Boris: “I Am Not an Outer”


Stories in two newspapers this morning suggest that two so-called Eurosceptics will not in the end campaign to leave the EU. The Express claims Boris held talks with Tory MPs about leading the Leave campaign but turned the role down. They quote him as saying: “The trouble is, I am not an outer”

Quentin Letts in the Mail describes how once prominent outer Philip Hammond has gone native in the FCO, a point Guido made in June:

“He used to be a prominent Eurosceptic (indeed, his scepticism was one of the reasons he was appointed). Now he is mid-restyle. Having sensed that his own political survival may be in peril unless he sucks up to 10 Downing Street, he is turning himself into a Europhile… The Hammond of old is quickly being replaced by a Hammond who gives Europe the benefit of the doubt, a Hammond who is striving to keep Britain IN the European Union, a Hammond who with a superior lifting of the eyebrows, a tone of settled worldliness, asserts that he finds EU-sceptic position options to be unappealing. ‘Doesn’t look like a good plan to me,’ he murmured yesterday, perhaps a mite too ostentatiously, after hearing someone mention Norway’s position outside the EU. Equating Britain to Norway is a worn Europhile tactic.”

Looking at Guido’s guide to Cabinet Eurosceptics, the only three who seem dead certs to campaign to Leave are IDS, Grayling and Theresa Villers. May, Gove and Saj are all on the fence, and Cameron’s new rules gagging ministers from making pronouncements on Europe until the renegotiation is complete mean that isn’t going to change any time soon. Where is the X-it Factor?

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Quote of the Day

Ed Davey on who he would like to see lead a government of national unity

“Yvette Cooper for obvious reasons, she’s been very high-profile in cross-party work, and I’ve also mentioned Hilary Benn as chair of the Brexit Select Committee. But it would not be for me here to make that suggestion, it would be for others working cross-party. I think it probably has to be a Labour MP because most of the MPs supporting a Queen’s Speech would be Labour. Ultimately it’s a challenge to my Labour colleagues, many of who realise a no-deal Brexit would be deeply damaging to their constituents.”


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