Brexit ministers are behaving like quarrelsome schoolboys

Chris Moncrieff
Chris Moncrieff

The Tories’ leading Brexiteers urgently need a full-time nanny to wag an accusing finger and reprimand them: “Now, children, please will you stop this squabbling...”

Dr Liam Fox, the new International Trade Secretary, wants the Foreign Office broken up so he can get his hands on the bits of it which, he claims, belong to his new department. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, is not eager to play ball with him, while Brexit Minister, David Davis and Dr Fox have not been the best of political friends for years now.

What an advertisement for the Leave campaign that its three leading figures are already engaged in their own private turf war!

A few sharp whacks over the knuckles administered by Theresa May with a ruler might calm things down and get Brexit on the move.

The Prime Minister must be exasperated that her new ministers are already behaving like quarrelsome schoolboys. They need to get their act together - and fast.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said initially that he would not intervene in Labour’s fraught leadership election battle. But now he has suddenly changed his mind, possibly because he could no longer bear to watch as the “ditch Corbyn” campaign appears to be making little impression.

Now he has effectively warned that Corbyn is a useless leader and that Labour will never win a general election so long as he remains at the helm.

If that is true, Labour have certainly gone the wrong way about shifting Corbyn, which is more easily said than done.

For a start, they have chosen a cold fish, in the person of Owen Smith to challenge Corbyn. Whatever other merits Smith may possess, he is not an inspirational leader. Charisma isn’t everything, but it is of some value at least in a would-be leader. Yet, Smith plods along without this asset.

Indeed, even someone who can rouse the rabble might not be a bad thing. Remember how the great Dr Ian Paisley won pretty well every contest by his demagogue-type speeches?

Angela Eagle, who was originally thought to be Corbyn’s challenger, is far more of a political warrior and altogether more suited to the rigours of battle than Smith, whose very demeanour hardly sets the Labour Party ablaze.

Incidentally, Corbyn is right to stick to his guns. The parliamentary party made him eligible to stand - and it is a bit too late to call on him to voluntarily resign. Why should he?

Jeremy Corbyn went up a few notches in my estimation when he failed to recognise presenting duo Ant and Dec. Good for him!

Most politicians these days seem to think that a knowledge of, and affinity with, popular culture will endear them to the voters. I am not at all certain this is true.

Tony Blair, soon after his arrival in Downing Street in 1997, held a reception for all the pop stars and luvvies of the day. It was not the most sedate event of the year. Peter Mandelson, when he was MP for Hartlepool, walked around sporting a local football scarf. He was greeted by a cry of “Who’s the w***** with the scarf?”

Then David Cameron claimed to be an avid supporter of Aston Villa. Later this was changed to West Ham United with the most unconvincing excuse I have ever heard: It was a slip because they both wear similar strips. That didn’t fool anybody.

I think I would probably have got right the question that Corbyn failed to. But for the life of me, I haven’t the faintest idea which of the two is Ant and which is Dec.