Up­beat Dr Fox’s lot were as breezy as Aber­dovey beach

Daily Mail - - Life -

OUr text for the day is St Luke’s Gospel, chap­ter XV, verse vii: ‘Joy shall be in heaven over one re­moaner that re­pen­teth, more than over ninety and nine Leave per­sons, which need no re­pen­tance.’

Theresa May did not quite man­age it in her LBC in­ter­view on Tues­day when she swerved a hy­po­thet­i­cal ques­tion about how she would vote again in an EU ref­er­en­dum. But In­ter­na­tional Trade min­is­ter Mark Garnier made up for that in the Com­mons yes­ter­day.

Mr Garnier did a mag­nif­i­cent grovel – a loop-the-loop of re­verse fer­rets – about how he got it wrong as a re­main sup­porter last year.

It came dur­ing morn­ing ques­tions, when Mr Garnier and his boss Liam Fox and col­league Greg Hands were be­ing quizzed about in­ter­na­tional trade prepa­ra­tions post-Brexit. at this point, had they been Trea­sury min­is­ters toil­ing un­der that Dick­en­sian hand­wringer Philip Ham­mond, the three men would have shriv­elled, shrunk into the shad­ows, wrung their hands and wailed that it was all ter­ri­bly ‘com­plex’.

Not so the In­ter­na­tional Trade lot un­der Dr Fox. They are com­mend­ably up­beat, as breezy as an af­ter­noon on aber­dovey beach.

Should Monty Python ever re­make The Life of Brian, Messrs Fox, Garnier and Hands would be well-placed to play the chaps on crosses singing al­ways Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

The House was dis­cussing the car in­dus­try. Chris Wil­liamson (Lab, Derby N), a ca­dav­er­ous mis­ery, droned that work­ers in Der­byshire might lose their jobs if Toy­ota re­lo­cated ow­ing to ‘ the Gov­ern­ment’s botched Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions’.

Noth­ing like ex­press­ing a vote of con­fi­dence in your lo­cal em­ploy­ers, is there, Wil­liamson?

Mr Garnier was markedly more chip­per. He praised Toy­ota for its £240mil­lion in­vest­ment in a fac­tory at Bur­nas­ton, noted that the Gov­ern­ment had sup­ported that with £12.5mil­lion, and pointed out that the EU exports twice as many cars to us as we cur­rently ex­port to the EU.

In other words, Brus­sels would be mad to play silly beg­gars.

‘We have a great op­por­tu­nity,’ agreed Mr Garnier, after Labour Euroscep­tic Kelvin Hop­kins (Lu­ton N), re­ported that Nis­san hopes to ex­pand its pro­duc­tion in Bri­tain by 20 per cent.

‘What we have to of­fer is fan­tas­tic,’ tooted Mr Garnier, ‘and I am an unashamed pa­triot when it comes to our great exports.

‘It is the duty of ev­ery­one in the house to sup­port all those busi- nesses.’ Talk­ing about for­eign direct in­vest­ment, Mr Garnier shook out his lus­trous grey locks and said ‘we have seen some truly amazing num­bers com­ing in, a record num­ber of in­ward in­vest­ment projects; 158,000 jobs have been cre­ated and a fur­ther 66,000 safe­guarded by for­eign direct in­vest­ment.’

Barry Sheer­man (Lab) still moaned about ‘ the folly of Brexit’ and said he had not met a sin­gle busi­ness­man in Hud­der­s­field or Leeds – not a sin­gle one! – who did not want to re­main in the EU.

Mr Garnier: ‘I was a re­mainer, but we have to up­hold the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple of democ­racy and it is the job of all of us in Gov­ern­ment to do our level best to em­brace the op­por­tu­ni­ties.’

Has he ever met Philip Ham­mond? By now Mr Garnier was rhap­so­dis­ing about ‘ fan­tas­tic’ Scotch whisky, beer and other hot and cold Bri­tish bev­er­ages, as we rail­way trav­el­ling-buf­fet op­er­a­tives like to say.

a brief in­ter­ven­tion from Sir Vince Ca­ble, not-so-gay leader of the Il­lib­eral Democrats, barely reg­is­tered on Mr Garnier bounceome­ter. and then Stephen Crabb (Con, Pre­seli) men­tioned Is­rael, and Mr Garnier achieved near liftoff about our mer­can­tile prospects.

‘Doom-mon­gers like me who dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum were part of the Project Fear cam­paign have been proved wrong,’ he ul­u­lated. ‘It is im­por­tant that we stand up and say that we did not get this right. and that is in­cred­i­bly good news for both Bri­tain and our in­di­vid­ual con­stituen­cies!!!’

Cheers rang forth as this cham­pion rooter, this bea­con of zeal, re­sumed his seat.

as he did so, Dr Fox leaned into his ear and (bring­ing us to St Luke) mur­mured: ‘We al­ways wel­come re­pen­tant sin­ners.’

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