Which leadership candidates get the Brexit Seal of Approval?

Brexit Facts4EU.Org presents its summary of the Conservative leadership contest

        

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - The Brexit Seal / Dominic Raab and Esther McVey

Below is our summary of the ten current candidates for Prime Minister. We have condensed the issues surrounding Brexit in an attempt to bring some clarity to the choice facing Conservative MPs and ultimately the membership of the Party.

We started out by looking at the actions, rather than the words, of the candidates. How did they vote in the Referendum and on the key motions over the past six months?

A defining issue for us and many readers is what the candidates have said about leaving the European Union on 31 October 2019. We looked not just at what they said but how they said it, in an attempt to gauge whether they really will implement a full exit by that date.

Of necessity some of the results below involved subjective judgements, but these are based on the facts we have and on our experience in assessing true intent. Where we have answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to some basic questions, these might well be contested by some of the candidates, but we suggest that readers might want to see unequivocal statements on these matters before knowing if they can put their trust in them.

Brexit Facts4EU.org Summary

Candidates for leadership and Prime Minister

  • All candidates voted for Mrs May’s surrender treaty at least once
  • Only four candidates are committing to an exit on 31 October
  • So far we have awarded our Brexit Seal to just two of these: Esther McVey and Dominic Raab
Candidate
EU Ref vote
May's deal
Exit 31 Oct
with no deal?
Defining quote for
Leave reliability or not
Michael Gove
Environment Secretary

Remain backers: Ed Vaizey, Nicky Morgan, Oliver Letwin

Voted Leave

Constituency Leave vote:
51.9%
Voted for it
3 times
No
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: Yes
"I'll delay leaving the EU if it gets us a better deal"

Matt Hancock
Health Secretary

Remain backers: Stephen Hammond, Damian Green, Caroline Spelman, David Lidington

Voted Remain

Constituency Leave vote:
63.25%
Voted for it
3 times
No
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: Yes
"I'm an optimist…No Deal will not get through the House of Commons."
"We don't need a leaver, we need a leader"

Mark Harper
Former Chief Whip

Remain backers: Jackie Doyle-Price

Voted Remain

Constituency Leave vote:
57.89%
Voted for it
1 time
No
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: Yes
"It is not going to be possible to leave on 31st October"

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

Remain backers: Amber Rudd, Vicky Ford, Alan Duncan

Voted Remain

Constituency Remain vote:
59.25%
Voted for it
3 times
No
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: Yes
"Without a deal, any PM who promised to leave by a certain date would have to call a General Election to change the Parliamentary arithmetic."

Sajid Javid
Home Secretary

Remain backers: Simon Hoare, Lucy Allan, Robin Walker, Stephen Crabb, Caroline Nokes, Victoria Atkins

Voted Remain

Constituency Leave vote:
55.37%
Voted for it
3 times
No
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: Yes
"We must focus on what we need to get a deal which can be agreed... We know the only thing that has got through our Parliament successfully is the Withdrawal Agreement with backstop provisions amended to include a time limit or exit clause."

Boris Johnson
Former Foreign Secretary

Remain backers: Damian Collins, James Brokenshire, Robert Buckland

Voted Leave

Constituency Leave vote:
57.19%
Voted for it
1 time
Yes?
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: No?
'“If I get in we’ll come out, deal or no deal, on October 31st.” “My duty will be to get our country ready for the very, very small possibility of coming out without a deal on WTO terms. It is only by being ready to deliver it that you will get the deal that we need.”

Andrea Leadsom
Former Leader of the House

Remain backers: None

Voted Leave

Constituency Leave vote:
53.34%
Voted for it
3 times
Yes
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: No
"Leaving the EU on the 31st of October is, for me, a hard red line," "In all circumstances we are leaving the European Union on the 31st of October this year."



Esther McVey
Former Work and Pensions Secretary

Remain backers: None

Voted Leave

Constituency Remain vote:
54.37%
Voted for it
1 time
Yes
Would still negotiate May's deal: No
Would extend: No
"I think you need to have people who believe in Brexit to deliver this by 31 October."



Dominic Raab
Former Brexit Secretary

Remain backers: None

Voted Leave

Constituency Remain vote:
58.43%
Voted for it
1 time
Yes
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: No
“We should revert with a final offer to overhaul the backstop… It would be a final attempt to bridge the gap with the EU ... Leaving on WTO terms is not the preferred outcome, but it is better than leaving with a flawed deal. If the EU refuse to move, we must leave by the end of October.”

Rory Stewart
International Development Secretary

Remain backers: Nicholas Soames, Ken Clarke, David Gauke

Voted Remain

Constituency Leave vote:
55.2%
Voted for it
3 times
No
Would still negotiate May's deal: Yes
Would extend: Yes
"... but in the end, a deal with the European Union will look quite a lot like this deal." (the WA) "Still the quickest, surest way of getting Brexit done is to get that deal [the WA] through."

Please note: After this article was published, the Daily Telegraph wrote a piece on Dominic Raab where they said “Unlike his main rivals, he never voted for the Prime Minister’s deal.” They then compounded their error by saying “The former Brexit Secretary, having never caved and voted for Mrs May’s deal, could position himself as the last of the diehards”.

The Telegraph is wrong. Mr Raab voted for Mrs May's surrender treaty ("Withdrawal Agreement") on the third occasion. Our information above is correct, as readers would expect.

Observations

Whilst Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom have both said they will stick to the 31 October deadline, for different reasons they don’t get a Brexit Seal just yet. In Boris’ case he flip-flopped before the Referendum before coming out for Brexit at the last minute. He has not said much in the contest so far and we are waiting to hear what he says at his campaign launch today.

In Andrea Leadsom’s case she voted for the Withdrawal Agreement three times – principally because she remained in the Cabinet. Whilst she has said that leaving on 31 October is “a hard red line” for her, it is difficult to ignore the three years that she has been supporting Mrs May’s strategy and then Mrs May's appalling surrender treaty.

Note: Where we refer to 'Remain backers' in the table above, we have only included MPs who are reasonably well-known.

Dominic Raab made it over the line and won a Brexit Seal partly because of the BBC4 documentary, where it was clear that the EU side disliked his strongly pro-Brexit negotiating style - before it was overruled by Mrs May.

We are sure that readers will have their own views on the candidates and some will differ from ours. The list above will be amended as the contest progresses and as positions become clearer.

[ Sources : Hansard | Electoral Commission | Prof Hanretty, Royal Holloway | Public statements ]

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 12 June 2019

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