Government Remainers are moving to squash any chance of a clean, No Deal Brexit from the European Union, with the one minister openly denouncing it as a “total disaster” and inviting the Prime Minister to sack him if she doesn’t like it.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the sister of “People’s Vote” campaign chief Roland Rudd who barely clung on to her Leave-voting constituency in the 2017 snap election, appears to be fronting the insurrection, taking to the broadcast media to declare she is “committed to making sure we avoid” a clean Brexit, wants MPs to get a free vote on blocking it, and will not rule out resigning if it is pursued.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip “Remainer Phil” Hammond, who has fought for a Brexit-in-name-only departure ever since taking over from Remain campaign “Scaremonger-general” George Osborne after the referendum, meanwhile, is announcing that “leaving without a deal would undermine our future prosperity, and would equally represent a betrayal of the promises that were made [before the referendum].”
Officially, the Prime Minister’s position is that she cannot take No Deal “off the table”, partly because it is currently enshrined in law by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018 as the legal default if a deal is not struck, and partly because any chance of negotiating an improved settlement with the EU would evaporate if walking away was not option, however the poor the bloc’s offer.
The Business Minister is openly daring the PM to sack him
Quite incredible stuff pic.twitter.com/pSOroIdFUs
— steve hawkes (@steve_hawkes) January 24, 2019
Their public push to block No Deal was buttressed by a public intervention by multi-national aeroplane manufacturer Airbus — previously judged to have been awarded billions of pounds in illegal subsidies by the EU in a World Trade Organization ruling — to say No Deal could “potentially” see them make “harmful” decisions concerning the future of their British plants.
Business minister Richard Harrington seized on this to make perhaps the most naked attack on the Prime Minister’s authority, announcing he was “delighted” by the threats at a German Industry UK event.
“I really don’t believe in [No Deal]. I am very happy to be public about it and very happy if the Prime Minister decides I am not the right person to do the business industry job,” Harrington declared insolently.
Airbus was often trotted out to make similar claims during the 2016 referendum, but these were undermined somewhat by people uncovering earlier statements by the chief executive that “there would be no reason” for the company to leave Britain if it was outside the EU and it had “no intention” of doing.
Similarly, their most recent intervention has also been undermined by Airbus Senior UK Vice President Katherine Bennett appearing to admit “the Government put [them] up to this” on Sky News.
“[The Government] did say could you make sure that you make clear the potential impact of a No Deal, and we are happy to do that,” Bennett told the broadcaster — despite having initially denied that they had done so.