Members of the older generations will remember the very famous BBC sitcom “Yes, Minister”, which was later followed by the equally hilarious “Yes, Prime Minister”. The authors of that show, screened for the first time in the early 1980s, could not have anticipated Brexit – in those years, the UK was part of what was then known as the European Economic Community, which later morphed into the European Union as we know it today. But the script in this excerpt is quite pertinent to the situation the UK and Europe are experiencing. … [Read more...] about Watch: How ‘Yes, Minister’ anticipated Brexit and UK-EU relations
Brexit yes minister
Don’t worry, it’s only a game,” one of my best friends in politics likes to say when things go wrong at Westminster. It’s a line he’s used to cheer up at least one Prime Minister. But is it true of Brexit? Yes, it’s serious, but remember that Remainers and Brexiteers are also involved in the most high stakes contest of all. And at the end there’s a prize — the winner gets to shape British history. So will it be a second referendum and no EU exit or a shock, sudden break without a deal? Or something else entirely — a deal by a triumphant Theresa May or another election? Right now, we can’t know. Despite the People’s Vote march the odds are still on Brexit going ahead without another referendum. The people voted for it, the Government wants it, the PM says there’s no choice, the leader of the Opposition won’t tell us what he wants, and even if everyone changed their minds (they won’t), there’s not … [Read more...] about Road to Brexit resolution is paved with snakes and ladders
Throughout the protracted, complex Brexit process, ministers have come and then gone, political infighting has threatened to collapse the whole process and loyalties have been tested to the limit. But one man has been a constant, a survivor; a civil servant on whose shoulders the Brexit deal rests.In Whitehall circles, Olly Robbins is a well-known figure and has been for years.He has served four prime ministers, becoming Tony Blair's principal private secretary aged just 31.Since then, through Brown, Cameron and now May he has been the director-general of the civil service, second permanent secretary at the Home Office, permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU and now the prime minister's Europe adviser - a role created just for him, to execute Brexit.Outside Whitehall, civil servants tend to enjoy anonymity - quietly advising and enacting the policies set them by their political masters. It's telling that until Mr Robbins came along, the most well-known British civil … [Read more...] about Who is Olly Robbins, the civil servant on whose shoulders Brexit deal rests?
This weekend Downing Street was said to be getting nervous about the manoeuvres of Penny Mordaunt. The Sunday Times reported that Number 10 had banned the international development secretary from briefing extracts from a speech she was to due to make. In particular, there was said to be concern about the Brexiteer secretary of state's scepticism towards the prime minister’s Chequers deal. On Tuesday, Mordaunt delivered her speech setting out radical plans to privatise a proportion of the £14bn aid budget, effectively reducing the amount of public funds that make up the UK’s 0.7% GDP commitment. Responding for Labour, Kate Osamor said: "This is an outrageous distortion of the country’s overseas development programme. Suggesting that global poverty can be turned into an investment opportunity proves the Tories have run out of serious ideas and can no longer be trusted with the aid budget." Meanwhile, journalists wanted to know, did the international … [Read more...] about Penny Mordaunt makes a bid to have her cake and eat it on Brexit
Theresa May’s former deputy has urged the Conservatives to stop squabbling about Brexit and aim their fire on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party or risk losing power at the next election. Damian Green told The Independent his party’s conference in Birmingham must be the first step in refocusing the party’s goals towards domestic policy that “help people in their daily lives”. The ex-cabinet member, who was one of the prime minister’s closest allies, spoke out as Ms May faced a wall of criticism from her party, with many MPs apparently spooked by what one ex-May aide described as Mr Corbyn’s “populist and clever” performance at Labour conference last week. Three cabinet ministers told The Independent they backed Mr Green’s call for a refocusing, but would not go on record for fear of undermining a prime minister weakened by continuous infighting and backbiting. A number of MPs said they did not think it would be possible to … [Read more...] about Theresa May’s ex-deputy demands Tories stop squabbling about Brexit or risk losing power to Jeremy Corbyn