The Tories’ handling of Brexit negotiations and preparations have been marked by persistent incompetence and dishonesty punctuated by moments of utter chaos – of which the shambles of last week’s Chequers ‘agreement’, followed promptly by the resignation of what seemed like half of Theresa May’s front-bench team, was a case study.
New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has picked up the thread where his predecessors left off, as his first contribution in his new role descended into angry farce.
There were extraordinary scenes in the House of Commons this afternoon after MPs became so outraged at the way in which Raab began to deliver a statement on the government’s new Brexit White Paper that Speaker John Bercow was forced to suspend proceedings.
Normally, the government provides a copy of its statements to MPs in advance so that they can familiarise themselves with the details and ask questions – but in this case, Raab began his statement with MPs having no idea what would be in it, because no copies had been provided.
It was such a show of disrespect and either incompetence or cowardice that the Chamber was thrown into a level of disorder rarely seen even in the often-rowdy Commons:
It was a scene that his opposition shadow made full use of when dismantling him once Raab had eventually finished delivering his statement:
Ouch. Fans of Dominic Raab look away now….
Keir Starmer destroys the new Brexit Minister's shambolic first appearance in the Commons. pic.twitter.com/xWThvXAiw1
— EL4C (@EL4JC) July 12, 2018
Why cowardice? MPs had not received a copy of the White Paper when Raab began his speech – but journalists had received one by around 9.30 this morning.
If Raab hoped to avoid harsher scrutiny by keeping MPs in the dark and depriving them of time to prepare, it certainly backfired in a huge way.
Like most of the Tories’ Brexit tactics.
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