Britain’s ‘governing class is ashamed of Englishness’, says former Tory minister - Chopper’s Brexit Podcast Episode 49
Britain’s governing classes are “ashamed” of being English, former Tory minister Nick Boles has said.
Mr Boles, a former Planning minister, called for ministers to be bolder about promoting Englishness in public life to mirror the pride felt by the Scots and Welsh.
A squeamishness about being Englishness - because of an association with the Far Right - had meant that young English people from a black or minority ethnic background were more comfortable describing themselves as British because it was more flexible and inclusive.
Mr Boles tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast: “I drove through Parliament Square on a bus on St George’s Day this year and only place where I could see a St George’s flag was on Westminster Abbey.
“There was I was surrounded by Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Treasury, the Foreign Office – all the Great Offices of State – there wasn’t a St George’s flag to be seen.
“It is completely bonkers and it is not surprising that people feel that the governing class is somehow a bit ashamed of English identity if we make such little effort.”
He added that he did not want to see “state directed patriotism” but he called on the Government to find “small steps” to allow the English can mark their national identity.
All public buildings in England – government offices, courts, police stations, fire stations and town halls – should also be required to fly the St George’s flag on St George’s Day, April 23.
He also called for people being allowed to put an English – or Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh – flags on the number plates to reflect where their cars were registered.
Other ideas included allowing English teams singing one of Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem or I Vow To Thee My Country rather than the British national anthem at sporting events.
Mr Boles said he preferred Jerusalem because of its “progressive” lyrics, but called for a vote by English MPs to decide the new English anthem once and for all.
Also on Chopper's Brexit Podcast, a senior Government minister warned that peers who are amending Brexit legislation are increasing the likelihood of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.
Peers have so passed 14 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill including removing the 29 March 2019 Brexit leaving date and changing the law to try to keep the UK in the single market.
Dominic Raab, the Housing minister, warned: “The House of Lords is increasing the risk of no deal. I am a passionate Brexiteer but I have always argued that we should secure the best deal that we can with our European friends and partners. I think the peers are making that harder and are making no deal more likely.”
Other guests on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, available from 6am on Friday, Telegraph political correspondent Anna Mikhailova and Michael Lightfoot, co-founder of a new group called Artists for Brexit who sings a song he has composed about leaving the EU called “A Song for British Freedom”.
Margaret Thatcher would not have voted for Brexit, her former private secretary has said.
Caroline Slocock, who worked for the former Tory Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street from 1989 to 1991, said she would have preferred to stay in the European Union and fight to reform it.
Leave supporters have sometimes used Baroness Thatcher’s euroscepticism in the later years of her premiership and in her retirement to suggest she would have voted to leave the European Union.
However, speaking to Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, Ms Slocock said that she would not have voted to leave the EU.
The comments echo those of Lord Powell of Bayswater, Lady Thatcher’s most trusted foreign adviser in Number 10, who said the former PM would have voted to stay in the EU in September 2016.
Ms Slocock said: “My view is that she wouldn’t and I share this view with Charles Powell who advised her on foreign affairs as private secretary when I was there.
“My justification for that is she would not have got into this mess in the first place. She had form and the form was to stay in and fight.
“On the rebate she fought for five years to get the right deal – and I just think that David Cameron walked away far too early from those discussions with the EU.
“She would have done a much better job and we probably would not have had a referendum at all.
“She was very much against the idea of the European super state. She said in her famous Bruges speech that she had not rolled back the frontiers of state in Britain to see them rolling forward in Europe.
“She was angry about it but the fundamental thing is that she was fighting her corner, she wasn’t walking away and she valued immensely the trading relationship that we have with the EU.
“She – who regarded the single market as her greatest achievement in Europe – would just be non-plussed to be finding us walking away from trading relationships with effectively 70 per cent of our trade is with Europe or through European trade agreements – doing that speculatively in the hope that we will get better trading agreements elsewhere.
“The mistake of the government was to sign article 50 – now it has got no real negotiating strength - if you are inside the EU threatening to leave you have got a much better negotiating position.”
Also on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, from 6am on Friday morning, Jake Berry MP, the Northern Powerhouse minister, supported calls for Donald Trump to visit the north of England when he visits the UK later this summer.
Pointing out that Ben Houchen, the Tory mayor for Tees Valley, has invited Mr Trump to visit his region, Mr Berry said it was important that the UK sought a better trading relationship with the US “whatever people’s views of Donald Trump”.
Mr Berry added: “I would be delighted if Donald Trump visits the north of England. He would be probably welcomed in manufacturing areas who want to build that very close trading relationship and we shouldn’t let our personal views whatever they may be about his politics stand in the way of having a successful visit for our closest ally and that visit must be focused on creating a close trading relationship between the manufacturers of the north and the manufacturers of the United States.”
