Brexit Rebel McVey: Cabinet Remainers, Top Civil Servant Frustrating Brexit

Conservative Party MP Esther McVey speaks at a political rally entitled 'Lets Go WTO' hosted by pro-Brexit lobby group Leave Means Leave in London on January 17, 2019. - British Prime Minister Theresa May scrambled to put together a new Brexit strategy on Thursday after MPs rejected her EU divorce …

Esther McVey MP has warned that many in the Government’s Cabinet are Remainers whose only agenda is to stay as closely aligned to the European Union as possible.

The Tory Brexiteer, who resigned as work and pensions secretary in November in protest against Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit negotiations, told LBC host and MEP Nigel Farage on Sunday, “You have to look at the whole make-up of the Cabinet and the key positions in the Cabinet and you will see that they are people who have all voted for Remain and are still ardent remainers.

“Whether that’s the Chancellor [Philip Hammond], whether that’s David Lidington, known as the deputy prime minister, whether that’s Greg Clark, there in BEIS [Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy], those core Cabinet ministers are, and there is a big majority of ministers in Cabinet.”

Ms McVey also claimed that top civil servant Oliver Robbins, who served as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU from July 2016 until becoming the prime minister’s Europe Adviser in September 2017, is also working to frustrate the will of the majority of Britons who voted to Leave in June 2016.

“At the same time, Olly Robbins, it would appear, has been her [Mrs May’s] key adviser and very much about staying in [the European Union].

“In fact, if you have looked about the negotiations, it’s not about what we can do when we leave, free trade agreements, and how do we become a global country again — it’s very much about how do we hold on to as much of the EU as possible. So you can just see by the way they look at the issue that they are remainers.”

The MP for Tatton reminded listeners that the default is to leave the bloc on March 29th, with or without a deal.

“The plan has always been to leave, as we always said, without a deal if we cannot agree on a deal, and that is why it was so important that we did all the planning and preparations around it.”

“That’s why I’m pleased to see that civil servants have been putting that in place, whether it’s preferential trade agreements, whether it’s that hauliers will keep their licences and the agreements there, that planes will fly, what we’re putting in place at Dover… that ports are free flowing and can keep going,” she told Mr Farage.

Tory Brexiteers warned on Sunday that the only new terms of the Withdrawal Agreement that would win the support of the influential European Research Group (ERG) would be along the lines of the Malthouse Compromise — a document drawn up between Tory leavers and remainers that would remove the Irish backstop.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Malthouse compromise is the only game in town if we’re going to reach an agreement in Brussels,” said Steve Baker MP, vice-chairman of the ERG, according to The Guardian.

Last week, the House of Commons voted in favour of an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement that would seek to reopen dialogue with the EU on the Irish backstop.

The backstop would see Northern Ireland locked into regulatory alignment with the EU if a deal on the London-Brussels future relationship is not struck by the end of the transition period in December 2020, effectively cutting off Northern Ireland from the UK with a customs barrier and threatening the integrity of the union.

Mrs May is set to travel to Brussels to discuss renegotiating the deal; with EU bureaucrats already rejecting the notion of renegotiating, the prospect of the UK leaving the EU on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules is more now likely than ever.


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