After two long years of Brexit wrangling, Theresa May is preparing to publish her proposed deal with the EU. But before the document detailing the deal has even been released, many arch Brexiteers are commenting on it – before they’ve seen even it.
In their attempts to shape the narrative before the Government gets a chance, a flurry of interviews and social media posts appeared last night lambasting May’s deal from key figures who campaigned to leave the EU.
Here’s what they said:
The former foreign secretary and fierce critic of May’s Brexit strategy unsurprisingly had few warm words for the deal.
Boris Johnson told Sky News last night: “This is just about as bad is it could possibly be.”
He added: “The kicker is we haven’t even really managed to protect the union between Great Britain and Ireland.
“So effectively you’d be in a position where the government in Dublin for the first since forever would have more say over some matters in the government in Northern Ireland than the government in London.”
He also told journalists he wanted to see cabinet resignations over night, calling for ministers to “get tough”.
Johnson’s words weren’t the harshest of all last night. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the darling of the euro-sceptic European Research Group, called for cabinet resignations because the deal failed to live up to the Conservative commitments in their 2017 manifesto.
He said the governments strategy post-chequers had put white flags up all over Whitehall.
He told the BBC: “This is the vassal state, it is a failure of the government’s negotiating position, it is a failure to deliver on Brexit, and it is potentially dividing up the United Kingdom.”
He went even further when he appeared on BBC’s Newsnight programme last night when he said: “There comes a point at which the policy and the individual become so intimately connected that it would be very hard to carry on supporting the person who is promoting this policy.”
To the surprise of no one, Nigel Farage was unhappy with the proposed deal saying “nothing had been achieved”.
On Wednesday morning he called for a protest outside Downing Street at 1pm organised by the Brexit pressure group Leave Means Leave.
He didn’t mince words with on Good Morning Britain, when he told them: “Well this is the worst deal in history, we’re giving away in excess of £40 billion pounds in return for precisely nothing.”
Ian Duncan Smith
The former leader of the Tory Party and euro-sceptic Iain Duncan Smith is viewed as vital to ensuring support from the wider party outside of May’s cabinet.
He was seen entering number 10 this morning presumably to discuss the deal with the Prime Minister, but he said last night that if she went ahead with the current deal that her “days were numbered”
Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds – The DUP
Much of the criticism around the deal is the trading arrangements between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and how that will look once we leave the EU.
With the DUP playing such a pivotal role in propping up the Conservative minority government, all eyes are on Arlene Foster and the parties leader in Westminster Nigel Dodds.
Foster has so far been reserved in her response, she told Sky News she would not vote for a deal that “cast adrift” Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.
So far Dodds hasn’t commented directly on the deal, but he has been retweeting various people’s negative opinions on the issue.
One of the retweets, by Tim Shipman, said: “For 22 months Theresa May has argued that no deal is better than a bad deal. Today her argument is that a bad deal is better than no deal.”
The former Brexit secretary who resigned around the same time as Johnson, has been outspoken in the favour of a harder Brexit free from the customs union. David Davis also said several times he believes a no-deal Brexit would not be as bad as people are making out.
He shared his thoughts on Twitter last night saying now was the “moment of truth” and that the government faced a “fork in the road” between “independence” or “imprisonment”, and call for Conservative MPs to stand up for what they believe in.
Of the people who could resign from the cabinet, the International Development Secretary is high on the list. So far Penny Mordaunt has remained silent on the the deal, and has not heeded Johnsons call for resignations from the cabinet over night, but she is definitely one to watch.
Another one of the key ones to watch, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey along with Mordaunt were two high profile ministers not to have a one to one with the Prime Minister last night. McVey hasn’t commented so far, but is well known for supporting a harder Brexit
HuffPost political editor Paul Waugh speculated this morning McVey may be happy for the excuse to resign so she can get herself out of the mess that is Universal Credit.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, the prominent Euro-sceptic told ITV when she was doorstep this morning she was confident on getting a good deal and that a “huge amount of effort going on”.
However, she did tell the BBC on Sunday that the UK must not be “held against its will” in any backstop agreement of the Irish boarder.