Prime Minister Theresa May’s Remainer-dominated Cabinet met for almost two hours for a “very detailed” discussion of its Brexit plans – and did not mention immigration once.
In what was reportedly the first full-scale meeting to discuss what life after Brexit might look like in the 18 months since the public voted to Leave the European Union in June 2016, senior ministers spent an hour and 45 minutes taking it in turns to lay out their respective visions for the country.
According to Mrs. May’s official spokesman, not one of them thought the key issue of immigration significantly central to their vision for it to warrant a mention.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 26, 2017
Instead, talks focused on the well-worn globalist themes of free trade and regulation, with the prime minister reportedly ruling out European Economic Area (EEA) style arrangements of the sort Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein have signed up to.
“The Prime Minister said she’d been clear in her Florence speech that a European Economic Area model would not be right for Britain and would be democratically unsustainable because it would mean automatically adopting all EU rules without influence or a vote. She also said the UK would be seeking a significantly more ambitious deal than the EU’s agreement with Canada,” her spokesman explained.
How this squares with her commitment to “full regulatory alignment” with the EU where specific deals are not struck in order to maintain a frictionless economic border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, was left unclear.
Why did you vote for Brexit? (In your own words…)
— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) November 8, 2017
“In their bubble, they think people have forgotten about migration. They are so, so wrong,” commented Peter Whittle, member of the London Assembly for the UK Independence Party.
“They simply do not care about the number one issue for which people voted Brexit. When did you last hear anyone from the political class mention it?”
Some indication of the true level of concern about immigration among senior Tories — or lack thereof — was given by ousted Prime Minister David Cameron’s key lieutenant George Osborne shortly before the 2017 snap election, when he urged Mrs. May to drop a manifesto pledge to reduce immigration from “the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands”.
Osborne used a column in the London Evening Standard, where he now works as editor for a father-and-son team of Russian oligarchs, to boast that the Tories never had any intention of keeping this promise:
“[N]one of [the Cabinet’s] senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief,” he said, openly admitting that the Tories had “not been able to reduce significantly the numbers of [migrants] — though we could”.