set a time limit on the Backstop, we’re not moving in the right direction. Incredibly, Theresa May hasn’t even asked the EU for the deal to be reopened and instead has instructed Robbins et al to ask again for hollow reassurances. She simply will not listen. She will not accept the will of the British people. To her Brexit is a damage limitation project. Brexiteers have systematically been pushed out from government.

We can safely come to the conclusion that Theresa May is a fanatic europhile. I for one support the only option left that will deliver a true clean Brexit.

Let’s go WTO.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here