A public backlash has forced the Government to ditch its plans to “drip feed” a series of scare stories about the supposed consequences of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit over the summer, in what had been dubbed Project Fear 2.0.
Long criticised for failing to make it clear that Britain was willing to walk away from the European Union or show that it was prepared to do so if it would not offer a constructive deal, Theresa May’s Government ended up deciding it would publish 70 official papers detailing various ‘No Deal’ contingencies — but in order to make it look as though the country would be plunged into a national emergency, rather than show it was ready to deal with the EU on normal third country terms with minimal disruption, it was claimed.
A Tory MP close to Theresa May revealed to BBC Newsnight that the goal was to “scare people witless” in order to win support for her own ultra-soft Chequers proposals, which triggered several Brexiteer resignations from the May Government — including her Brexit Secretary and nominal lead Brexit negotiator David Davis — who believed they would lead to BRINO, or ‘Brexit In Name Only’.
Project Fear 2.0 – May Plans to ‘Scare People Witless’ to Win Support for Soft Brexit, MP Reveals https://t.co/s9GKp8jhPr
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 27, 2018
“The state apparatus is quite obviously incapable of implementing a pro-Brexit policy and using Theresa May to try to prevent it from happening,” one senior Brexiteer told The Times.
“They were trying to highlight disruption through a series of scare stories all summer. A number of us were strongly opposed to this.”
Stories released so far included lurid descriptions of a nation forced to stockpile food and medicine, with the army deployed to remote areas to stop them from collapsing — a nightmare scenario quite unlike that experienced by any other advanced economy not inside the European Union, let alone a leading member of the G7.
But the initiative has not had the desired effect, with the public pouring derision on the claims — whose credibility has not been helped by the fact that the original Project Fear’s claims that a vote to Leave the European Union would result in a recession and mass layoffs turned out to be completely false.
“If what No 10 is trying to do is terrify the nation into supporting Chequers, it will have profound political consequences, opening the door for the resurgence of UKIP,” another disgruntled Tory Brexiteer told The Times.
“Chequers is not the only deal that it is possible to strike with the EU and it is disingenuous to suggest it is a binary choice.”
The Government will now dump all its remaining papers on a single day in August, in hopes that this will minimise their time in the news cycle.