One could smell a rat in the fact that so many ministers have recently been allowed publicly to break with government policy and condemn ‘no deal’ flat-out, and even threaten resignation. Three ministers co-wrote an article in Tuesday’s Daily Mail (over the undead body of Paul Dacre) in this sense. They would never have dared to do so unless they had been sure that they would go unpunished by the government.
If you follow the sequence of how a variety of ministers emerged on this subject, you will see orchestration. Mrs May’s spin doctor, Robbie Gibb, ex-BBC, briefs programmes like Newsnight all the time: the official line was to say how ‘troubling’ the behaviour of the ministers was. But you do not get three ministers to co-author an attack on stated government policy without government acquiescence. Gibb’s subliminal message was not ‘So they’ve got to come in line or go’ but ‘So we’ve got to give in to them’.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore's Spectator Notes, available in this week's magazine.