This morning Paul noted the departure of David Jones, a Brexiteer, from the Department for Exiting the European Union. Given that the newspapers have been “bristling with stories of Cabinet-level plots to water down the manifesto position on Brexit and keep Britain as a Single Market member and in the customs union” it was scarcely a reassuring signal.
However, the news this afternoon of the appointment of Steve Baker as Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the EU should go some way to calming Brexiteer nerves. Indeed the initial reaction on Twitter his that it has already done so.
Cynics will suggest that it is a cunning ploy to prevent Baker building up pressure on the backbenches. He has played a formidable role in the past in this respect. He was the Tory MP who had charge of Conservatives for Britain’s drive on purdah – which may well have been crucial to the referendum result.
Yet precisely because of these credentials it is hard to envisage he would endorse any deal other than a “clean” Brexit.
So some welcome rebalancing.
As he tweeted this morning:
“The language of “hard” vs “soft” Brexit is so misleading. We need a good, clean exit which minimises disruption and maximises opportunity. In other words, we need the “softest” exit consistent with actually leaving and controlling laws, money, borders and trade and that means delivering on the whitepaper so @tradegovuk can get on with improving UK and global trade.”