Andrea Leadsom makes a belated bid to reach out to Remainers
The leader of the Commons took the radical step of acknowledging those who voted to stay in the EU.
Since becoming prime minister, it’s fair to say that Theresa May has not gone out of her way to sell her Brexit deal to the 16.1 million people who voted Remain in the EU referendum. Rather, opponents complain that she has only ever sought to appease implacable Brextremists in her own party.
But at least one Brexit-backing cabinet member is finally trying to appeal to the 48 per cent.
Appearing on Radio 4 this morning, Andrea Leadsom departed from the usual government line when she claimed that the PM’s deal had been designed to provide assurances people for both side of the Brexit debate.
The leader of the Commons said: “What the Government is seeking to do is to find a way that essentially delivers on the referendum that 17.4m people voted for to leave the EU, but at the same time provide protection for those who voted Remain with regards to maintaining a deep and very close relationship with our EU friends and neighbours."
Of course, if David Cameron stayed on as prime minister he might well have taken a similar approach. Indeed Cameron’s former strategy director said this week that May might be in a better position now if she had adopted a more unifying strategy to get support for her deal with the EU.
Ameet Gill told Public Affairs News: “In terms of selling the deal… there is an argument to be made if you’re prepared to gamble a lot more. It’s: look, fundamentally it was 52-48 and 52 per cent wanted control of immigration and 48 per cent wanted close economic ties. This deal would be giving us that.”