As defeat followed demolish, the Brexit masterplan of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings came reverse, torn apart by Tory rebellion and cross-party collaboration
At 11 am last Tuesday a group of elderly Tory MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit amassed outside the cabinet room at No 10 for a meeting with the “ministers “. The former chancellor Philip Hammond, the ex-justice secretary David Gauke and the former business secretary Greg Clark were among them. Along with other Tory MPs, including Sir Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve, and Labour’s Keir Starmer and Hilary Benn, the selection board had invested their summer holidays gleaning up a greenback they belief would action Boris Johnson to seek an extension to Brexit if he could not strike a new deal with the EU by mid-October.
Johnson had held before and since becoming prime minister that he would never ask the EU for another postponement and would take the UK out of the EU on 31 October” bargain or no cope”, “do or die”. To restriction the amount of parliamentary time the rebels would have to pass the legislation, the primeminister had already announced he would shut parliament down for five weeks from next week ahead of a new Queen’s communication on 14 October. But the cross-party alliance opposed to no cope had moved fast in response, and accelerated their plans. As they chit-chat before the join, they were confident they had both the numbers to get the bill on the statute book and the time to do so before parliament was closed.
Outside in Whitehall, and down the road in Parliament Square, a constant rucku of rally and counter-protest rang out from Remainers and Leavers alike. It was parliament’s first day back after the long July and August recess- and the controversial prorogation announcement. Police had separated beings on different backs of the Brexit divide as best we are to be able to but still arguments broke out between them on the pavement. Remainers sung “stop the coup” while Leavers carried placards saying ” Traitor Parliament” and” Boris. No Deal is Ideal “. Opposite the entering to the Commons one of the protesters, Dr John Dinnen, said he had woken up at 2am dead worried about her what Brexit would mean for peace on the island of Ireland, where he was born, that he had decided to get a train from Hereford to protest about a possible no cope.” I feel very strongly about it ,” he said.
When the No 10 gather went under way, the former Tory ministers- a number of members of the so-called Gaukeward Squad- expected Johnson what suggestions he had to break the deadlock with Brussels and secure a new agreement to stop the UK crashing out in less than two months’ occasion. If he genuinely had such a plan, and it proved acceptable to the EU and parliament, they made clear that their efforts to force him to go to Brussels to ask for another delay would be unnecessary and everyone would be happy.
” He had a folder on the desk with him and placed at it, intimating the plans were inside ,” said one generator at the meeting. The MPs then inquired whether the folder’s materials had been presented to EU commanders.” His response was that the EU would only really begin negotiating in earnest when it was sure the UK was serious about no treat ,” said another source.” And the PM was clear the EU was not yet sure that we were serious about no treat so good-for-nothing had been sent to them yet .”
The message Johnson wanted to convey was that the MPs’ attempts to block no batch were taking the heat off Brussels. During an hour at the end of the debates, Clark asked for some specific details on particular issues and Johnson said someone from his office would get even to him. Later that day, Clark received a phone call from Johnson’s closest aide, Dominic Cummings, which failed to provide answers. Instead Clark located himself on the end of a foul-mouthed tirade.
According to informants aware of the exchange, Cummings bawled at him, saying:” When are you MPs going to realise that we are leaving on 31 October ?” before lending:” We are going to fucking purge you .”