Theresa May Needs to Go Back to Lancaster House

When the Chequers Plan communiqué winged its way to MPs and the media following a full day of debate at the Prime Minister’s country retreat, I was concerned at the lack of detail and what clearly looked to me like a number of areas where this much-heralded proposal would fall far short of the Prime Minister’s own personal commitment that “Brexit means Brexit”.

I recall vividly sitting behind my desk in my Scottish Parliamentary office watching the Prime Minister deliver her Lancaster House speech in January 2017. It was a tough gig given that the Prime Minister, who had campaigned to Remain in the EU, had to outline a vision for Brexit, put meat on the Brexit bones and outline her twelve objectives for the negotiations. But I felt a great sense of pride that day: I thought she nailed it. I even had MSP colleagues who had campaigned to Remain stop by my office to say she had done brilliantly and that it was the best speech they had ever heard her deliver. I couldn’t agree more. In that speech the Prime Minister articulated a Brexit blueprint that united the parliamentary party whilst holding true to the referendum result. It was even welcomed by Donald Tusk as “realistic”.