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DAILY MAIL COMMENT: The ‘secret’ cross-party summit is part of a cynical Remainer plot to derail Brexit
It was billed as a ‘secret’ cross-party summit, convened by concerned Leavers and Remainers to consider the supposed failings of Brexit and how to fix them.
In fact the two-day gathering at a stately home in Oxfordshire was another tawdry stunt in the campaign to drag Britain back into the ambit of Brussels by those who can’t accept the 2016 referendum result.
So secret was this great symposium that an avidly Europhile newspaper was fully briefed on its contents and register of attendees. And as to being cross-party, aside from a couple of octogenarian peers, the only prominent Tory Brexiteer present was the ever-mercurial Michael Gove.
Otherwise, it was the usual suspects; Remainer business chiefs, a few shadow cabinet ministers and, naturally, Lord Mandelson, without whom no anti-Brexit bash would be complete. All in all, a smug assemblage of arrogant Establishment figures who think they know best.
Risibly, two ex-civil service mandarins who attended, Oliver Robbins (stunningly unsuccessful chief Brexit negotiator under Theresa May) and Tom Scholar, were described as ‘non-political’.
Lord Frost last night warned of a plot to undermine Brexit after leading Remainers held a secret summit on EU relations
Yet both resigned after falling out with the Government and both have been tipped for senior jobs under Labour, should the country be unwise enough to propel Sir Keir Starmer into power. Non-political?
Of course these people have a right to their minority opinion. But their real intention, as Brexit champion Lord Frost tells the Mail, is to unravel the deals done in 2020 and go back to shadowing the EU.
In the short term, they hope to bounce Rishi Sunak into diluting the withdrawal agreement and Sir Keir into committing a future Labour government to full re-alignment with Brussels.
Both would be wise to ignore these siren voices and stand up for democracy.
The best way to ‘fix’ Brexit, as Lord Frost points out, is for the Government to honour its election mandate and properly embrace it, rather than listening to the likes of Mr Robbins, who made such a hash of things in the first place.
The Tory peer said the gathering of prominent politicians, business chiefs and ex-civil servants at Ditchley Park showed a will to unravel the deal he helped negotiate with Brussels. And in a clear attack on the Government, he said ministers did not need to fix Brexit but rather implement it in full – instead of raising taxes
When the head of pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca announced last week that it was switching construction of a huge new manufacturing plant from Cheshire to Ireland, he gave three main reasons – high UK taxes, poor state incentives for new investment and excessive red tape.
Freed from Brussels interference, it is in the PM’s gift to remove all these impediments and give British business the wings it needs to achieve growth. It’s about time he got on with it.
And all those whining Remainers should respect the referendum result rather than clinging to the pretence that the electorate was gulled into voting Leave.
If they put half as much effort into making Brexit work as they do into trying to undermine it, this country would be in a much better place.
Left’s BBC hypocrisy
While it may be regrettable that Richard Sharp was not more open about his role in helping Boris Johnson secure a loan before being selected as BBC chairman, Labour’s howls of fury are preposterous.
Did they complain when Tony Blair appointed Gavyn Davies, Labour donor and husband of Gordon Brown’s private secretary, to the same role? Or when staunch Labourite Greg Dyke became director-general. Or indeed, when ex-Labour minister James Purnell took over the key role of BBC head of strategy?
Of course not. They loved it.
The truth is that the BBC is a highly political organisation, and despite 12 years of Tory government, it remains heavily biased towards the liberal Left.
Labour elevated cronyism to an art and its backers dominate the quangocracy and national broadcasters. By comparison, the Conservatives are rank amateurs.
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