Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/r8hsm4

David Gauke - Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor January 2018 – July 2019

4 January 2022


I think that Sir Nicholas (Macpherson), as he then was, a staunch unionist, considered that to be the duty of the Treasury, to ensure that the economic risks of Scottish independence were in the forefront of the minds of the Scottish voter. [...] UKICE: What was the view in the Treasury, in this period, of the other thing the Prime Minister did in the conference speech, which was to set the deadline for triggering Article 50? DG: I suppose one thing I’d say, particularly when it comes to the party conference speeches and asking ‘What was the Treasury thinking?’ Of course, the Treasury consists of Treasury ministers and Treasury officials. [...] It was like the Government, the Prime Minister, was standing on a rock in the middle of a minefield and she had to get to the other side but pretty well ever direction there was a mine. [...] The combination of the general election and the combination of the fact that with very, very, few exceptions – Michael Gove being the notable one – the Brexiteer side had not accepted that, ‘It was 52-48, we’re going to have to compromise, we’re not going to get everything that we promised the British people. [...] Again, one has to look at, ‘What’s the counterfactual?’ There was the real risks that, ‘Could the Government run down the clock until the end of January? What mechanisms are available?’ The fact that the Speaker was standing down might have made it harder to control the order paper again.