Oh dear. It’s been a rollercoaster for the European Research Group of late. Once heralded as the Machiavellis of Brexit, the group of backbench Eurosceptics have lately become the subject of some mockery thanks to their botched attempts to oust Theresa May as Prime Minister. However, things appeared to turn in their favour again this week when the group – led by Jacob Rees-Mogg – managed to get May to change her Brexit strategy – and confirm that she wished to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement.
Alas Mr S suspects the turn of John Whittingdale on Channel 4 news in the aftermath will have done little to cement an image of professionalism. In an interview with the broadcaster, the ERG member and arch-Brexiteer was asked why he believed the EU would fold and grant a backstop concession when several member states had already ruled it out. Whitto responded that it wasn’t fair to say all EU leaders were against such moves as there had been several key EU voices urging Brussels to work with the UK on the backstop. However, when pressed the Conservative MP failed to come up with their names and had to check his phone live on air – before confessing that one had a name he couldn’t pronounce:
‘There’s a member of Merkel’s cabinet and there’s a Pole’
“There’s a member of Merkel’s cabinet and there’s a Pole…”
Brexiteer John Whittingdale says there are some in Europe who “believe that [the EU27] need to listen to the Prime Minister”. pic.twitter.com/7wi48rJr87
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 30, 2019
Mr S suspects there’s still room for improvement.