Baroness U-turn who’s be­sot­ted with Brussels

Daily Mail - - News - By Guy Adams

PA­TIENCE Wheatcroft is a for­mer news­pa­per ed­i­tor who made her name in the early Nineties writing Euroscep­tic ar­ti­cles and flat­ter­ing pro­files of City fat-cats.

As City Ed­i­tor of The Times from the mid1990s, she was a close con­fi­dante of the pa­per’s Euroscep­tic pro­pri­etor Ru­pert Mur­doch and a vig­or­ous op­po­nent of Bri­tain join­ing the Euro.

Later she be­came ed­i­tor of the Sun­day Tele­graph, main­tain­ing its anti-Brussels line, be­fore re­turn­ing to Mur­doch to edit the Euro­pean edi­tion of his Wall Street Jour­nal.

Over the years, her sto­ries about the EU were pep­pered with words such as ‘far­rago’ and ‘mis­ery’. In 2012, she wrote: ‘We were never Euro­peans. Ap­pre­ci­at­ing the ad­van­tages of a sin­gle mar­ket­place for our goods and ser­vices did not bring our col­lec­tion of di­verse economies and cultures close to ho­mo­gene­ity.’

How­ever, she then un­der­went a Da­m­a­scene con­ver­sion.

Made a life peer by David Cameron, the 66-year-old cam­paigned against Brexit. Days be­fore the ref­er­en­dum, she warned

the case for Brexit came from the ‘Fawlty Tow­ers School of Eco­nom­ics’, adding that ‘vir­tu­ally every re­spected eco­nomic an­a­lyst’ reck­oned a Leave vote would ‘cre­ate a down­turn in the short and medium term’.

In fact, un­em­ploy­ment has fallen to record lows, while busi­ness is pros­per­ing, with the FTSE 100 in­dex up 30 per cent.

Since the vote, she has played a key role in or­ches­trat­ing a string of Lords ma­noeu­vres not just to soften but, in many cases, sab­o­tage the Brexit process. In a com­ment typ­i­cal of many un­elected lords, she said the ver­dict of 1 mil­lion Leave vot­ers was ‘only ad­vi­sory’ and backed calls a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

The pas­sion­ately pro-Brussels Wheatcroft now chairs the ‘ap­point­ments and over­sights com­mit­tee’ for the pro-Re­main, Ja­pane­se­owned Fi­nan­cial Times. Her posts in­clude work with wealth man­ager St James’s Place Cap­i­tal (which pays her around £60,000 a year), law firm DLA Piper, and a £180,000 part­time job at Fiat Chrysler, the Ital­ian car gi­ant which owns the pro-Re­main Econ­o­mist magazine. Cameron also ap­pointed her to the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s board of trus­tees.

Her views are shared by hus­band Tony Sal­ter, a pub­lisher and for­mer Tory coun­cil­lor so in­censed by Brexit he cam­paigned for the Lib Dems in the Rich­mond by-elec­tion.

To long-stand­ing friends, the cru­sade on be­half of Re­main by this ex-gram­mar school girl and a for­mer avowed Thatcherite is, at best, con­fus­ing.

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