Either send Dominic Raab, with Charlie Elphicke in tow, to take charge of Brexit contingency planning, or shunt up Steve Baker, we advised at the start of the week (when we also recommended moving Philip Hammond from the Treasury, a call since made by the Daily Mail, Nigel Lawson and Fraser Nelson, inter alia).
It will have done this with a heavy heart – for the simple reason that Baker can now expect to face a blizzard of written PQs, FOI requests, and demands for emergency Commons statements.
This largely explains why the DEXU website to date has maintained a discreet silence about departmental responsibilities. But Number Ten recognises, given the pressure for preparations for No Deal, that it had to act.
And now that Baker has been appointed, Downing Street must back him up fully. As an Under-Secretary of State, he will have to negotiate with the Treasury – and the Chancellor. His responsibilities should be exercised at Cabinet level to maximise impact.
The week’s events show that Hammond is reluctant to commit large-scale resources to planning for No Deal now, which is why Theresa May upstaged him by announcing during PMQs that £250 million has already been committed to it. Read Charlie Elphicke and James Arnell on this site about how and why Britain must be Ready on Day One for Brexit.