Theresa May must get Tory cranks under control
Boris Johnson would have us believe that his party is dominated by liberal leavers, people who love Europe but despise EU bureaucracy, who want to leave the union, but maintain warm relations with its political leaders.
But no matter how much the foreign secretary burbles in German, he can’t drown out the backwards, Trumpish flank of the Conservative Party, whose members irrationally despise the rest of Europe.
Take Bernard Jenkin, for example, deputy chairman of the Conservatives and an MP of 25 years standing.
You’d think he would have learned something about politics or diplomacy in all that time, but apparently not. This morning on the BBC, Jenkin accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat — current holder of the EU presidency — of being ‘anxious to scoop for his tiny little island some of the spoils that he believes will fall out of Brexit‘.
Let’s ignore the irony of a little Englander Brexiteer of accusing someone else of having an insular island mentality. The more important point is that the UK can’t afford to (further) antagonise the EU just two months before the start of negotiations, and that means maintaining cordial relationships with all of its 27 members regardless of their size.
We can’t expect European leaders to respect a party that has been hijacked by its most ignorant and offensive members, or a prime minister that endlessly panders to the very worst of her members.
If Theresa May is serious about getting the best deal for Britain, she must get a handle on her truculent backbenchers.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.