In March last year, the group’s chair was the member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg, but he was inexplicably elevated to ministerial rank later in the year by alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and so he was succeeded by Steve Baker, a past recipient of the Golden Dolphin award from the now-defunct Young Britons’ Foundation. Baker stood down from the group’s chair last February.
He was succeeded by Mark François (note cedilla under the c), who had already single-handedly won the EU war. But when the ERG put out its latest missive yesterday, it was not François’ name on it, but that of Bernard Jenkin. After Sky News’ Sam Coates had told “ERG gearing up for a new fight - to get Boris Johnson to scrap the Withdrawal Agreement if there’s no deal … Statement”, the feedback began in earnest.
One Tweeter responded “hold on, Mark Francois became Chair of the ERG in March 2020. why is he not Chair now?” Good question. Con Franklin was on the same page: “Oh. Mark Francois is no longer Chair of the ERG. How odd. I must’ve missed the press release”. Nick Collins wanted answers. “Hey [Bernard Jenkin]. Why is Mark François no longer the chair of the ERG? An unusually short tenure. Did something happen?”
Looking in from Berlin, Jon Worth was mystified by François’ silence. "Also there’s one thing missing from these crazy past 48 hours in UK politics: a comment from Mark François MP. What’s up with him? Where’s he in this moment of need, ready to [challenge] international law? I can’t find a peep from him since August”.
There was a variety of answers. Fionna O’Leary mused “I hear he has puzzlingly resigned from the ERG. What could possibly have possessed him?” What indeed. Stefan Wickenden wondered if “The Army General he threatened with a Cummings reprimand took him out. I hope!” while another commenter decided it was all classified.
“Following the betrayal, in negotiations, of our sovereign nation state by the EU, and that Barnier chap taking the piss out of his very nice letter, Brigadier Major General the 1st Viscount Francois has been working night and day on his invasion plan of Europe. Top Secret still”. Ho ho ho. But not like the Tories to depose someone quietly.
The Tweeter known as Jim Cognito summed up. “That’s a good point. Mark Francois replaced as the ERG Chairman and no one says anything. Even the gossip/google journalists like Guido. Not a word. Bizarre”. It’s certainly not like The Great Guido to keep quiet on anything. Well, not unless Rebekah Brooks tells him to.
The ERG chair falls silent at the group’s hour of greatest need. Curiouser and curiouser.
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