Thursday, 14 July 2016

UK is leaving the Single Market - no job for Gove


Philip Hammond, the new British Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance), announced today that the UK will leave the Single Market. Which I think is very good news (though what Sir Humphrey in yes, minster would have called 'A courageous decision, Minister'). 
Presumably this means we shall not be in the European Economic Area (the Norway option). 

Yet the Norway option (it sounds like a Cold War thriller, I know) was what famous anti-EU figures like Daniel Hannan and Christopher Booker wanted - and I wanted if they could modify free movement. But events have a momentum. Which is why it was illogical for Remainers to ask where is Leave's plan? David Cameron should have instructed his civil servants to make one but it would not be followed.

Michael Gove, whom Ken Clarke said was the ablest minister in the last government, is not going to be a minister. (Pedantic note. Reuters, the Telegraph, etc. are incorrect to say he has been sacked. All ministers are deemed to resign with the Prime Minister.)

I am very sorry. Michael Gove is a remarkably able and public spirited man. Without him I am not sure Brexit would have won. His fault was being too modest. Had he announced his candidature for the Tory leadership on the day after the referendum he might be be Prime Minister today. But Brexiters will get more of what they want from a Remain PM like Mrs. May than from a Leave Prime Minister.

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