May's muscles in Brussels

The Prime Minister could scarcely have chosen a better person than David Davis to lead Britain's Brexit negotiations with the hard men of Brussels.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 5th September 2017, 10:31 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:49 pm

Davis, an amiable bruiser of a minister who sports a broken nose, does not deal in elegant diplomatic language, but talks tough. And he needs to, as well, since his ‘opponents’ have, it seems, transformed into a bunch of grasping Shylocks, demanding not only their pound of flesh, but plenty more on top of that.

These Brussels grandees are far more interested in what they can squeeze out of the Treasury coffers than the actual political outcome.

The UK, thankfully, has already made clear it will not be prepared to pay the eye-watering sums mentioned in Brussels – sums of money even Premiership football clubs might shy away from.

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David Davis was effectively sidelined by David Cameron. At least Theresa May had the wisdom to bring him back into the fold. Meanwhile, May has been warning potential Tory rebels on Brexit they had better step into line or face the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn government. There is no telling yet whether these words will have any effect on these diehards when the crucial withdrawal Bill comes before Parliament later this week.

The British electorate voted for Brexit, yet a number of MPs appear to think they know better. It is monstrous that people who proclaim “Power to the people” should then do their utmost to try to reverse the people’s verdict once it has been delivered.

- “I am not sure that’s a smart idea, mate.” These were allegedly the words of Sir Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ Australian election guru, when he heard the Prime Minister was going to call a snap poll last June.

If that really was his view, why did he not drum home to the Prime Minister that she was taking a terrible risk in suddenly going to the country at that point? Perhaps he did warn May about the folly of her actions and she refused to accept that – more fool her.

If that is the case, he should have pressed harder, for, after all, he has the reputation of being one of the world’s most eminent election strategists.