Justine Greening speaks her mind on Brexit - and gets her revenge on the PM

Written by David Singleton on 16 July 2018 in Diary

Maybe Theresa May should not have sacked one of the few modernising MPs in her cabinet.

When Theresa May sacked Justine Greening as education secretary and tried in vain to shunt her over to the Department for Work and Pensions, a number of modernising Tories were deeply unimpressed.

Ruth Davidson was sorry to see Greening go as “she she brought her non-nonsense, northern accountant's eye to every brief and is a real role model for LGBT+ Conservatives”.

Heidi Allen said it was “a dreadful shame we have lost such a progressive, listening, compassionate woman from government”.

And another Tory MP, speaking anonymously, told the Guardian it was a “dreadful error to let her go”.

And so it seemed on Sunday night as Greening broke cover to back a second referendum on Brexit.

Writing in the Times, the MP for Putney echoed Peter Mandelson by calling May’s Brexit plan the “worst of both worlds”. She said that the only answer was for voters to choose from three options: May’s final deal, a no-deal Brexit or staying in the EU.

She then appeared on the Today programme to suggest that other Tory MPs would support her plan, with sources pointing to Amber Rudd and Dominic Grieve.

ITV’s Robert Peston reckoned that Greening had lit a fuse and the only certainty was that May would be “furiously trying to blow it out”. 

An alternative reading is that May recklessly lit the fuse herself back in January.





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