A television presenter thought he had found consensus between three MPs on Brexit – but shortly after it all went wrong.
Tory Brexiteer Daniel Kawczynski, Kirsty Blackwell from the SNP and Stella Creasy from Labour were discussing the steps forward for Brexit.
Kawczynski argued that if there were further compromises from the UK and EU over Theresa May’s deal – including a five year limit on the backstop – he may be able to support her plan, but failing that he believed a no deal Brexit would be acceptable.
Sky News presenter Faisal Islam said ‘this is progress’ as he noted that the ERG would welcome a five-year backstop to allow the UK to finally depart the European Union.
‘You are all moving a little bit – you just need to go a bit further,’ he told the Brexiteer, before saying that nearly ‘everyone is on the same page.’
The ERG member however argued he had already made compromises so far and that he did not believe the £39 billion was right, but said he was prepared to compromise over costs.
He said what he could not stand was an ‘indefinite backstop to Northern Ireland which could long-term precipitate a border poll’ and reunification of Ireland.
Kawczynski said that the ERG had ‘many solutions to the Irish border’ to some laughter from fellow panellists, as he pointed to examples of the Polish-Russian border an example of how goods passed over the border ‘free flow’.
The SNP’s Kirsty Blackwell pointed out that if there are checks at the border this was not ‘free flow’ but the Brexiteer dismissed her point.
He said: ‘I find this ironic coming from someone who wants a greater border between Scotland and England.’
As Creasy continued to argue with the Brexiteer he claimed talk of a hard border in Ireland in the event of a no deal Brexit was down to ‘interference’ from the EU.
Creasy pointed out that there was a hard before the EU was formed and it had nothing to do with their interference.
But Kawczynski was not convinced. He continued: ‘There is a border there already, we have a tariff differences, VAT border, different currencies, checks and differences. The ladies are trying to suggest there will be a border with a border post and a man there checking the milk lorry going across and inspecting everything.
‘We know most of these inspections are at the factory – all of this is computerised. All that will be checked will be food and animals.’
By then it was clear the ‘consensus’ that the presenter had talked about had gone out of the window as the Brexiteer accused the panel of trying to ‘frighten the British people’.
Anger then erupted as Kawczynski said Blackwell and Creasy were ‘scaremongering and determined to overturn the British will of the people’.
Creasy said: ‘How dare you accuse us of scaremongering because we’re presenting you with facts.’
But Kawczynski hit back: ‘You accused me of scaremongering – this was meant to be a polite conversation. You are trying to frighten the the British people.’