As befits any minister new to the role, David Davis’ replacement as Brexit secretary, Dominic “food bank cashflow” Raab, has been putting himself around the media this weekend. To this end he has featured on the front page of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Sunday Telegraph, and subjected himself to the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show™. From this it can be deduced that he talks well, but lies badly.
Raab has told the Tel exactly what it wanted to hear: that he is going to get jolly tough with those rotten garlic-crunching foreigners across the channel. If they wouldn’t give us a free trade deal, we wouldn’t pay our “divorce settlement”. Sky News was more cautious.
“Britain could refuse to pay its divorce bill to Brussels if it does not get a trade deal, the new Brexit Secretary has warned … Dominic Raab, who replaced David Davis after he quit the role earlier this month, said ‘some conditionality between the two’ was needed … He added that the Article 50 mechanism used to trigger Britain's exit from the European Union provided for new deal details”. But this was another pack of lies.
As Business Insider has explained, “Sir Amyas Morse, the auditor general, told lawmakers in April that the divorce payments will become legally binding as soon as the UK signs a Withdrawal Agreement. This is because the payments are tied to Britain's two-year transition agreement with the EU … ‘The payments would fall for us to pay no matter what under international law,’ Morse said”. He won’t be withdrawing a single penny.
The Marr Show interview brought more of the same. Would the M26 have to become a lorry park? Was the Government planning to stockpile food in case there was a no-deal Brexit? Deflection. Waffle. Look over there at the EU, which was scaremongering (rather than actually being prepared and advising its citizens accordingly).
But it was when Marr turned to the Electoral Commission’s fining of Vote Leave, and its referral of several of that campaign’s individuals to the Police, that Raab’s trousers really caught alight. Did he think the Electoral Commission was politically biased?
“Look, I’m not getting into all of that. We’ve got the rule of law and I respect it and there’s been a report out in the papers today about whether actually the government’s campaign was correct”. So he was getting in to all of that, and he didn’t respect it because he was now playing “look over there at the Remain campaign”.
Raab then doubled down by saying, in response to the point that he had been on the campaign committee of Vote Leave, “I wasn’t involved”. OH YES YOU WERE.
It got worse. Should Dominic Cummings have to present himself for interrogation by the DCMS Committee? “Well, I think certainly the Select Committee, in the normal way, should review and scrutinise every aspect and you know, that’s for Dominic Cummings to decide. But the one thing I would say is the idea that these issues don’t discredit and are used - let’s face it, some people are looking to use the …” Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?
“Yes, but to discredit the outcome of the referendum, I think that is wrong. I think part of this is the last-ditch tactics by some to try and stop Brexit from happening”. So he believes that the Electoral Commission, and indeed Parliament itself, is partisan.
This is complete crap. It might go down well with his base on the Tory right, and get him into the right-leaning and EU-hating press, but the idea that the Electoral Commission should lay off nailing lawbreakers just because it’s inconvenient to him and his pals is ridiculous. If the referendum was flawed, if it was won by cheating, then he and his pals at Vote Leave have to take whatever consequences come their way.
Vote Leave cheated. Leave EU cheated. Dominic Raab is not going to improve matters by going on the Marr Show and lying about it, or by lying to the Telegraph.
Dominic Raab has already shown he is unfit to be a minister. What a thrilling start.