Things are looking desperate for Prime Minister Theresa Mayhem’s European withdrawal agreement, as she turns to the gaffe-prone former Croydon MP to try to win support. WALTER CRONXITE reports
According to reports in no less a rag than Her Majesty’s Daily Torygraph, Labour MPs at Westminster are now discovering what the people of Croydon have long known… that Gavin Barwell is a patronising pillock.
The former Conservative MP for Croydon Central, who after the 2017 election was hired as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, was sent in to the House of Commons last night to give a key briefing to Labour MPs over his boss’s Brexit deal.
“Gavin’s always liked a good PowerPoint presentation,” one source told Inside Croydon. “Trouble is, this was nothing like a good PowerPoint presentation.”
Few MPs bothered to turn up to the specially arranged briefing, held in Committee Room 12 at the Palace of Westminster, where Barwell was accompanied by de facto deputy Prime Minister David Lidington and top Cabinet Office official Jonathan Black.
Barwell, the author of How To Lose A Marginal Seat, spent 28 minutes over his slides and diagrams to explain the near-600-page EU withdrawal document. Barwell then spent half an hour taking questions.
According to the Torygraph today, those who attended said that Barwell “treated us like idiots”.
The session was “pointless” and “utterly shite”. The Torygraph is even reporting that Barwell’s briefing “had actually made them more likely to vote against the deal”.
One Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, who was unable to attend the meeting, tweeted, “I hear that the Government’s ‘briefing’ of Labour MPs on May’s disastrous withdrawal deal bombed tonight after they thought they could win people over with a PowerPoint presentation.”
Bradshaw placed asterisks either side of the word PowerPoint, as if for emphasis. The derision is clear.
With the Conservative Party once again riven by division over Europe and the DUP in Belfast refusing to back the May agreement, Barwell’s mission was to persuade Labour MPs to vote with the Tory Government in a desperate attempt to get parliamentary approval for the deal.
The Politics Home website managed to get a recording of the meeting. These Barwell tapes could become a YouTube sensation, if he ever dares to run for elected office again. Either that, or it could save Armando Iannucci the bother of writing an entire episode of The Thick Of It.
The Northern Ireland backstop, Barwell explained at the meeting in his usual facile style, was “a temporary agreement”.
“You might think this is all a bluff and Parliament can vote it down and they’ll change their minds,” Barwell said. “That’s a judgement for you to make. But the Prime Minister believes this is the best deal that’s available.
“Even if you don’t share her views about exactly what kind of relationship you want, which some of you don’t, I don’t think any reasonable person can say she’s not, with some tenacity, stuck at this to try and get the best relationship that’s available.
“The key thing I would say to you, because it’s obviously one of the things that in the House gets the most attention, is a backstop is going to be required whatever future relationship you want to see. There’s no way around that.”
Barwell was not helped during the session by the news emerging from Washington that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, had claimed that Britain’s withdrawal agreement – what Barwell was calling “the best relationship that’s available” – would in fact make it impossible for the UK to trade with the US. Barwell refused to answer any questions on the President’s latest pronouncement.
During the briefing, one Labour MP openly predicted that the Prime Minister would lose the Commons showdown by as many as 150 votes.
The vote is due to be held on December 11.
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