Brexiteers in government – along with the prime minister – have been accused by former Brexit Party MEPs of ‘selling out’ to Brussels.
In a sign of discontent over any Brexit agreement with the EU, Alexandra Phillips and Ben Habib have penned a column in the Daily Telegraph accusing the biggest proponents of the project in the Tory party of backtracking on their principles.
They say that the politicians in government who were “complicit in cheerleading the oven-ready deal” are the same now fearing a “sell-out” with the EU, and say the writing is “clearly on the wall” for what happens next.
The former MEPs claim that the “damage was done” with the Withdrawal Agreement – which they also backed in the European Parliament – for “granting the Conservative Party major leverage over backbenchers and prospective parliamentarians”.
They said: “Hitherto pivotal voices joined in chorus to approve the oven-ready deal, such as that of Brexit-backing QC Martin Howe, who happened to vie to be the Conservative candidate, albeit unsuccessfully, in the seat of Beaconsfield vacated by Dominic Grieve.”
Turning their attention to the chair of the European Research Group (ERG), they write: “Wind the clock forward half a year and one-time ERG chair Steve Baker confessed in The Critic that he had no idea there would be a border down the Irish Sea.
“It’s one thing to miss small print, but accidentally annexing a constituent country to a foreign power is a monumental mistake. This precipitated the utter farce of having to draw up the Internal Markets Bill and breaking the international law enshrined in the Withdrawal Agreement to protect UK food supply chains – legislation only apparently needed in the event of No Deal and now alarmingly dropped.”
The article finally hits out at arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg. They explain: “The Commons may be forced to amend retrospectively domestic law to accommodate a dreadful deal, a move that leader of the House and famed Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admits would be hugely controversial and legally contentious, yet is seemingly happy to enable.”
Is anyone surprised, because I'm not, this was always going to be a sell-out. The PM is a remainer
— The feast of St Stephen (@StevenMoorhous8) December 16, 2020
Brexit Party supporters praised the article, claiming the “sell-out” was because the Tory party has been pro-European and Boris Johnson is a Remainer.
“Is anyone surprised, because I’m not, this was always going to be a sell-out. The PM is a Remainer” remarked one.
“Brexit was won and will be lost over the next few weeks,” said another. “The Tory party has always been pro EU historically. Nothing has changed although they have tried to persuade everyone otherwise.”
Richard Williams wrote: “If so – let’s start the process for the removal of Boris. Let him be known as Brino Boris forever more.”
Terry Aston tweeted: “Brino, the whole year has been softening us up for it and government have been play-acting this drama.”