London: A secret memo caught on camera in the hands of an aide to a Conservative Party leader outside Downing Street after a Brexit meeting caused a stir in United Kingdom’s political circles yesterday, forcing the government to distance itself saying these were “individual notes”.
The handwritten notes, carried by an aide to Conservative party MP Mark Field, the vice-chairman of the party, included phrases “what’s the model? Have your cake and eat it” and “unlikely” in reference to the European Union single market.
“I was interested and amused to see it because it doesn’t reflect any of the conversations that I’ve been a part of in Downing Street,” said UK business secretary Greg Clark, forced to react to the media storm around the notes.
“I don’t know what the provenance of that note is. All I can say is that it is going to be a negotiation that has to be serious, we have to get our negotiating mandate in place, but this is being done soberly and meticulously. It would be nice to have (cake and eat it), but it’s not the policy,” he told the BBC.
The note also said the “French are likely to be most difficult” in reference to Britain’s impending negotiaâÂÂtions over the terms of its withdrawal from the 28-nation economic bloc after the country voted in favour of an exit from the European Union in a referendum in June.
The document says the triggering of Article 50, which formally starts Brexit negotiations, could be “difficult”.
Sticking to the policy
‘I don’t know what the provenance of that note is. All I can say is that it is going to be a negotiation that has to be serious, we have to get our negotiating mandate in place... It would be nice to have (cake and eat it), but it’s not the policy’
Clearing the air
Downing Street said the notes, captured on a long-lens camera by photographer Steve Back, were not written by a government official and do not reflect its official position. “These individual notes do not belong to a government official or a special adviser.