Good weather to bury bad news?

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Whilst enjoying listening to the county cricket commentaries I watched the news yesterday with half an eye.

Hello – did they really just do that?….

…I thought.

Yes, the government dumped out a plethora of inconvenient announcements just as MPs packed their sandals and beach balls for the summer recess. (What West Wing viewers will know as “Take out the trash day”)

Most remarkably, Theresa May has delayed the repeal of the European Communities Act until 2020. This was the act which effectively took us into the EEC in 1972, as far as UK is concerned. So, delaying its repeal (though arguably necessary given the remarkably laggardly approach to exit negotiations by the government) is a major climbdown for the government. Theresa May has repeatedly said that we’ll be leaving the EU on 29th March 2019. But she now quietly slips out an announcement which means that effectively we’ll still be in the EU – at least covered by EU law – until 2020.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP commented:

One minute the European Communities Act was due to be repealed and the next minute the Tories confirm the UK will be party to the Act until 2020. This hokey cokey approach to key details of Brexit is typical of this Tory Government’s dysfunctional and divided attitude towards negotiations.

Theresa May also sneaked out news of a major government reorganisation. She’s only just promoted Dominic Raab, a great fan of Liberal Democrat Voice, to be Brexit secretary. But now she’s downgrading his department, and putting the Cabinet Office in charge of Brexit negotiations with Olly Robbins, the civil servant who was initially Permanent Secretary at the Brexit department, at the helm.

Tom Brake commented:

Clearly scared of a mutiny, the Prime Minister is finally trying to take the wheel. However, ministers have already jumped ship and May’s Chequers deal has no chance of securing the support of the Commons. The Government is heading from Brexit crisis to Brexit crisis with no land in sight. It is clear that Theresa May is now set to go down with the ship. The only way to escape this ship-wreck is to give the people a life jacket: a final say on the deal and the chance to exit from Brexit.

The government also snuck out these announcements, hoping everyone would be too hot to care:

  • RAF Linton-on-Ouse to close and RAF Scampton to be sold off.
  • Childhood obesity has surged to an all-time high
  • The closure of seven courts
  • Cuts to the free nursery school milk scheme

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • The real scandal is, that with the urgency of ‘Brexit’, why the heck are the MPs having a break at all…

  • Bill le Breton 25th Jul '18 - 10:34am

    David – as Professor Julia Cage, Co-auteur L’information à tout prix (INA), has just tweeted:

    “Macron a décidément un vrai problème avec les médias et les journalistes. En attaquant le soi-disant “pouvoir médiatique”, il alimente le populisme.
    Un vrai démocrate aurait félicité les journalistes pour leur formidable travail d’enquête. Mais Macron est un monarque.”

    Bet that won’t appear on the right hand side / twitter list on this site

  • David Evans 25th Jul '18 - 1:32pm

    Bill, Very true. I find it totally perplexing that so many liberals, who believe in a free, open and fair society, and the importance of every individual, seem to need to believe they are led by super heroes, even as evidence stacks up pointing the other way.

  • Katerina Porter 26th Jul '18 - 9:27am

    What about saying that we would put much effort in dealing with the problems created by the austerity of which some was necessary at the time and some an attack to diminish the state? This will cost money but not doing so has costs now and will cost much more in the future, for instance closing Youth Centers means there is nowhere for boys to go except street corners?

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