All except one of Theresa May’s first Brexit Cabinet were in favour of the EU or its Single Market prior to last year’s Referendum.
Now, all her Cabinet are taking the country on the road to Brexit, even though most of them had previously urged that such an action would cause Britain severe economic damage and put our security at risk.
Of course, in a democracy politicians are allowed to change their minds. But none of the facts about the EU and our membership have changed. And Cabinet members, including the Prime Minister, Mrs May, have not provided any explanation for their ‘change of mind’.
Furthermore, even though they have allowed themselves to change their minds, they adamantly will not allow us, the voters, to change our minds. In responses to all enquiries and complaints, Conservative ministers and MPs have been instructed to give voters the following standard response:
“There must be no attempts to remain inside the European Union, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door, and no second referendum.”
That wasn’t the advice or opinion of most of the current Cabinet ministers before the referendum. This is what they said then:
•THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER
“I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union.”
“Remaining inside the European Union does make us more secure, it does make us more prosperous and it does make us more influential beyond our shores.”
“I believe the case to remain a member of the European Union is strong.”
• PHILIP HAMMOND, CHANCELLOR
“As an historic sceptic about the EU, I believe that, on balance, the benefits of the Single Market with the deal we have got and the unique terms of membership now offered to the UK, mean that we will be safer, stronger and better off if we remain in the EU.”
“So to those who care passionately about Britain’s influence in the world, I say that our voice will be louder and more persuasive if the United Kingdom votes to remain on June 23.”
• AMBER RUDD, HOME SECRETARY
“I passionately believe it is best for us all and our country if we remain a member of the EU – to take advantage of our special status within the Union giving us access to the world’s largest trading bloc.”
“Leading employers are saying investment and jobs are at risk if we leave Europe. That means future generations deprived of opportunities. It means less financial security for British families. It is just not worth the risk.”
• MICHAEL FALLON, DEFENCE SECRETARY (RESIGNED)
“When Russia annexed Crimea, it was only through the EU that we were able to impose sanctions; NATO couldn’t do that. And it is only through British leadership that the EU continues those sanctions today. Make no mistake – a vote to Leave would be payday for Putin.
“Like it or not, the EU is now part of the collective security of the West. If Britain – its largest defence spender – left, the EU would be smaller and weaker. That would undoubtedly be welcomed by Britain’s enemies around the world. No ally, no partner, no Commonwealth country wants us to leave.”
• LIZ TRUSS, CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY*
“I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or permit to work in Europe; or where they are hampered from growing a business because of extortionate call costs and barriers to trade.”
“Every parent wants their children to grow up in a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and thriving natural wonders. Being part of the EU helps protect these precious resources and spaces.”
*She attends Cabinet but is no longer a Cabinet minister.
• JEREMY HUNT, HEALTH SECRETARY
“Leaving EU is not ‘taking back control’ it is surrendering control to a huge bloc on our doorstep.”
“I want Britain’s voice to be strong in the world and believe we will be better off and more secure by remaining in the European Union.”
• JUSTINE GREENING, EDUCATION SECRETARY
”Staying in the EU is smart diplomacy and smart economics.
“Smart economics because we keep access to the European free trade area we call the single market. A single market of 500 million people, and we keep a say over the rules of doing business across Europe. That means more jobs, lower prices, and more financial security for British families.
“And it’s smart diplomacy because we can influence more widely by staying within the EU. As President Obama said, this amplifies Britain’s influence.”
• KAREN BRADLEY, CULTURE SECRETARY
“I want a strong UK economy to pay for the public services we all need, and our economy is undoubtedly stronger in the EU. The simple truth is that by leaving the European single market, Britain becomes less attractive to business investment.”
“If you want a stronger, safer, better off Britain, then the positive choice is to vote Remain.”
• DAMIAN GREEN, MINISTER FOR THE CABINET OFFICE
“Those who want to pull us out of Europe and end free movement should be careful what they wish for. We would lose our access to the world’s largest free trade area, the single market, costing us jobs and pushing up prices. We would compromise opportunities for British citizens to work, study, travel, and retire freely in Europe.”
“Plenty of experts agree that being outside the single market would be the main reason why leaving the EU would cause huge economic damage.”
• SAJID JAVID, COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
“If we leave the EU, small firms are on the front line and that’s a gamble with people’s livelihoods I’m not willing to take. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Let’s not break that backbone with a leap into the dark.”
“Inside the single market we can guarantee continued growth in employment, greater opportunities for our young people, higher investment in our public services and new trade agreements with the world’s global powers.”
• JAMES BROKENSHIRE, N. IRELAND SECRETARY
“Our access to the European Arrest Warrant has allowed us to deport 6,500 European criminals since 2010 – that’s 130 times the number of criminals Vote Leave have identified. If we left the EU, we could no longer use the European Arrest Warrant. That’s just one of the reasons we are safer inside the EU.”
