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Sat, 26 September 2020

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ANALYSIS: For Tory Brexiteers, all the wrong people are cheering

ANALYSIS: For Tory Brexiteers, all the wrong people are cheering
3 min read

Less than half an hour after the Cabinet's deal on Brexit was revealed to the world, the CBI delivered its verdict.

Carolyn Fairbairn, its director general, gave the agreement the thumbs-up.

"Initial signs suggest the proposal is based on the evidence firms have provided on the impact on jobs and living standards," she said. "That is good news – particularly the free trade area for goods, which the CBI and its members have long called for."

This is the same CBI which arch-Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith linked to Nazi appeasement in the Second World War less than a fortnight ago. Their endorsement of the Chequers agreement was not good news for anti-EU wing of the Conservative Party. And there was more to come.

The Institute of Directors, another pro-business lobby group which has been calling for the softest possible Brexit, also gave the deal a cautious welcome.

Director general Stephen Martin hailed the Cabinet's "sensible approach", adding: "Our members have wanted Cabinet to come together and put the interest of the country first, so firms across the UK will see this as a positive step forward."

If this wasn't bad enough for the Leavers' blood pressure, their nemesis Anna Soubry has also broken cover to congratulate the Prime Minister. If she likes it, how can they?



Boris Johnson, who responded in the strongest possible Anglo Saxon terms when told that the business community was worried about Brexit, had apparently agreed with David Cameron on Thursday night that Theresa May's compromise Brexit proposal was "the worst of all worlds".

Yet despite speculation that he could resign over what Theresa May was asking her Cabinet to swallow, the Foreign Secretary - along with the likes of David Davis and Michael Gove - all put their names to the Government's prospectus.

It was also significant that the first Cabinet minister to publicly back the agreement was Business Secretary Greg Clark, another minister who has spoken out against a hard Brexit.



Thus far, there has been no reaction from Johnson, Davis et al. Their silence speaks volumes.

It seems as though by the time the Cabinet sat down to a dinner of whisky and treacle cured Scottish salmon, Oxfordshire beef fillet and marmalade bread and butter pudding, the Brexiteers had been squared off.

Despite the resignation threats and the tough talk about a cavalier UK ruling the waves once free from the strictures of EU membership, those advocating a clean break from Brussels failed to come up with an alternative to the Prime Minister's pragmatic approach.

The verdict on the Cabinet agreement is already in - and for the Brexiteers, the wrong people are cheering.


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