Friday, April 23, 2021
HomeBrexit WatchTCW’s Wall of Brexit Shame: Telegraph commentators get it wrong

TCW’s Wall of Brexit Shame: Telegraph commentators get it wrong


YESTERDAY’S Telegraph carried an article headed: ‘What should Theresa May do now to salvage Brexit? Our writers give their verdicts’.

All four contributors to the piece are wrong.

Janet Daley is wrong because Mrs May, after two years of pushing Project Fear and deliberately not preparing adequately for a WTO exit, cannot now credibly turn round within 24 hours and argue No Deal No Problem. Nobody would believe her. No Deal would still be taken off the table. Anyway, that, quickly followed by delay and cancellation of Brexit is the outcome she really wants now that her deal is dead.

Ross Clark seems to argue for a general election but then says it would not change anything!

Asa Bennett is wrong because although seeking an extension is what Mrs May wants once No Deal is taken off the table, she cannot do so herself because she would be unable to convince anyone, certainly not the EU, of what she would be able to achieve. Malthouse Compromise has already been aired in Parliament and rejected by the EU at least until a post-Brexit period in which it would have no impact on the pre-determined course set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. Also it would mean admitting failure and she needs to be able to blame someone else for that.

Henry Newman is wrong because there will not be a better deal. Better for whom? However he is right that No Brexit is a likely outcome, not for the reasons he gives but because it is Mrs May’s Plan B, as she threatened in Grimsby.

Mrs May’s Plan B is simple. First of all a vote for ‘No to No Deal’ means that she will have no negotiating leverage with the EU for an extension of the negotiating period. The EU will demand a great deal of money and further damaging concessions. Mrs May will offer token resistance and come back to Parliament asking it to agree these as the price of postponement. Alternatively, she will say, Britain could stay in the EU, so, reluctantly, if it is the instruction of Parliament, she will have no choice as a democrat but to revoke the Article 50 notice of withdrawal. Parliament will vote for it. She will at last achieve a landslide vote in favour.

This is what Mrs May intends to take place. It is not her first choice as she will not be able to claim to have delivered Brexit, however false that claim would have been. But it will achieve her secret long-held aim of keeping the UK in the EU and, although probably shortening yet further her time in No 10, will see her elevated even sooner to the peerage.

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Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner is a former Royal Navy officer and management consultant working in defence procurement and policy, intelligence and security.

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