The prime minister has promoted Steve Baker, Member of Parliament for Wycombe and one of the most influential Brexiteers, to Government as a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union.
Steve Baker previously led the European Research Group, which consists of Conservative MPs with an avidly anti-EU agenda. The group has been used as a means of organising Brexiteer backbenchers to pressure Conservative leaders from within.
Prior to his appointment, Steve Baker made several remarks regarding the government’s post-election position on Brexit. In a number of tweets, he said:
“The language of ‘hard’ vs ‘soft’ Brexit is so misleading. We need a good, clean exit which minimises disruption and maximises opportunity.
“In other words, we need the ‘softest’ exit consistent with actually leaving and controlling laws, money, borders and trade and that means delivering on the white paper so the Department for International Trade can get on with improving UK and global trade.”
Mr. Bakers’ appointment has been welcomed by Conservative eurosceptics, who, as we reported, were worried that Theresa May was moving in a softer Brexit direction, post-election. This promotion has been widely interpreted as Mrs. May signalling to backbenchers that Brexit still means Brexit.
If there are concessions from Downing Street to the liberal wing of the party on Single Market membership, Steve Baker can be trusted to make some noise about it.