Oh dear. It’s crunch day for Theresa May as her Brexit war cabinet gathers for the first of two meetings to discuss the type of trade relationship the UK ought to seek with the EU post-Brexit. With tensions running high in the party and Brexiteers nervous that Theresa May could be about to agree to some form of customs union (despite repeated denials by No 10).
Before they even get to that, the Prime Minister must deal with the small matter of the terms of the transition period. With MPs already nervous about agreeing to a period where the UK is a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker, Greg Hands was sent on the Daily Politics in a bid to soothe tensions.
Only things didn’t go quite to plan. The International Trade minister had a disastrous turn as Andrew Neil attempted to pin Hands down on what the government’s negotiating position is in response to reports that Brussels will have the power to punish the UK at will during the Brexit transition period by closing off parts of the single market to British companies.
In response, Hands refused to answer the question four times:
“I will try for a fourth time – what is the British government’s negotiating position?” asks @afneil
“Not for me today to pre-empt a negotiation that has not started” @GregHands
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) February 7, 2018
Sanctions here we come…