The Brex Factor: John Humphrys’ Brexit dream lives on

PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 July 2018

BBC broadcaster and leading Brexiteer, John Humphrys. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

BBC broadcaster and leading Brexiteer, John Humphrys. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Steve Anglesey selects the worst Brexiteers of the week.

10. MAL 2014

Enraged by the Chequers agreement, this Daily Mail article commenter meant to call the prime minister a traitor. Thanks to predictive text he ended up with something wonderfully surreal. Although, given that she moves slowly, is well-known for spreading fertiliser and used to spend her time going through fields of wheat, maybe Theresa May really IS a tractor?

9. MICHAEL GOVE

Told Andrew Marr on the day before Theresa May’s Black Monday: “One of the things about this compromise is that it unites the cabinet.”

Just 30 hours later, two senior colleagues had resigned. Just call him Mystic Mike.

8. DAVID DAVIS

DD spent a total of four hours negotiating with the EU’s Michel Barnier this year – a little less than he spent at Silverstone last Sunday watching the British Grand Prix as a VIP in his last public act while in office.

Davis was spotted in the pits – a familiar spot for Brexiteers – and no doubt enjoyed all the chicanery. He later explained the delay between last Friday’s Chequers agreement and his resignation on Monday with the words: “This was the sort of thing you have to think carefully about... this is not a simple or easy decision, it takes time.” And where better to mull it over than in the calm and quiet of a Formula One race, where noise levels close to the track can reach 140dB – as loud as a jet plane?

7. BORIS JOHNSON

The cringeworthy moments at a 2017 Munich security conference when Boris repeatedly called Brexit “a liberation”, then refused to withdraw the word when an MEP accused him of bad taste and insensitivity, were clearly not forgotten by Foreign Office staff.

After Johnson resigned, they cracked open bottles of champagne in a celebration they called ‘Liberation Day’.

Isn’t karma wonderful?

6. CHRIS HEATON-HARRIS

With Davis already out the door and Boris Johnson preparing to quit, the Brexiteer MP for Daventry was in surprisingly jocular mood on Monday afternoon, tweeting to his 15,000 followers: “Phoned Seaworld earlier and before I could speak to anyone was asked to say: ‘Jump through this hoop.’ And ‘Do a flip’. Supposedly my call was recorded for training porpoises.”

Five minutes later the quip had been deleted. It’s not clear whether Heaton-Harris was warned off or thought better of punning while his government was embroiled in crisis, but not long after he was named parliamentary under secretary of state at DExEU.

So despite DD’s departure, the department will still be known for having bad jokes in high places...

5. JAMES DYSON

The Brexity businessman told GQ magazine: “I would just walk away... The EU have made a huge fuss about Ireland, which is none of their business.”

Apart from the small matter of Ireland being part of the EU27, he’s absolutely right.

4. MELANIE PHILLIPS

“Public faith in democratic process now in danger,” warned the veteran right-wing columnist on Twitter as Tory in-fighting raged. Her solution? “Sack May, give Farage a peerage, make him party leader and PM – at least until UK really does properly leave the EU. Too fanciful? Desperate times need desperate measures.”

So the best way to restore the public’s faith in democracy would be to have a right-wing extremist become prime minister without even a by-election, let alone a general election? Riiiiight.

It’s Mel’s maddest moment since the 2011 Daily Mail article in which she warned that “schoolchildren are to be bombarded with homosexual references ... in science, they will be directed to ­animal species such as emperor ­penguins and sea horses, where the male takes a lead role in raising its young.”

3. NIGEL FARAGE

What was your highlight of the nicotine-stained man-frog’s week? Was it:

a) Being revealed to have earned £524,000 and £700,000 through television and radio work alone in the last four years, despite recently claiming to be “skint”?

b) Calling the Baby Trump balloon “the biggest insult to a sitting US president ever,” although in November 2016 he’d referred to the sitting US president as “that Obama creature – a loathsome individual who couldn’t stand our country”?

c) Posing gleefully with a shark he’d caught while fishing before being told it was an endangered Tope shark? Oh, those cold, dead eyes... and the shark was scary too.

2. JOHN HUMPHRYS

“We are becoming a colony... what we’re doing is kow-towing to Brussels even before they’ve made any demands... we’re giving away everything,” fumed a leading Brexiteer on Radio 4’s Today programme the day after Davis and Johnson departed.

Naturally, it was not a right-wing Tory MP or UKIP MEP but the programme’s supposedly unbiased co-host Humphrys, 74. The Brexit dream will never die with him still in post.

1. NADINE DORRIES

The week’s unpleasantness has overshadowed the launch of Dorries’ new book, Shadows In Heaven, set in the west coast of Ireland during wartime. A masterpiece of in-depth research, the first 55 pages alone feature characters called Paddy, Seamus and Mrs Doyle, plus multiple mentions of twinkling eyes, red hair, whiskey, Guinness, stew, potatoes and variations on the phrase “so he does”.

There’s also the memorable sentence “her breasts ricocheted about like rocks in socks”, leaving readers to ponder how much time there can possibly be left before public demand forces Nadine to retreat from politics and devote herself full-time to literature, the Brexit Brontë our times truly deserve.

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