Liam Fox making friends and trolling lefties:
“The United Kingdom, is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not need to bury its 20th century history in a pan-European project”.
Liam Byrne is having some fun via the medium of written questions:
Liam Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many times Mr Adam Werritty has been received on his Department’s premises at his behest since he took office.
Greg Hands: None.
At a cost of £165 to the taxpayer per question, worth a shot?
The Fleet Street Fox – or as we should now call her “Mrs Flapjack” – wrote these words six months ago today in The New European. Liam Fox has bested the Fleet Street Fox. With Johnson, Davis and Fox all still in office unscathed, her invitation is now operative…
David Davis has insisted EU citizens will not be used as a bargaining chip after Liam Fox described their right to remain in the UK as “one of our main cards”. Davis told tonight’s Spectator fringe that he is “100% sure” all EU citizens currently in Britain will be allowed to stay, there will be no deportations, and it will be the first issue dealt with during the negotiation.
“It’s a legal right. If you’ve been here five years you have an indefinite leave to remain anyway… if people have been here two and a half years, by the time we leave they’ll have been here five years so there’s no risk.
We have no intention of deporting people or setting about treating people who through no fault of their own are here during a transition. But what we have to do is we have to also keep in mind the rights of British citizens abroad. So we’ll fix the whole thing together and I am absolutely 100% sure we’ll be able to do that and there will be no difficulty for anybody…
If we take the whole thing together, there’ll be nobody taken hostage, nobody used as a bargaining chip. I suspect it’ll be the first thing on the agenda when we actually start the discussion.”
Sensible words after the Lobby got all excited about Fox earlier.
Good to see Dr. Fox already getting to grips with the new job…
UPDATE: A spokesman for Liam Fox gets in touch:
“This sign was not put up by Dr Fox or his staff but obviously by someone having a laugh. It is nice to see that people around Parliament have a good sense of humour.”
Theresa May won 165 votes yesterday but has only 118 supporters publicly declared. This means she has around 50 spare backers whom her rivals fear she will employ tactically in order to guarantee her preferred opponent makes the ballot. Naturally Team TM deny they will gerrymander the vote.
Two Fox supporters – David Nuttall and Edward Leigh – have publicly jumped over to Leadsom. Another – Robert Syms – has gone to May. Gove will be working hard stressing his liberal credentials to Crabb backers. The bookies are now offering near enough the same odds for a May-Gove ballot as a May-Leadsom…
Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May were tied in ConservativeHome‘s most recent self-selecting leadership poll. While Leadsom has largely replaced Boris in the previous week’s poll, Gove lags, just ahead of Fox (previously tied with Leadsom for third) into fifth place. Guido suspects the next leader of the Tories is going to be a woman…
A source close to Liam Fox tells Guido he will announce his leadership bid tomorrow. This comes after speculation he was in talks with Theresa May, which is denied by both sides. Of course this could be some snakes and ladders in the hope of being offered a top Cabinet post. But the plan right now is that Fox for leader will launch tomorrow…
Leave message: Liam Fox says EU migration causes intense pressure on housing.
Remain message: Patrick Stewart doesn’t want postwar Europe to unravel.
Cut through: Corbyn finally joins the In campaign, mixed results.
Odds: Remain 1/3, Leave between 11/4
Latest poll: Remain 41%, Leave 41% (YouGov, online). Poll of Polls is now Remain 51%, Leave 49%.
Before Govians get too excited Guido should of course caveat that this is what Mike Smithson calls a “voodoo poll“, a self-selecting unweighted poll of readers. It does still show a clear trend; Remainers are down, Leavers are up.
