For the hard core on the backbenches, the price of Brexit is not something to parade in publicby Jay Elwes / November 22, 2017 / Leave a comment
It’s a treacherous time for Philip Hammond, for the prime minister and for the entire government. A great show is currently being put on in British politics. A phoney war endures. Britain is standing up to the European Union in its Brexit negotiations and the whole artifice of this government is founded on the notion that it can achieve some sort of Entente Cordiale 2.0 with Michel Barnier. Woe betide the senior government figure who stands up and starts dishing out awkward facts about the strains Brexit is placing on the government’s coffers.
That’s just what the Chancellor did today. On p3 of his speech, he hot-footed it right into very dangerous territory, getting to the point so quickly that the Commons, barely warned up, might have missed it. “We have already invested almost £700m in Brexit preparations,” he told the House, “and today I am setting aside over the next two years another £3bn.”
For the Brexit hard core on his back benches, the price of Brexit is not something to parade in public. The whole thing is meant to be about gains, not losses and certainly not expenditure. Government MPs looked unimpressed at this.
That already gives a total of £3.7bn, to be spent in the coming two years simply to prepare Britain for Brexit—it has nothing to do with the “Divorce Bill” which will come on top of all this. And Hammond went on to say that he stands “ready to allocate further sums if and when needed.”
This, then, is the cost of government business, of shipping David Davi…