Good sense pre­vails as Cabi­net pulls to­gether

Daily Mail - - News -

COM­MENT THANK heav­ens, san­ity has pre­vailed. For weeks the Mail has been im­plor­ing min­is­ters to put an end to the con­stant stream of briefing, counter- briefing and gen­eral bick­er­ing over Brexit pol­icy and unite be­hind their leader in her mis­sion to ne­go­ti­ate the best deal for Bri­tain.

Since the trauma of the gen­eral elec­tion re­sult, the Cabi­net has been frac­tious and di­vided, with some se­nior mem­bers plac­ing petty ri­val­ries and per­sonal am­bi­tion above the over­whelm­ing na­tional in­ter­est.

But now – and none too soon – we have an out­break of com­mon sense. In a very public show of unity Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond, who cam­paigned for Re­main, and Liam Fox, the Cabi­net’s most ardent Euroscep­tic, ex­plained what Bri­tain will look like af­ter Brexit. And they did so with one voice.

In a clear, mea­sured and res­o­lutely op­ti­mistic joint news­pa­per ar­ti­cle, they said un­equiv­o­cally that Bri­tain will leave both the cus­toms union and sin­gle mar­ket in March 2019 – on the same day we for­mally quit the EU.

To re­as­sure busi­ness there will be no ‘cliffedge’, they con­firmed there will be an in­terim pe­riod to smooth the tran­si­tion. But that pe­riod will be strictly time-lim­ited and not ‘a back door’ to stay­ing in the EU.

This is a cru­cial point. Just two weeks ago, Mr Ham­mond sug­gested noth­ing much would change af­ter March 2019 and im­plied that the tran­si­tional pe­riod could last in­def­i­nitely. Yes­ter­day the prospect of our be­ing stuck in this kind of half-in, half-out limbo for years on end was ban­ished.

True, we need more de­tail on how long it will be be­fore we can start forg­ing new trade agree­ments with the wider world. But this is a sem­i­nal mo­ment. If the Gov­ern­ment re­mains united, it could be the be­gin­ning of a great Con­ser­va­tive re­vival.

In a re­mark­able re­ver­sal of re­cent for­tunes, it’s now the Labour move­ment which is hope­lessly di­vided over Europe, with Jeremy Cor­byn des­per­ate to leave and half his MPs des­per­ate to stay.

For­mer for­eign sec­re­tary David Miliband be­came the lat­est big beast to en­ter the fray yes­ter­day, de­scrib­ing Brexit as ‘an un­par­al­leled act of self-harm’ and call­ing for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

Mr Miliband now lives the high life in New York and – with­out any ob­vi­ous em­bar­rass­ment – takes home £460,000 a year for head­ing a char­ity ded­i­cated to al­le­vi­at­ing world poverty. He is the em­bod­i­ment of the en­ti­tled, self-right­eous po­lit­i­cal elite. Why on Earth should any­one lis­ten to his pompous wit­ter­ings?

A re­cent poll by the LSE and Ox­ford Univer­sity con­firmed that even among Re­main vot­ers, the ma­jor­ity now back a clean Brexit. So with their re­lent­less pes­simism and re­dun­dant ar­gu­ments, it’s clear that Mr Miliband and his ilk rep­re­sent only the past.

If they can main­tain vi­sion, dis­ci­pline and above all their new-found unity, it’s the Tories who will shape the fu­ture. THE taxi firm Uber al­ready stands ac­cused of un­eth­i­cal lob­by­ing, avoid­ing taxes and erod­ing work­ers’ rights. Now it has been ex­posed for fail­ing to re­port sex as­saults and other se­ri­ous crimes com­mit­ted by its driv­ers. The com­pany claims it is the vic­tims’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to in­form the po­lice. But if driv­ers pose a di­rect threat to cus­tomers, shouldn’t their em­ployer show some con­cern? Has Uber any con­cept at all of duty of care? EAR­LIER this year, we re­vealed that the aid spend­ing watch­dog had de­nounced as cor­rupt a scheme which pro­vides cash hand­outs to poor vil­lagers in Pak­istan. The scheme is funded to the tune of £420mil­lion by the Bri­tish tax­payer. Now, more of your money is to be spent on a lav­ish din­ner hon­our­ing the Pak­istani MP in charge of the scheme – hosted in Par­lia­ment by Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow, no less. Could there be a more vivid il­lus­tra­tion of the Alice In Won­der­land world of for­eign aid?

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