If you cast an eye on the present Tory cabinet, there is one individual so far who could emerge as the only credible PM to replace Theresa May whose tenure at 10 Downing Street must surely come to an end before Christmas. If not, the present chaos within the cabinet is bound to get worse as divisions within its ranks seem to accelerate with the passage of time.
Philip Hammond has proven to be the most sensible man to lead the nation now that the Brexit negotiations will reach its most critical stages when cool heads need proper direction, and wise decisions to be taken to ensure that Brexit does not harm the economy and isolate Britain from the rest of Europe.
Any deal with the rest of the world will not fill the gap if the European Free Market is no longer available to us. I believe that Boris Johnson’s behaviour as Foreign Secretary has shown that he is incapable of keeping his mouth in harness and his flippancy on major issues under control. He has become a boisterous figure of fun, rather than a wise politician who can lead the nation, at a time when a joker such as he is better placed as a music hall comic rather than anything else.
Yet a Boris ally, who must think otherwise, is leading a campaign to discredit Hammond’s Brexit plan. Gerald Lyons, a leading City economist writing in the Sunday Telegraph, demands that any transition phase is just two year’s long – a year shorter than outlined by Mr Hammond. And he compares warnings of a Brexit ‘cliff-edge’ for businesses to the hysteria over the millennium bug, which never came to pass. ‘There is alarmist talk of a cliff-edge,’ he writes. ‘It reminds me of the Y2K where computers were apparently going to stop at the millennium. Many of the risks being highlighted about Brexit are perceived risks, not real risks. And a two-year transition would alleviate many concerns.’
The intervention from such a close ally will inevitably fuel speculation that Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, disagrees with elements of Mr Hammond’s Brexit plan. Mr Lyons, who worked for 3 years at City Hall while Mr Johnson was Mayor of London, was said to have played a key role in convincing him to back Brexit. Mr Johnson continued his public silence on the proposal with aides saying he would share any views privately with the Cabinet.
In more signs of concern about the plans, sources from the most powerful Tory Eurosceptic block – the European Research Group – demanded more clarity over Mr Hammond’s proposals. One central figure warned that the transition’s phase must not be ‘a bridge to nowhere’, saying any attempt to water down the final terms of Brexit would trigger revolt.
Now, one can purely say that members of the present administration are each singing a different tune, which does not bode well for any resolution whatsoever that makes Brexit a viable proposition to be embraced by the nation as a whole. The dangers are immense, unless politicians stop squabbling and come to their senses, and stop this perilous game where what matters is clearly not the future prosperity of Britain.