With the Irish border problem rearing its head once again this week, Sir John Major has popped up with an intervention Theresa May could probably have done without. In a speech today, the former prime minister urged May to keep Britain in ‘a’ customs union for the sake of the peace process. He went on to say MPs should be given a free vote on whether to accept or reject the final Brexit deal and that this should include the option to decide on a second referendum.
However, Mr S can’t help but sense a whiff of major hypocrisy in the air. Firstly, Major did not practise what he is preaching when he was Prime Minister. During his premiership, MPs were not given a free vote on the Maastricht treaty – it was whipped.
Secondly, Major hasn’t always been so fond of former prime ministers staging political interventions. In fact, he was so put off by Margaret Thatcher’s ‘backseat driving’ when he was prime minister that he later described Thatcher’s behaviour during his spell at 10 Downing Street as ‘intolerable’.
So much for leading by example.