There has been a lot of comment about a line seen in an internal government document saying that we were trying to have our cake and eat it. There was some concern at the lack of security, evident in the fact that anyone managed to see and even photograph a confidential document. There was also concern that this revealed a somewhat contradictory attitude within government. Is this fair?
To some extent, I agree with these comments, but I also sympathise a lot with the Prime Minister. I remember an interview Boris Johnson gave a couple of years ago when he was accused of wanting to have his cake and eat it . He said, “Let me be perfectly clear as to the Johnson policy on cakes. It is to eat them and to have them wherever possible. Absolutely!” I wrote at the time that I had at least that one thing in common with him.
As to the present situation, surely, when it comes to the Brexit negotiations, we want the Government to get the best deal all round for our country. All the benefits of EU membership and none of the costs. Eventually, there will doubtless be trade-offs. But let us not start from there. There would be a risk of neither having a cake nor eating it.