Ex-Cabinet Minister Says End of ‘No Deal’ Prep Proves Brexit Process a Stitch-up

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Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson has said that repeated Brexit delays and the end of ‘No Deal’ planning shows Theresa May’s government “was never going to countenance no deal”, in an article describing the process up to now as a “stitch-up”.

The Prime Minister, who campaigned to Remain in the European Union in 2016, made “no deal is better than a bad deal” one of her key mantras ahead of the 2017 election, but delayed Brexit beyond its original March 29th date — despite promising 108 times that she would not — when she could not get the deal she managed to negotiate through the House of Commons, and then delayed it again when she could not pass it on a third attempt in time for May 22nd.

She also declined to advise the Queen to withhold the Royal Assent from a private bill rammed through the Remainer-dominated Houses of Commons in a day — described as an act of “constitutional vandalism” — with a majority of one, provided by a criminal MP who was out from prison on an electronic tag.

“From its willingness to accept extensions to Article 50 beyond even the Prime Minister’s own, self-imposed deadline of 30th June, we can see the Government was never going to countenance no deal,” wrote Paterson in The Telegraph, adding that the fact No Deal planning was being “wound up” left no doubt as to what the establishment were up to.

Paterson calculated that the £4.2 billion already spent on No Deal preparations is “the equivalent of 91 thousand police officers or nurses, 93 thousand teachers, or 78 thousand doctors.”

“What was the point of spending all that money, if there was never any intention to use them?” he demanded.

“It gets worse,” the former Secretary of State for the Environment continued.

“In grasping an extension, the Government commits the UK to spending around £1bn each month in [EU] membership fees… [and] it commits the UK to squandering £100m on wholly unwanted European elections, only for newly-elected British MEPs to immediately stand down in October,” he explained — although this assumes Brexit will actually be delivered come October 31st, which has not been the case for the previous deadlines of March 29th and April 12th or May 22nd.

“This expensive Government vanity project must stop,” he implored. “So, too, must the fear-mongering.”

Paterson is not the first former minister to suggest a degree of duplicity on the part of the Government and the permanent officials of Her Majesty’s Civil Service, who have historically been led by bureaucrats with an overwhelming bias against leaving the EU.

Steve Baker, a minister of state under inaugural Brexit Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), suggested that his entire department had been established as a kind of “Potemkin structure” led by Brexiteers and led to believe that it was leading the Brexit negotiations and putting together Britain’s plan — while the Prime Minister, Cabinet Office and assorted bureaucrats were working on their own ultra-soft “Chequers” plan behind their backs all the time.

“[T]he reason why [then-Secretary of State for Brexit] David Davis and I had to resign is that unfortunately the officials of the Prime Minister worked around ministers in the department responsible to come up with this ridiculous half-in, half-out plan,” Baker elaborated more recently.

“Our constitutional position is the Secretary of State is responsible and the Prime Minister’s power derives from being able to appoint and dismiss ministers… but it’s the Secretary of State who gets the seals of office from the Queen,” he explained.

“Our constitution’s been abused.”

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