As the Brexit talks drag on, the formerly Remain-supporting prime minister is said to be planning to double her previous offer to the EU of roughly £20 billion to £40 billion.
Theresa May, reportedly under pressure from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond, has had to convene a special ‘War Cabinet’ in order to sign off the offer, with Brexit supporters Boris Johnson and Michael Gove said to be concerned that the EU has yet to offer Britain anything in return.
Such a situation could result in a repeat of the situation after Tony Blair’s failed attempts to negotiate reform to the EU’s money-hungry Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which saw the Labour leader give away a chunk of Britain’s rebate worth billions of pounds in exchange for a promise of reform which was never delivered.
Blair's rebate giveaway has cost the UK £10 billion to date pic.twitter.com/fcZALl60NJ
— Business for Britain (@forbritain) April 7, 2015
The move comes as EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier appears to be pushing for Northern Ireland to be kept within the EU Single Market — a significant power grab which would see the province more economically integrated with the European Union than with the United Kingdom in many respects after Brexit.
Barnier has also continued to insist that the EU’s demands on money and citizens’ rights must be met before the bloc will even consider talking trade — despite increasing evidence that ‘No Deal’ would leave it with a significant black hole in its finances, and key member-states such as Germany being in a position of political weakness domestically.
Germans losing patience with EU: “We should be saying, ‘For Christ’s sake, give them the best trade deal possible’.” https://t.co/gs1R5gN1qU
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) August 9, 2017
Considering the EU’s situation, many Britons are non-plussed by the Remainer-dominated government’s apparent willingness to indulge its continued intransigence with more concessions.
“If we start saying that we’re going to give £40 to £50 billion to the EU, I think the public will go bananas, absolutely spare,” warned Robert Halfon MP — a former deputy chairman of the party who was not even a Brexit supporter during the referendum.
“I voted Remain because I believe in alliances of democracies in an uncertain world, but we voted to Leave, the public want to leave, and I cannot believe that the public would accept such a huge amount when we need money for our schools, our hospitals, our housing and many other things,” he said.
Brexit supporters have given the rumoured cave-in an even harsher reception, with Leave.EU — the largest campaign group on either side of the EU referendum — tweeting: “If May offers a £40bn Brexit bill, it will be the single biggest act of treachery since Tony Blair sent our soldiers to war on a barefaced lie.”
WATCH | @Jacob_Rees_Mogg: "The British government shouldn't be bullied by the European Union's negotiating tactics. We have a very strong card in terms of money – we should not give in to their threats!" pic.twitter.com/v0MEcJEe3Z
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) November 20, 2017
Some Brexit-supporting Tory MPs, too, are angry that the May administration is considering giving Brussels any money at all.
“One pound is too much,” said backbencher Peter Bone. “We are net contributors, over £200bn over the years to the European Union superstate. If anyone should get any money from this divorce, it’s us. The idea we would pay £38bn is absurd.”
Grassroots favourite Jacob Rees-Mogg, meanwhile, has hinted that he believes the prime minister’s decision to almost double her offer to the EU without any clear indication of what will be given in return will only invite more bullying, quoting a stanza from Rudyard Kipling’s famous Dane-geld poem:
IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
“We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: –
“Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —
“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”