The Cabinet committee responsible for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU contains a majority of ministers who campaigned to Remain, it has been revealed.
Membership of the European Union Exit and Trade Committee was made public when Downing Street published a list of 14 Cabinet committees and seven implementation taskforces appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mrs May herself, who was a low-profile supporter of Remain in this year’s EU referendum, will chair the committee of 15 Cabinet ministers.
The so-called “three Brexiteers” Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox are also members, along with fellow Leave campaigners Chris Grayling, Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel.
But they are outnumbered by ministers who campaigned on the Remain side, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who accused the Leave campaign of misleading the public over potential savings from withdrawal in a bitter TV debate clash with Mr Johnson.
Others on the committee who backed Remain in the referendum include Chancellor Philip Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green, Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Scotland Secretary David Mundell, Wales Secretary Alun Cairns and Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire - though the last three will attend meetings only “as required”.
Responding to suggestions that the committee was weighted against enthusiasts for Brexit, Mrs May’s official spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister and a number of Cabinet ministers who indeed advocated the UK remaining in the European Union have been clear that we are all now there to deliver the decision of the British people, which is to leave.
“Therefore, this is a Government that is all about Brexit, because it is about respecting the will of the British people.”
Cabinet committees are groups of ministers that can take collective decisions on specific issues on behalf of the full Cabinet that are binding across Government. The Prime Minister decides their membership, which can include ministers from outside the Cabinet.
The 14 committees announced by Downing Street include the National Security Council along with four NSC sub-committees dealing with Nuclear Deterrence and Security; Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies; Strategic Defence and Security Review Implementation; and Cyber.
Chaired by the PM, the National Security Council also includes Mr Hammond, Ms Rudd, Mr Johnson, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Mr Clark, Ms Patel and Attorney General Jeremy Wright.
Three sub-committees of the Economy and Industrial Strategy Committee will look at Airports, Economic Affairs and Reducing Regulation. And other committees will oversee European Affairs, Parliamentary Business, Social Reform and Home Affairs.
The implementation taskforces have a remit to drive delivery of Government policies on childcare, digital infrastructure, the Earn or Learn programme for jobless 18-21 year-olds, housing, immigration, extremism and people trafficking.