27 February 2019

Like ferrets in a sack

The Times reports:
In one of the most rancorous cabinet meetings of recent times Mrs May yesterday reluctantly and in a “testy” manner presented ministers with her plans to offer MPs the chance to vote on March 14 to delay Brexit day, according to a source. She suggested “several times” that she did not see the need for a delay, as she had done the previous day in public, even as she set out her plans to allow MPs to vote for one.
“She did not seem to like her own plan and appeared sympathetic to those of us who suggested it was a bad idea,” said one cabinet member. Michael Gove, the Brexiteer environment secretary, asked whether the vote to delay Brexit day from March 29 would be a whipped vote but she did not give a conclusive answer.
Liz Truss rounded on “kamikaze” colleagues who she claimed had undermined the prime minister’s Brexit negotiations, in often heated exchanges. She and Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, were the two most vociferous critics of the trio.
Ms Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, took on leading cabinet Remainers, including her boss Philip Hammond, in a two-and-a-half hour cabinet meeting which confirmed the bitter divisions at the top of government that are continuing to impede progress on Brexit. “Andrea was visibly quite upset at what happened,” said one. The Commons leader had suggested that the cabinet was losing credibility with the back benches and damaging the credibility of the party.
Once upon a time, the cabinet was expected to exhibit collective responsibility.  Like so much else, such a quaint notion seems to have evaporated in the Brexit mists.