While yet more Tories emerge blinking into the daylight and tell the waiting world that they are running for the party leadership, one of those already declared is encountering a little local difficulty of his own. To no surprise at all, that candidate is Dominic “cash flow problem” Raab, whose briefing of his supporters, and indeed his supporters, are proving utterly inept. Worse, his back catalogue is coming back to bite him.
Raab, an appallingly immodest man with much to be modest about, had let it be known after last night’s shocker of a YouGov poll, which put both Labour and the Tories behind the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party, “On the back of the Times poll tonight we need to Tweet: The Times/YouGov poll clearly demonstrates that NO Conservative leader/PM can win a General Election. We have to deliver Brexit. The man with a plan to do this is Dominic Raab”. Sadly, Andrea Jenkyns forgot to take off the first bit before Tweeting.
Then came the lookalike Tweets, for instance from Nadhim Zahawi. But this was the least of Dom’s problems, as his slippery dishonesty was being recalled by the Telegraph’s Europe Editor Peter Foster (see thread HERE). Raab has gone to the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine and told them of the “window of opportunity” he had to solve the seemingly intractable problem of the Irish backstop.
He observes “So @DominicRaab tells @katyballs he was ‘on the brink’ of a #Brexit breakthrough on Ireland, but was thwarted by @DLidington - this is a gross distortion of the truth. It mustn't stand … I broke the story of Raab using his dinner with @simoncoveney to demand a unilateral three-month time-limit to the backstop”. A WHAT?
Foster goes on to “consider the likelihood of a three-month, or six month maximum time limit succeeding at that point, as the Withdrawal Agreement was on the cusp of being agreed. It was clearly nonsense … as was clear from talking to both Irish, British and EU officials, @DominicRaab would have absolutely known that it was nonsense”. Quite.
Why do it? Foster is in no doubt. “The answer is that he was free-lancing, and doing it for his own ends: namely to burnish his credentials for this precise moment. The leadership contest … the adjectives used to describe Raab's dealings as Brexit secretary span from ‘disingenuous’ at the kind end of the spectrum, to ‘dishonest’ at the more frank end”.
This is echoed in Denis Staunton’s Irish Times London Letter, where he tells “EU negotiators initially welcomed Raab as a smarter and more focused interlocutor than his predecessor David Davis. Nobody in Brussels doubted the former lawyer’s intelligence but they soon concluded that he was short-tempered, insecure and unreliable”.
There is more. “‘He would say one thing inside the room and say something else outside two minutes later. Nobody trusted him,’ one senior EU official said … What Tennessee Williams called ‘a powerful and obnoxious odour of mendacity’ also surrounds Boris Johnson, Raab’s chief rival for the Brexiteer vote in the leadership contest. So Raab’s dodgy account of his negotiations with the EU may not prove fatal to his chances in a contest where everyone appears willing to suspend their disbelief”.
But being just as dodgy as Bozza is not much of a USP when you have to face reality from day one. Raab is unfit for high office. Which means he has a good change of achieving it.
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