Beware the europhile fifth columnists, says SIR BERNARD JENKIN

But this government’s failure to stand up to EU-ultras is inflicting constitutional carnage. When the history is written, it will be obvious that it was always the wreckers’ intention to seek to reverse the referendum decision by ending the negotiations with a humiliating choice: either an unacceptable withdrawal agreement or the prospect of no Brexit at all. This fulfils the prediction by a former diplomat in the House of Lords: “We will huff and puff but, in the end, we will basically come to heel.” There are many ministers with honest intentions, but they are caught up in an administration riven with dishonesty, incompetence and constitutional decay.

From the start, a fifth column of europhile ministers have campaigned to remain in the customs union. 

They have delayed and undermined readiness for a ‘no-deal’, about which they promote economic gloom and extreme worst-case scenarios.  

They have instructed officials to withhold information which would enable business to plan effectively.  

The government is running down the clock, not to force negotiations with the EU to a better conclusion, but to bludgeon our own Parliament to accept the unacceptable.

There are reasons why the functions of government and Parliament are divided as they are and ministers are expected to uphold collective responsibility. 

Voters must know who is accountable. Governments must be able to deliver the programme they were elected on, provided they retain the confidence of the Commons.

The Government is expected to speak with one voice. Parliament’s role is to scrutinise the work of Government, pass laws and control money. 

These democratic principles have retained the confidence of voters through two world wars, the general strike, hyperinflation, Mrs Thatcher and Mr Blair. 

They are being carelessly trashed by a weak government, which is willingly being held to ransom by those determined to stop Brexit.

The final step will be this government choosing to allow MPs to undo the vote of June 2016 altogether. 

And when that moment comes, we mustn’t forget that it wasn’t Leavers, Remainers or even a divisive referendum that brought us there: it was our elected representatives thwarting democracy.

Sir Bernard Jenkin is a Conservative MP and chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

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