• ALUN CAIRNS, WELSH SECRETARY
“The decision we make on June 23 will affect our prospects for years to come. We have a choice between voting Remain to deliver jobs, investment and growth in our economy. Or we can vote Leave and face the very real prospect of recession.”
• DAVID MUNDELL, SCOTTISH SECRETARY
“Our access to the single market of 500 million people reduces costs for Scottish businesses by removing barriers to an export market, currently worth around £11.6 billion. It secures jobs. The Wilson Review of Support for Scottish Exporting, concluded that over 330,000 jobs in Scotland depend on EU trade.”
“The benefits which Scotland and the rest of the UK gains from EU membership are clear. Stepping away from the EU would be a backwards step.”
• PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN, CONSERVATIVE CHAIRMAN
“One of the things that has shocked me is the way in which people have been dismissive of the single market. Several of those who think we should come out [of the EU] have been saying the single market doesn’t matter. It does matter. It is just vast. It has made the United Kingdom a magnet for investment.”
“We are the world’s fifth largest economy. We’ve been in the European Union for the last 35 years so it hasn’t held us back, it’s actually helped us. That’s one of the things that I think are of vital importance.”
• DAVID LIDINGTON, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR JUSTICE
“I shall vote to remain because our country is better off, safer and stronger in the world because of our EU membership.”
“As part of the single market, we’ve attracted the lion’s share of foreign investment into Europe: every day, foreign companies invest £142 million here. American and Japanese companies tell me that if we quit, we cannot expect that investment or those jobs in future.
“Outside the EU, British firms would still have to conform to EU trade rules to do business there. At present we win 9 out of 10 votes on those rules. Leave, and there’ll be no British voice or vote.”
• GREG CLARK, BUSINESS, ENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
“I believe that we have a brighter future as a leading part of Europe than out of it. For me it comes down to our national interest. We are a trading nation. Nearly half of all our exports go to countries in the European Union – the biggest free-trade zone in the world.”
Even most of those who attend Mrs May’s Cabinet who campaigned for Leave in last year’s Referendum had previously supported membership of the EU Single Market, according to new research published in October by Open Britain.
• BORIS JOHNSON, FOREIGN SECRETARY
Mr Johnson previously said “what most people in this country want is the Single Market”, and he would personally vote to remain a member of it.
He told the BBC Andrew Marr Show in 2012: ″We would like a new relationship. And it’s very simple – what most people in this country want is the Single Market, the Common Market.”
• DAVID DAVIS, BREXIT SECRETARY
In 1995, the Brexit Secretary called the single market “one of our country’s greatest successes” in Parliament, and previously described the European Economic Area (EEA) option as “too good” in a speech 2016.
• LIAM FOX, INTERNATIONAL TRADE SECRETARY
In 1993 the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox said, “Conservative members believe in the Single Market because we believe profoundly in the importance of free trade and we want Europe to be at the centre of a free-trading world.”
In 2005, he said: “The progress of the single market, albeit at much too slow a pace, has been a step in the right direction.”
• ANDREA LEADSOM, LEADER, HOUSE OF COMMONS*
In 2011 she told MPs: “I am a big fan of an expanded Single Market because I genuinely believe that it is in the interests of all EU member states.”
And in 2012, she said: “The UK has been enormously successful in achieving its strategic aims of enlargement and deepening of the single market.”
*Attends Cabinet but is not a member.
• MICHAEL GOVE, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT • PRITI PATEL, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INT. DEVELOPMENT (RESIGNED) • CHRIS GRAYLING, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT
In 2014 all three of them voted for a Government that stated that it is, “the Government’s view that measures which promote growth and jobs in the EU, including measures towards completing the Single Market, are the top priority.”
• BARONESS EVANS, LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS, is the only politician attending cabinet who is not on record as supporting membership of the Single Market.
Of course, politicians can and do change their minds. But if they can change their minds so dramatically, why can’t voters?
Nobody knew what ‘Leave’ truly meant or involved in last year’s Referendum. As we learn more about the consequences of Brexit, why not let ‘the people’ have another vote?
If Brexit is so great, what have our current political masters got to worry about? Or is the real issue that they know the electorate have now seen through the lies and false promises of the Leave campaign, and won’t be fooled again?
• My graphic shows Mrs May’s cabinet after she first became Prime Minister in July last year. Since the election on 8 June, she promoted to her Cabinet Michael Gove as Environment Secretary and David Gauke as Work and Pensions Secretary. Ben Gummer lost his role as Minister of the Cabinet Office when he failed to win back his seat in the general election. Michael Fallon and Priti Patel resigned.
• The following government ministers, who also attend Cabinet meetings but are not members of the Cabinet, campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU: Jeremy Wright, Attorney General; Gavin Williamson, Chief Whip; Damien Hinds, Minister for Employment, and Brandon Lewis, Immigration Minister.
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