David Cameron busted over Brexit remarks
Brexit supporters in parliament and the press are already waving it as proof they were right all along and his referendum campaign was full of puffed up lies. Nigel Farage tweeted: “Busted.”
It’s quite interesting to see what happens just before and after the exchange. He’s talking to the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal who opens the brief exchange saying that everyone at Davos is talking about Brexit. Mr Mittal then seems to get distracted by someone else he wants to talk to over Mr Cameron’s shoulder. It’s a cruel place.
Back in Westminster, David Davis was up in front of the Brexit Selext Committee. He was questioned by Jacob Rees-Mogg, newly elected leader of the Tory pro-Brexit group of MPs, the European Research Group.
Mr Rees-Mogg repeatedly and tartly questioned Mr Davis about the status quo transition that the government is now committed to. Was it not making the UK a “vassal state,” he asked?
The truth is that just about everyone in the ERG has known for some time that the “transition/implementation” phase would involve keeping pretty much all EU rules. Pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers helped to convince their backbench supporters that the transition/implementation period was a necessary evil. One ERG supporter said the Rees-Mogg sally was all about reminding the government that the ERG had swallowed the mighty indignity of a transition with great discomfort and wasn’t up for swallowing any more.
Amongst the ERG’s worries, reports that Philip Hammond’s approach to Brexit is winning the battle for Theresa May’s support. Another worry: the government’s trade bill, and sections 31 and 32 suggesting the government might be able to gain powers to sign up to the EU Customs Union.
The pro-Brexit Tories are lifelong outsiders, not unacquainted with paranoia, convinced their enemies are everywhere. It’s suggested that some 50 Tory MPs attended a private ERG meeting last night: a significant show of strength given that it takes 48 Tory MPs to trigger a vote of no confidence in the Tory leader.