Line by line: How Day 1 in Brexit Britain would play out under PM Boris

Have your say

THE scene at 10 Downing Street shortly after the Brexit victory in the referendum by 50.5 per cent to 49.5 per cent, though Scotland and Northern Ireland have voted to remain by 60/40.

David Cameron has resigned, Boris Johnson, new Prime Minister, is sitting with Jeremy Heywood, the head of the Civil Service, on his first day in office.

Graphic: Graeme Bandeira

Graphic: Graeme Bandeira

Boris: “Let’s get Merkel and Hollande on the phone.” “Hello Angela and Francois. I really didn’t mean Brexit. If you can give me a few face savers, I will persuade the House of Commons to ignore the referendum result.”

Merkel: “You must be joking. If you get special treatment, we will just have to concede something to ultranationalists in France, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary and Poland, thereby putting the whole EU project at risk.”

Boris: “Oh dear, can I have a Norway instead and stay in the Single Market?”

Hollande: “You do not understand. There is a lot of ill-will towards the UK in the EU as a result of the damage you have done to the EU. If we gave you a deal it would be much less favourable than the Norwegian one. Besides, why did you press for Brexit if you now want a Norway deal, which would require you to contribute to the EU budget without any influence over the Single Market policy?”

Boris: “Oh dear, so I do really have to leave the EU altogether but at least I will save my £350m a week EU contribution then.”

Heywood: “Alas, PM, no. Once you have deducted our rebate, and the amount our farmers, universities, local authorities and others get back from the budget, you will have about £100m? Unless, of course, you renege on your promise to all these groups that you will maintain their levels of support.”

Boris: “Oh dear. Well maybe I will have to renege because I desperately need the money to protect my balance sheet which has been devastated by the financial turmoil since the referendum.”

Heywood: “Sturgeon on the line from Edinburgh.”

Sturgeon: “Scotland has voted 60/40 to stay in the EU. I am going to press for another independence referendum so that we can stay in the EU.”

Boris: “Don’t do that. I will tell the Treasury to increase your subsidy by 20 per cent.”

Sturgeon: “Let me think about that.”

Heywood: “The north of England will be incandescent if you increase the subsidy to the Scots and ignore them.”

Boris: “Oh dear.”

Heywood: “The Northern Ireland First Minister on the phone.”

First Minister: “Though I voted for Brexit, Northern Ireland has voted 60/40 to stay. I will have to introduce border controls with the South. And the nationalists want to reopen the question of reunification with an All-Ireland vote which might succeed. And I will need to get you to replace the money I have been receiving from Brussels.”

Boris gulps.

Heywood: “The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny is on.”

Kenny: “Brexit is a disaster for Ireland, a huge disruption of trade, a revival of cross border tensions and raises the possibility of an all-Ireland Sinn Fein government.”

Boris: “Oh dear. We had better start talking about reunification. How will the Unionists take that?”

First Minister: “Very badly.”

Heywood: “I have the Governor of the Falkland Islands and the First Minister of Gibraltar on the line.”

The two colonial leaders: “Argentina and Spain see Brexit as an opportunity to put the squeeze on us again. What is your response PM?”

Boris: “I suppose I will have to send the Navy out, but I am short of ships. I think I will have to negotiate a deal with Buenos Aires and Madrid.”

The two colonial leaders: “Traitor.”

Heywood: “The American President is on the line.”

Obama: “I just want to make it clear once again that there will be no special deals and from now on Washington will talk to Berlin and Paris before London. And don’t say I didn’t warn you”.

Boris: “Oh dear.”

Heywood: “The PMs of Australia, New Zealand and Canada on the line.”

The PMs: “You are mistaken if you think you can go back to the 1973 arrangements. We have all made new trading deals with the US and Asia. And don’t say we didn’t tell you.”

Boris: “Oh dear.”

Heywood: “The leaders of the UK motor industry (Jaguar, Ford, Peugeot, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Honda) are here.”

Motor Leaders: “Whilst we will not shut down anything in the short term, major new investment which we had planned for the UK will now be redirected to the EU. In the long term we will run down our UK businesses. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

Boris: “Oh dear.”

Heywood: “The chief Executive of the NHS and the President of the NFU and leaders of the leisure and construction industries are here.”

The Leaders: “Because you are going to clamp down on EU migrant labour, we will have to drastically cut down on our activities. Hospital wards will close. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

Boris: “Oh dear.”

Heywood: “The Governor of the Bank of England is on.”

Carney: “The markets are in a turmoil. The pound has depreciated by 20 per cent, the Treasury is paying two per cent more for its funds, investment is at a standstill. You must quickly reassure the markets.”

Boris: “Isn’t that your job? Oh hell. But we now can have a bonfire of all those EU regulations which so enrage small businesses.”

Heywood: “Not so easy PM. Most of those regulations will have to be translated into British law and it will take us years to push them all through Parliament”.

Later, upstairs in the PM’s flat, Boris reflects.

Boris: “What a first day. Maybe I should have stuck to what I really believe about the EU, that we would be better in than out.

“But my tactics have achieved their main objective which was to get me into No 10. And we have gained our freedom, freedom to shoot ourselves in the foot. And it proves our point, that all foreigners are treacherous.

“And I think I will get someone to sack Heywood who keeps providing me with unhelpful information!”

• The author, Lord Haskins, is a peer, farmer and businessman. A former chairman of Northern Foods and the current chairman of the Humber LEP, he is writing in a personal capacity.