Michael Gove rejects 'fake outrage' over Cabinet peace deal on Brexit

Posted On: 
8th July 2018

Pro-Brexit minister Michael Gove has blasted anti-EU Tories who have attacked Theresa May's Chequers peace deal with her Cabinet.

Michael Gove Michael Gove appeared on the Andrew Marr show this morning
Credit: 
BBC

The Environment Secretary - who has fallen into line behind the Prime Minister since the major breakthrough at the crunch summit - said criticism of the plan amounted to "fake outrage".

He admitted the post-Brexit proposals to align to EU rules on goods and take account of case law from the European Court of Justice was not perfect, but added: "I’m a realist."

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Some Tory backbenchers haved reportedly begun moves to oust the Prime Minister in the wake of the Chequers summit over what they saw as "complete capitulation".

Fuming anti-EU figures from the European Research Group of backbenchers are said to have been sharing a damning analysis by pro-Brexit lawyer Martin Howe QC.

He said the proposals would lead to a "worst-of-all-worlds 'black hole' Brexit" which would leave the UK a "vassal state in the EU’s legal and regulatory tar pit".

But Mr Gove told the BBC Andrew Marr show the "almost Dickensian" analysis "misses the point and is short of the mark".

"How can it be the case that we are stuck in a regulatory tar pit when we can determine not just migration policy but also, in a huge swathe of our economy, we have perfect autonomy?" he asked.

"And also Parliament can decide, if new rules come forward, to reject them."

Mr Gove dismissed the suggestion the UK was asking for "fake sovereignty" as he argued European Court of Justice rulings would no longer automatically apply.

"What you are doing is manufacturing a sense of fake or even mock outrage," he told BBC presenter Mr Marr. "What you are doing is you are affecting that outrage."

He added: "All of the important areas where an independent country chooses to exercise sovereignty Britain will be able to do so, and in so doing will be respecting the referendum result and the mandate we were given."

Asked if the agreement was everything he had hoped for, Mr Gove said: "No, but I’m a realist.

"And one of the things about politics is you mustn’t [do, is] make the perfect the enemy of the good."

Prominent pro-Brexit backbenchers like former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and Leicester MP Andrew Bridgen have come out publicly against the plan.

And ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Telegraph it was “possible that this deal is worse” than a no-deal Brexit.