Cabinet still at each its others throats over Customs Union
Michael Gove has rejected the idea that any real progress has been made on the Customs Union question, while Jeremy Hunt has taken a swipe at Boris and other brexiteers in the cabinet.
The factions are at loggerheads over two solutions - the PM’s idea of a ‘customs partnership’, or the brexiteer maximum facilitation, a ‘solution’ based on technology. Theresa May had hoped to resolve the question by splitting the cabinet into two working groups, having the remainers work on the brexiteer’s preferred option, and vice versa. Boris Johnson and Phillip Hammond have been banned from participating.
Instead it has exposed the deep divides in the cabinet and the conservative party. Jeremy Hunt took advantage of his position to take a swipe at Boris’ intervention last week on LBC, saying:
“I’m backing the prime minister. I think that we have to trust Theresa May. You can’t iron out every single detail of a negotiating position in public. It’s going to be bumpy of course because it’s a different course to the way we were going to go but we’ve got to have some confidence and trust in her.”
While Michael Gove surmised on Andrew Marr that Boris was probably right, and that - surprise, surprise - the Brexiteers’ solution was the only workable one:
“Because it’s novel, because no model like this exists there have to be significant questions about the deliverability of it on time.”
Back on planet Earth, the EU is said to have already rejected both solutions. And the Deputy Irish PM did so far more explicitly yesterday. The two solutions are incredible workarounds, but neither truly resolve the Irish Border question. For that, will need the customs union - and that is apparently a bridge too far for the Conservative party.