Other guests include George Freeman MP, ex-chairman of the Conservative policy board, Jeremy Warner, the Telegraph’s Assistant Editor and Ed Malnick, the Telegraph’s Whitehall Editor.
The podcast also features the first #BrexitPoems which were submitted by Twitter.
Theresa May has to put a ‘no deal’ option on the table to keep UK out of customs union, says former Brexit minister: Chopper’s Brexit Podcast Ep 47
Let’s embalm Nigel Farage and put him in the new ‘Museum of Brexit’, says Cabinet minister Liz Truss
Nigel Farage “can be embalmed like those Soviet leaders” and put into a new Museum of Brexit, Chief secretary of the Treasury Liz Truss tells Chopper’s Brexit Podcast today.
The former Ukip leader – along with the famous Vote Leave bus with its claim that Brexit will deliver £350million a week for the NHS – are Ms Truss’s recommendations for inclusion in the new museum.
Ms Truss says: "What you are asking me is a bit like Room 101 -what would you put in it. There are a few things from the campaign, may be a Cornish pasty, some leeks and of course the bus."
She adds that perhaps Mr Farage "can be embalmed, like those Soviet leaders" and included in the museum.
Ms Truss makes clear that Brexit will not be delayed to allow for second referendum on the terms of Brexit, saying: "Everyone in my constituency says 'please get on with it', and that is what we are doing."
Ms Truss also criticises a "computer says no" approach at the Home Office when has left more than 100 Windrush citizens unsure of their immigration status.
She says: "The Prime Minister and Home Secretary have given very full apologies about the truly dreadful situation people found themselves in.
"It is appalling that people who fought for his country during the war, have contributed to rebuilding Britain after the war, face that kind of computer says no attitude from the Home Office. That has to stop."
Ms Truss also set her face against calls for a hypothecated tax to fund the National Health Service. She says: "They are a bad thing. If you had a hypothecated tax going into the NHS in the late 2000s, and we got the economic downturn when National Insurance receipts went down, that would have meant less money for the NHS.
"I believe in a tax-funded NHS that is funded from general taxation - that is what makes sense."
Asked if pensioners who work should pay National Insurance to fund the NHS, she adds: "This is not a policy the government has at all. Those people have contributed throughout their lives and I think it is a good thing that people are working beyond the current retirement age."
Other guests on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, presented by Christopher Hope, The Telegraph’s Chief Political Correspondent, include Gawain Towler, former Ukip spokesman and the secretary of the new Museum.
Mr Towler says a board has been appointed and a number of sites are being scouted to host the museum and archive devoted to the UK’s 40 year membership of the European Union which ends next year.
Michael Deacon, the Telegraph’s longstanding sketchwriter who has been dubbed “Brexit’s Boswell”, and Dia Chakravarty, the Telegraph’s Brexit Editor, offer their own ideas on how to fill the museum on the podcast which was recorded in the Red Lion pub on Whitehall this week.
Tim Morris , the chief executive of the Major Ports Group which owns most of the UK’s ports, is also on the podcast to explain why trade to the UK need not be disrupted after Britain leaves the European Union in March next year.
This week's Chopper's Brexit Podcast comes from the Telegraph's newsroom where Christopher Hope, the Telegraph's Chief Political Correspondent, peers into the future and asks the simple question: will we ever leave the European Union? Joining him in the studio are: Kate McCann, the Telegraph's senior political correspondent; Jeremy Warner, the Telegraph's assistant editor and columnist; and Peter Foster, the Telegraph's Europe editor.
It is ‘perfectly possible’ to sign a free trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020, says top Brexit expert
It’s been a quiet week in Brexit, with Theresa May and her Cabinet away on their Easter holidays, but Chopper’s Brexit Podcast never stops work.
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Brexit day in 12 months' time should be marked by “huge celebrations” and the sounding of Big Ben, a leading Eurosceptic Cabinet minister says today. The remarks by Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, put her at odds with John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons and David Lidington, Theresa May's effective deputy, who have both ruled that Big Ben will not sound when Britain leaves the EU in March next year.
Chopper’s Brexit Podcast Episode 42: Michael Gove should resign for selling fishermen down the river over transition deal
This week's Chopper's Brexit Podcast comes from a trawler on the River Thames where Christopher Hope, the Telegraph's Chief Political Correspondent, chugs towards the Parliament with a group of fishermen who are furious about a transition deal which they say could halve Britain's fishing fleet.
Guests on board the trawler include former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, Tory MP Ross Thomson and Fishing for Leave's Aaron Brown, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on dry land as well as Brexit Minister Suella Fernandez in the Red Lion pub and Telegraph Senior Political Correspondent Kate McCann and Telegraph Brexit Correspondent James Rothwell in the studio.