Here in today’s Telegraph Iian Duncan Smith says
Our remorseless Remainer Government has hijacked Brexit – Iain Duncan Smith writes for The Telegraph 22nd May.
We’ve been taken on a three-year road to nowhere
Pointless speeches on Brexit from the leading lights of this Government have become drearily predictable – but even so it came as quite a shock to get two on the same day, and from the two most senior figures in this administration, Philip Hammond and Theresa May.
The Chancellor trotted off to the CBI to make another of his doom and gloom pronouncements. Apart from the usual mantra that in every possible circumstance the UK would be worse off after Brexit, he decided to lecture the future leadership candidates that they shouldn’t resurrect “no deal”.
Worse, in an act of gross hypocrisy he attacked those of us who campaigned for Brexit all along, saying that we risk being guilty of “hijacking” the referendum result. This is a remarkably arrogant statement, even by the Chancellor’s standards.
A man who campaigned for the UK to remain before the referendum – and who has never since relented in his drive to convince us all that it will be a disaster – now claims that he has special insight into the way the British people think.
The conclusion he has drawn, apparently, is that the public didn’t understand what they were voting for, even though during the campaign the pro-Leave message was as clear as could be: to “take back control” of our borders, laws and money, and to leave the Customs Union and Single Market.
Nor was it only Leave campaigners who said that. Remain, too, made it obvious that a vote for Brexit was a vote to leave the Customs Union and Single Market. If that wasn’t enough, the Conservative manifesto, on which he stood in 2017, was crystal clear that we would leave the Customs Union and the Single Market.
None of which has stopped Mr Hammond from campaigning to stay in the Customs Union right from the off. If anyone has been hijacking the referendum result, it’s the Chancellor – along with his fellow travellers in the Cabinet and the wider establishment – who have spent the last three years doing everything they can to frustrate our departure. Lest we forget, Mr Hammond even called those of his party colleagues who continued reasonably to campaign to honour those manifesto commitments “extremists”.
To add insult to injury, he has deliberately dragged his feet on supporting the necessary no-deal planning. This ensured he was able to state that we were not ready to leave on March 29 with no deal, even if we wanted to (although, remember, he has not been alone – a number of Cabinet ministers, against stated Government policy, abstained on a vote to rule out a no-deal #Brexit).
The #EU watched what was happening inside the Government and listened to the Chancellor’s negative comments on the Brexit process, and realised early on that the UK had no intention of leaving without fulfilling the EU demands in the Withdrawal Agreement.
The referendum result was clear: that the UK should leave the EU. Since then, there has been a remorseless campaign by the Remainers to hijack the result and turn the vote to Leave into leaving in name only.
Which brings me to the other speech we were forced to endure yesterday. As bad as her original Withdrawal Agreement was, the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday made things a whole lot worse. By adding the opportunity for a second referendum, a customs union and by threatening that she will stop her successor from reversing anything by implementing binding legislation, this was perhaps the greatest hijacking of the referendum yet seen.
We now seem to have broken pretty much every undertaking we as a Government have made. I can sadly think of no more effective way of encouraging the British people, already frustrated with our failure to leave the EU, to desert the Conservatives and vote for the Brexit Party tomorrow.
As I listened, I could not help but wonder if this final speech was a case of getting even with those Conservative MPs who have failed to support her agreement. The upshot is that Mrs May’s legacy is now sure to be a poisonous one – a scorched earth of broken Brexit promises and a party battered by the aftermath.
Not so much a car crash as a multiple pile-up on a three-year road to nowhere.