Philip Hammond has arguably done more to scupper Brexit than the Lib Dems or Change UK

Philip Hammond has arguably done more to scupper Brexit than the Lib Dems or Change UK

In the past three years there have been two constants in the Conservative Party through the Brexit process and the entire political landscape. Those are Theresa May and Philip Hammond. While this level of stability at the top level of a political party and a Government is sometimes a recipe for success, the last three years have been anything but. A total lack of imagination in policy and approach has left the Conservative Party, Brexit and the country’s reputation in an embarrassing state of disrepair.

When Theresa May was ‘anointed’ into office by MPs rather than party members in July 2016, after David Cameron cowardly resigned when he lost the EU referendum, she set about painting an image of a modern Conservative Party. This initially seemed popular with the public as her ‘big statements’ on reducing inequality and rewarding those individuals who work hard resonated with the public – in direct contrast to the clearly unorganised chaos of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. However, a vital pillar to May’s success was clearly about her delivery of Brexit – something which to this day has failed dismally. Any legacy which she wished to create as a ‘new Margret Thatcher’ will instead be one of failure.

This is in major part because of the approach taken by both the Chancellor, as well as the Prime Minister – both of whom have surrounded themselves with Remainer advisors and civil servants in key positions, who, to the public, are not intent on delivering the Brexit the majority voted for.

The Remain-dominated higher brass only served to reinforce the fatal mistake Theresa May made when she attempted to negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU. She, and those surrounding her, saw the entire process as a means of ‘damage limitation’, in which the UK has the least possible change in its relationship with the EU.

Just last week Philip Hammond said of future customs arrangements that there needs to be as little change as possible. Effectively, he was endorsing and laying the groundwork for a Customs Union/Arrangement – whichever way you spin it, any kind of deal with Labour he can help muster! This is something which couldn’t be further away from the reality of delivering Brexit.

This comes just after the Conservatives have suffered devastating losses in the recent local elections, with the root cause largely coming from a dissatisfaction with the handling of Brexit, and of Theresa May staying as Prime Minister. It seems, despite sky-high numbers of spoilt ballots – totalling over 1,000 in some councils, mostly scrawled with complaints about Brexit being delayed – the Conservative Party leadership is not listening, and continues to plough full speed ahead towards the softest possible Brexit.

As a result, we have seen the Brexit Party continue to rise in the polls for both the impending European election and a future general election. The Brexit Party has now topped the polls with 34% of the vote in a recent YouGov European Election poll – more than double second-placed Labour. Meanwhile the Conservative Party continues to fall, to fifth place on 10% of the vote in that poll.

It appears Theresa May has cocooned herself away from reality. She seems obsessed with passing her Brexit deal – with or without the support of her own Cabinet and the majority of Conservative MPs – at whatever cost to the party and the country. It even looks like she will try and add on a Customs Union in all but name, and perhaps another referendum. By whatever means, she is intent on forcing her deal through Parliament in any shape or form. She seems to believe this is necessary for the Conservative Party to retain any level of electability.

However, many in her own party clearly do not agree with her, and this is likely to dig them further into the grave if they do not deliver a true Brexit for Britain on the global stage.

May’s mentality and isolation from alternatives is only enhanced and encouraged by Philip Hammond. He is a man who has been so evidently anti-Brexit from the beginning, he barely attempts to hide his disdain anymore. Only last month he endorsed a second referendum as a legitimate prospect and idea! The Chancellor has continually pushed for the softest possible Brexit and has done all he can to push back against the idea of a no-deal Brexit, arguably doing more to damage Brexit as a whole than the Lib Dems and Change UK could ever do.

The Prime Minister needs to leave Government as quickly as possible, along with her Chancellor.

There have been complaints of the Treasury holding back No Deal funding for a long time, and regular briefings to the press and business leaders of supposed economic collapse which would occur should we not have a ‘Brexit in name only’. These briefings come from the Treasury, as well as civil servants who continue to peddle the same tired old messages of ‘Project Fear’. Philip Hammond simply picked up from where the former Chancellor, George Osborne, left off. Where May, Hammond, the Remainer hierarchy of the Government and the Civil Service are supposed to delivering Brexit, we actually have a complete and utter failure in the commitment to deliver what the nation voted for in the 2016 EU referendum. By hook or by crook we need to Get Britain Out of the EU as quickly as possible.