The man who instigated the Brexit referendum and then said he was “hugely depressed” at the result, has said Boris Johnson’s murky and at times unlawful approach to leaving the EU is “the best thing that could possibly happen”.
Former prime minister David Cameron said he “completely supports” the incumbent’s efforts to get a deal in Europe and take it through the Commons, adding he thought there was a “good chance” of it succeeding.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Saturday, he added: “It is difficult but I think it is far better than a no-deal outcome, which I don’t think is a good outcome and not something I would recommend,” PA Media reports.
He suggested British politics would be “stuck” until Brexit is resolved, telling the festival: “If I can be perfectly frank about this and we can’t get a deal and we can’t all be stuck and I recognise my fair share of the responsibility for that fact we are stuck.
This was just one day after European Union member states agreed the government’s new Brexit proposals “do not provide a basis for concluding an agreement”.
And this came shortly after Johnson contradicted his own lawyers about what he would do in the event of not getting a deal with Brussels by the deadline of October 19 – just two weeks away.
A government legal submission to Scotland’s highest civil court makes clear that the prime minister will comply with the so-called Benn Act to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
But Johnson himself has said there will be no delay to Brexit regardless of whether a deal is reached or not.
Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Jolyon Maugham QC summed up the apparent contradiction, saying: “The prime minister’s playing a very odd game. It’s a very difficult game to understand because I think he told the House of Commons yesterday that we would leave come what may on October 31, and I do not understand how that statement can be reconciled with the promises that he’s made to the court today.
“There is no way to square that circle. And he is going to have to come clean either to parliament or the court.”
At the moment, it is not quite clear how Johnson plans to square that circle, fuelling speculation that he had identified a loophole to get around the Benn Act.
He has also declared he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay.
Meanwhile on Twitter, the PM spent Saturday evening taking a swipe at Jeremy Corbyn...
... which went down well.