Raab’s Moses Moment

Dom Raab: “We will do nothing that would draw a customs border down the Red Sea. Irish Sea. Irish Sea.”

Sammy Wilson: “You can draw as many borders down the Red Sea as you want…”

Give him a chance, he’s only been in the job a few days…

No.10 Block Jacko From Staying at Dexeu

Scoop from Patrick O’Flynn: Number 10 has blocked the reappointment of David Davis’ former chief of staff Stewart Jackson as Dominic Raab’s SpAd at Dexeu:

Confirmed by Jacko’s wife Sarah O’Grady:

This is going down very badly in the Commons tea room. Brexiteers not welcome…

Government Remainers Mock DD For Crying Wolf

Remainers in the government are now openly briefing that David Davis does not have the balls to resign and will accept an Olly Robbins fudge:

Attention too on Steve Baker and Suella Braverman in Dexeu. Hard to see how they can stay without looking ridiculous unless Number 10 climbs down…

Corbynista Dexeu Mandarin Out

Guido hears senior Dexeu mandarin Mike Hatchett is out. Hatchett joined a year ago in an eye-raising hire from Jeremy Corbyn’s office, where he was Jezza’s economics policy chief before apparently becoming “disillusioned”. He has now been placed on gardening leave at Dexeu. Insiders say he did not exactly wow colleagues with his expertise. A Dexeu spokesman says:

“Mike Hatchett works for DExEU as a middle-ranking civil servant. In line with policy, he has informed us that he wishes to take up a new role outside of Government. Under the Government Business Appointment rules we have reached an agreement with Mr Hatchett and placed a series of conditions regarding this appointment, which he and his future employer are aware of, as per the usual protocols of this policy.”

Hatchett previously worked at the Treasury and enjoyed a similar cushy taxpayer-funded departure there as well. Nice short-term work if you can get it…

UPDATE: Hatchett has gone back to Labour to run policy under Andrew Fisher.

Civil Servants Kept Forecasts From Ministers

Brexit minister Steve Baker reveals he saw the Treasury / Cabinet Office document for the first time this morning, and that David Davis only saw it last night. Despite some pro-Remain journalists claiming it was nothing to do with the Treasury and all the work of DD. Now pretty clear this is civil servants acting against ministers – and voters – and trying to stitch things up in private…

EU: “Confidentiality Necessary to Protect Our Interests”

Sir Keir Starmer boarded the outrage bus to the Today programme studios this morning to accuse David Davis of contempt for not releasing unredacted versions of the government’s Brexit impact assessments. Do Labour really think this would help Britain’s negotiating position? They should take a look at how the EU handles such sensitive information on its own side. This is from the European Commission’s “Transparency in EU trade negotiations” document – it makes clear the EU would never release information that could undermine its position during a negotiation.

“A certain level of confidentiality is necessary to protect EU interests and to keep chances for a satisfactory outcome high. When entering into a game, no-one starts by revealing his entire strategy to his counterpart from the outset: this is also the case for the EU.”

Sir Keir says he only wants DExEU to hand the assessments over to the Brexit select committee for them to decide what should be published, and therefore this would not undermine our negotiating position. Well given Hilary Benn’s committee (presumably Seema Malhotra) has leaked DD’s letter to the Mirror before they even discussed it or published it on their website, that doesn’t bode well for the security of information handed to the committee. The Remainers on the committee clearly can’t be trusted not to leak the unredacted documents. Handing them sensitive information would be mad…

Steve Baker ‘Minister For No Deal’

The government has just announced publicly for the first time that DExEU minister Steve Baker has been given responsibility for “contingency planning”. DExEU sources say he has held the brief since the start of his appointment but this is the first time it has been confirmed.

He is essentially the ‘Minister for No Deal’ that Brexiters have been calling for. Baker is a true believer – positive news which the government clearly hopes will reassure Brexiteers after this week’s skirmishes…

DExEU Head of Trade Leaving

First Olly Robbins this morning, now Guido can report another DExEU departure: Antony Phillipson, a career civil servant who was the Director of Trade and Partnerships in the Brexit department and described as a key player in deciding what kind of trade deals Brexit creates. Guido understands Phillipson is moving to New York to become Consul General. He has been a civil servant since 1993 so this is being seen as a promotion and natural civil service progression. Two senior departures today…

Tory Concern at Brexit Department Mayhem

When May became PM one of her more sensible appointments was putting staunch Leaver David Jones in the Brexit department. The move allayed concerns among Leavers that May would sell out on Brexit. She has now decided to sack Jones, a knowledgable and competent minister, after just 11 months in the job. He has been replaced by Baroness Anelay, a Remainer…

George Bridges, Brexit minister in the Lords, was widely respected by all sides and quickly gained a reputation as one of the most impressive ministers in the government. He has also now left DexEU. 

This is all going down really badly among Tory Leavers:

“One suspects the table banging would have gone on for a lot less than 25 seconds had she had the guts to complete her reshuffle before going to the 1922.”

Another notes:

“An almost whole new Brexit team. What was that about needing stability because negotiations started 11 days after the election?” 

A pertinent point. Why is May taking the axe to her Brexit team just days before the negotiations start? 

Seen Elsewhere



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Quote of the Day

Boris as Hulk…

‘Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.’

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