The memo was allegedly published on November 7, titled “Brexit Update,” and written by an “unnamed consultant.”
The contents of the memo seem pretty damning. Here are some of the key points:
- Brexit is going to cost the government a lot of money — The memo says ” individual departments have been busily developing their projects to implement Brexit, resulting in well over 500 projects, which are beyond the capacity and capability of government to execute quickly.” The memo adds that the government could “need to hire 30,000 extra civil servants.”
- There is no common Brexit strategy — The memo says that this is “because of divisions within the cabinet.” In other words, there is no agreement, so therefore no overall strategy.
- The division in the cabinet is clear — The memo identifies the “three Brexiteers” — Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox — on one side of the argument and Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark on the other.
- It is critical of May’s governing power — The memo says that May cannot continue to “[draw] in decisions and details to settle matters herself.”
- The government also has to prepare for big business arguments — The memo says that “major players” in industry are expected to “point a gun at the government’s head.”
A government spokesperson told The Times and BBC that Downing Street “didn’t recognise” the claims made in the memo.
May installed a mixed cabinet of Brexit supporters and Remain campaigners when she took over from her predecessor David Cameron in July. She then promised that “Brexit means Brexit” and that she would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.
However, her Brexit plight has been fraught with reports of in-fighting in her cabinet, allegations of which are now being supported again by the leaked memo, and a court case that changes the way in which she can start the Brexit process.
At the beginning of November, London’s High Court gave a clear and legal way for parliament to block May from triggering Article 50, thereby stopping the two-year negotiation process for a Brexit.
As it stands, May must get parliamentary approval before invoking Article 50. The government confirmed that it will be appealing the decision, which means the case will be transferred to the Supreme Court in December this year. It will be the first time the Supreme Court sits in full since its establishment in 2009.
Meanwhile, Brexiteer Boris Johnson is allegedly causing upset after he decided to snub an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers, despite Britain-EU relations growing frosty as crucial Brexit negotiations approach.
The UK foreign secretary was invited to attend a meeting of his European counterparts on Sunday night, to discuss the shock election of Donald Trump and the implications it could have for the 28-nation bloc.
However, Johnson didn’t attend the meeting because he didn’t deem it necessary. The former London mayor called for an end to the “collective whinge-o-rama” and suggested the election of Trump would be a positive thing.
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