Priti Patel is equal in popularity to Osborne as far as ConHomies are concerned (20 to 1 if you feel lucky). After the disappointment with Saj (7%), many on the right who don’t trust Boris and think Fox is past it are increasingly thinking about the merits of Priti. One to watch…
The French interior minister last year rubbished the idea promoted by Cameron today that France might tear up their agreement with Britain on border controls if we left the EU. Bernard Cazeneuve said:
“Calling for the border with the English to be opened is not a responsible solution. It would send a signal to people smugglers and would lead migrants to flow to Calais in far greater numbers. A humanitarian disaster would ensue. It is a foolhardy path, and one the government will not pursue. On the contrary, we’re going to make the border even more watertight to dissuade smugglers and migrants, respect international rules and reduce the pressure on Calais.”
On Wato, Liam Fox demolished the idea that the French would end arrangements with Britain, accusing Cameron and Damian Green of “misquoting” the French interior minister. Looking at the verbatim quote from Cazeneuve, it would certainly appear the PM and fellow Inners are not reasonably representing the position of their French counterparts…
Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:
“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”
A co-conspirator tucking into his ravioli in Westminster’s Quirinale restaurant looked up to see Theresa May and Liam Fox settling down to lunch. An hour earlier Fox had asked the Home Secretary for assurances over the government’s line on Russia, so you can bet that was on the menu. Though the main topic for discussion will almost certainly have been Europe.
There has been speculation that May has been meeting with leading Eurosceptics as she keeps her options open ahead of the referendum. Where better for Dr Fox to lobby her to lead the Out campaign than one of the pricier Italian restaurants in SW1? It’s not the first time Theresa and the good doctor have had a very public lunch…
“Why don’t we see Stop the War’s anti-beheading marches, the anti-mass rape marches or the anti-crucifixion marches? Why no anti-Isis campaign?”
Not an unreasonable question…
Did somebody call for a Doctor? Liam Fox has slapped down the PM over any plan to enforce collective responsibility during the referendum. Speaking at the IEA, Fox told Guido that ministers must be allowed to campaign “without restrictions” and that attempts to “restrict the debate” will be “unsuccessful” and “unwise“.
“Enormous pressures will be unleashed when the referendum begins and I think that many of those who were never in government or in parliament during the Maastricht debate don’t quite understand the passions that will emerge. We will have to continue to govern this country after the European referendum. How easy or how difficult that is will largely be dependent on how well we treat one another in the run up to that referendum and during that referendum. Any elements that introduce bad feeling or concepts of bad faith into that process will make the latter period much more difficult. So perhaps we should be thinking just a little more strategically on that point.”
Threatening the likes of Grayling, Gove, Villiers and Whitto with the sack probably comes under “bad feeling and bad faith”…
If Cameron pushed through HRA reform today he would be accused of rushing it by critics. Just as his fast-tracking of the EU referendum bill has irritated others. Here’s Liam Fox accusing No. 10 of not being ‘entirely honourable’:
“Those who are urging him to go for a referendum in 2016, I think, have ulterior motives which are not entirely honourable. I think they want to see a decision made quickly to limit the level of debate in the United Kingdom; I think that they are afraid that if we have a very full debate then some of the real unacceptable issues in Europe at the present time will become all the more clearly seen by the British public.”
After years of demanding a referendum, suddenly on the cusp of one, there is a dawning realisation amongst eurosceptics that they will in all likelihood lose…
Was a deal was done between Theresa May and Liam Fox yesterday afternoon over their long lunch in a brightly lit corner of Westminster’s Osteria Dell’Angolo / ‘Tavern on the Corner’? The Standard says yes:
“Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has met Theresa May to discuss backing her in a future Tory leadership contest, it emerged today. The Standard understands Dr Fox is willing to support the Home Secretary in a bid to stop Mayor Boris Johnson winning the Conservative crown.”
If there is a kernel of truth to this latest bout of May-nia, was it the wisest choice of location for a quick round of Game of Thrones? Carving out a future frontbench in the middle of the only Westminster in vogue, looks a little bit tacky. It’s almost as if they wanted the throng of journalists that frequent the establishment every lunch time to clock it…