Dominic Raab gets the Brexit gig – and George Osborne goes on the attack
The former chancellor called for a Tory leadership contest.
The appointment of Dominic Raab as the new Brexit secretary has not gone down well with everyone in and around Westminster, it’s fair to say.
Labour’s Andrew Gwynne highlighted one hack who noted that Raab has previously called for the EU working time directive to be scrapped and rights for agency workers to be axed. His colleague Jo Stevens was similarly alarmed about Raab's record on protecting workers' rights, while another Labour MP, Wayne David, pointed out that Raab had said last year that people who use food banks had “cash flow problems”.
Meanwhile Labour aides spent Monday morning circulating a link to a 2011 article by Raab calling feminists "obnoxious bigots".
Neither could Raab rely on his fellow Brexiteers to talk him up. Rather a number of them were privately briefing lobby journalists that he should have stood firm and not have taken the job so quickly.
Jacob Rees Mogg also expressed concern in public that Raab would have no influence in the role, saying: “Dominic is very able. But the key is – who will be doing these negotiations? Will it continue to be 10 Downing Street or will it be done by Dominic?”
And then came the verdict from top Tory remainer George Osborne.
“The fact that the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, is a minister she fired in 2016 and has since had to rehire and promote, shows how weak the Prime Minister now is,” stated the Evening Standard’s editorial.
Going in for the kill, the Osborne-penned piece added that May had run out of options.
“She lost the mandate for moderation she won in her leadership election when she foolishly sided with the hard Brexiteer wing in those first months of her premiership.
“She then lost the mandate for that hard Brexit when she called an election and failed to win it. Now she has lost the only claim she has left: that her mandate comes from being the only person who can hold her Cabinet together.
“The Tory party needs a leadership contest so the mandate to lead can be re-established.”