Brexfactor: Negotiate? Just tear it down

PUBLISHED: 11:39 07 July 2017

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tries his hand at bricklaying during a visit to Barnet and Southgate College in north London.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tries his hand at bricklaying during a visit to Barnet and Southgate College in north London.

PA Wire/PA Images

We rank 6 of the losers, fiends and bonkers Brexiteers of another crazy seven days on Planet Brexit

6. Peter Whittle

The front runner to land the coveted title of UKIP leader (after successfully leading Chelsea to Premier League glory, previous leader Paul Nuttall is understood to be joining Barcelona), Whittle could yet change his mind. It has become something of a trend for UKIP. Remember Diane James? She stood down after 18 days. And Whittle himself threw his tweed hat into the ring to succeed her, only to grab it back after having second thoughts. This time though Whittle has an ace card up his sleeve that could well propel him to victory – recognition. One party insider summed up the leadership race as such this week: “Whittle is a massive favourite at the moment because he’s the only [candidate] people know.” If you say so...

5. Dominic Cummings

As Michael Gove’s chief of staff he wrote a now notorious essay titled “Some thoughts on education and political priorities” which was described by the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour as “either mad, bad or brilliant – and probably a bit of all three”. As one of the masterminds behind the big red bus of lies, Cummings played a huge role in the mess we are in. All the more galling then that in a late-night Twitter exchange he has now called the referendum a “dumb idea” and admitted leaving the EU may be “an error”. Unlike the slogan on that bus, this time he is not telling fibs.

4. Nigel Farage

The uber lord of Planet Brexit is not going to run for leader of UKIP. Phew. He will remain as leader of the group in the European Parliament though where he takes pride in annoying proper politicians like European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who this week had something of a meltdown after a particularly poorly attended debate. Farage said “I was stuck in Amsterdam, I was supposed to be in that debate ... He was really upset not to see me and that’s why he lost his rag”. What were you smoking in Amsterdam Nigel? Juncker might be annoyed over Brexit – but he won’t be sad to see the back of you.

3. Jeremy Corbyn

A Brex Factor debut for the saviour of the left, “ohhhhhhh Jeremy Corbyn”, but perhaps not a plaudit his burgeoning fanbase – fresh from that Glastonbury singalong – will welcome. Labour’s position on Brexit has long been a fudge. But no more. Comrades Andy Slaughter, Ruth Cadbury and Catherine West were all sacked from the front bench for backing a Chuka Umunna amendment calling for Britain to remain in the customs union and single market. This is unlikely to go down too well with his festival-loving fans – a poll last year showed 83% backed remaining in the EU.

2. Anne Marie Waters

This leadership hopeful won’t do much to help improve UKIP’s reputation on race relations if elected its leader. In fact she makes your average Brexiteer look positively Lib Dem. This week there were reports that an army of fans were infiltrating the party to secure her election. She has described Islam as “evil” and has been endorsed by lovely little Tommy Robinson. She does however share something in common with members of UKIP’s top brass (see Peter Whittle) – she has wild changes of heart. Only four years ago she stood for selection as the Labour candidate for South Swindon.

1. Steve Baker

The newest member of the Brexit department, tasked with the delicate role of negotiating our European departure on the most advantageous terms possible, has hardly hidden his euroscepticism. But even he might have cringed at the emergence of footage of him, in 2010, at a meeting of the Libertarian Alliance where he declared to a cheering crowd the EU should be “torn down” and was an “obstacle” to world peace. This is the same EU that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for “the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights”, where there has been no wars between current members since 1945 and even Boris Johnson agrees was “born of the highest motives”.

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