Ex-Number 10 aide Nick Timothy savages Theresa May over Brexit deal ‘capitulation’

Posted On: 
15th November 2018

Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a “capitulation” and proves the Prime Minister never believed Brexit could be a success, her former joint-chief of staff has said.

Nick Timothy and co-chief of staff Fiona Hill quit as Theresa May's top aides after the June 2017 snap election
PA Images

In a scathing attack on the PM and her negotiators, Nick Timothy said voters who backed leaving the European Union in 2016 would find the draft agreement with the EU a “horror show”.

The deal keeps the UK in a customs union with the EU to avoid a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed, while Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market.

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The top adviser, who quit Number 10 following Mrs May's disastrous snap election result in June of last year, wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "The proposal presented to Cabinet is a capitulation.

“Worse, it is a capitulation not only to Brussels, but to the fears of the British negotiators themselves, who have shown by their actions that they never believed Brexit can be a success.

“This includes, I say with the heaviest of hearts, the Prime Minister.

“If you believe people voted for Brexit to control immigration, and you fear it brings only economic downsides, you might consider the draft agreement the least bad outcome for Britain.

“If you believe Brexit can restore surrendered sovereignty, reform our economy and change the country, you will find it a horror show.

The 585-page draft document was last night signed off by Cabinet after a more than five-hour long tussle which the Prime Minister admitted had been “impassioned”.

Speaking outside Downing Street, she said: “This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our Union; or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all.”

However Brexiteer Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey was reported by the Telegraph as on the verge of quitting, after she was shouted down by the chief whip and cabinet secretary after demanding a vote by ministers on the deal.

Mr Timothy said MPs must use their Commons vote on whether to accept the agreement next month to “escape this trap” and suggested they use Britain’s leverage on security to renegotiate a better deal in the four-and-a-half months until the Article 50 deadline expires.

He added that Mrs May had “abandoned” her original Brexit strategy and had failed to meet the Lancaster House tests she set out before triggering Article 50 in March 2017.

And he blasted the concession that Britain could not unilaterally quit the backstop arrangement, designed to keep open the Irish border in the event of no agreement after the transition period.

“We will have surrendered the chance to take control of our laws. And we will be forced to make payments to Brussels for the privilege of our access to the single market,” he said.

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP and supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign Layla Moran MP said of Mr Timothy had “savaged his former boss and has eviscerated her Brexit deal in a single op-ed”.

“Nick Timothy, once famously dubbed her 'brain' has claimed that she never thought Brexit would even succeed,” she said.

“If true, this is a shocking admission and shows that the Prime Minister has wasted two years in an infernal Brexit groundhog day.

"The Prime Minister owes an apology to the 3 million EU citizens in the UK who have faced sleepless nights over their futures. And to all who have already lost contracts and jobs due to the sluggish economy."