David Miliband a 'political has-been' says Brexit commentator

David Miliband a 'political has-been' says Brexit commentator

Monday, May 14, 2018

The government is showing no signs of reaching an agreement on post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Theresa May’s preferred option is a customs partnership, which would see the UK collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU.

But Michael Gove has now joined Boris Johnson in criticising the Prime Minister’s plans.

They, and other Brexiters, prefer the maximum facilitation or ‘max fac’ model, which would use technology to do customs checks.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is a supporter of May’s proposals.

Today, former Labour leadership candidate David Miliband came out of political retirement to join Remainers Nicky Morgan and Sir Nick Clegg to urge MPs to vote in favour of amendments to the withdrawal bill that would see a softer Brexit.

They say growth to the economy would drop by 5% over the next 15 years under the current plans.

But David Scullion, deputy editor at Brexit Central, was unconvinced by their plans.

Read more: What is the customs union?

“These are three political has-beens,” he told Julia-Hartley Brewer on this morning’s breakfast show.

“David Miliband had his chance when he stood for the labour leadership and he’s come back to a totally different landscape.

Listen to David Scullion's full interview above

“Labour has totally changed, it’s been taken over by the hard left, he doesn’t have the support of the country any more.”

He said that May’s preferred plans of a customs partnership were not popular.

“The new customs partnership, nobody really wants that. Even the Financial Times reported over the weekend that businesses don’t want this,” he said.

Read more: 'This is nonsense!' Iain Duncan Smith pours scorn on Theresa May's customs union proposals

He also criticised the fact that Sir Keir Starmer - Shadow Brexit Secretary and a Remainer - had gone to Brussels to negotiate with Michel Barnier.

“It is a bit weird isn’t it. We saw yesterday [on the Andrew Marr show] that Sir Kier Starmer failed to mention anything that would be good about Brexit.

“Michel Barnier is not stupid, he realises what he can do by talking to these people, he thinks we can get a soft Brexit.”

The Prime Minister was “frittering away goodwill” by pursuing her unpopular solution, he said.

“I genuinely think she could be brought down and the DUP would be happy to do that if they thought she was selling out on this.

“She does have a lot of goodwill but she seems to be frittering it away when she talks about things like the unworkable new customs partnership.

“People want to believe her when she says Brexit means Brexit but she is seeming to backtrack on these things."