Cabinet warned not to act like 'swingers hoping for Scarlett Johansson' over Brexit deal

Posted On: 
8th January 2019

MPs hoping for the perfect Brexit deal are like "mid-50s swingers waiting for Scarlett Johansson to turn up", Michael Gove has warned the Cabinet.

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Environment Secretary spoke out as Theresa May's top team discussed the progress of the Government's preparations for a no-deal departure from the EU.

Downing Street is bracing itself for a resounding defeat when the Prime Minister's deal is put to the Commons next Tuesday, with critics claiming it will leave the UK too closely tied to Europe and forced to accept rules with no say in how they are drawn up.

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With the 29 March Brexit day less than three months away, that would dramatically increase the chances of the UK quitting the bloc without a withdrawal agreement in place.

During the Cabinet discussion, Mr Gove - who was a prominent Leave campaigner during the referendum - said MPs waiting for the perfect Brexit were "like mid-50s swingers waiting for Scarlett Johansson to turn up".

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd then remarked "or Pierce Brosnan", before Justice Secretary David Gauke said "or Scarlet Johansson on a unicorn".

Ms Rudd told her colleagues that "history will take a dim view of a Cabinet that presses ahead with no deal".

She added: "We have to face world in which we find it, not as we wish it to be and we have to deal with the facts as we find them."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid pointed out that a no-deal Brexit would mean that the UK was no longer covered by the Dublin Regulation, which governs which EU country is rsponsible for processing migrants' asylum claims.

In response, Ms Rudd said: "More than ever we need to find the centre, reach across the House and find a majority for what will be agreed. Anything will need legislation. 

"I want us to proceed with Brexit, I want to find the will of the House."

MPs will begin debating Mrs May's Brexit deal for the second time tomorrow, despite the Prime Minister failing to come up details of any new concessions she has managed to wring out of the EU.

Speaking after Cabinet, her spokesman said: "She believes that the deal delivers on the referendum while protecting jobs and security in the United Kingdom.

"She believes that the only way to avoid no deal and to remove the risk of no Brexit is to support her deal and that is what she is seeking to persuade her colleagues to back."