Theresa May is preparing to invest heavily in Tory seaside resorts and Labour heartlands in order to secure her Brexit deal, according to a report in The Sun.
Dubbed “the Brexit bribe”, the fund is intended for areas such as Clacton and former mining towns in the North, representing a “national renewal” of some of Britain’s long neglected regions. A portion of this multi-million pound pot for new infrastructure, NHS projects and skills training will be awarded to MPs from both side of the political aisle, as long as they continue to keep May’s Brexit on track.
Twelve Labour MPs did just that in last week’s crunch Commons vote. Indeed, Bassetlaw MP John Mann even had the nerve to quip “show me the money”, incensing his rival backbenchers. Of course, Pro-EU MPs pushed back against the plans, accusing Downing Street of trying to ‘buy’ the votes of their Leave-voting colleagues. David Lammy said that any colleagues who accepted the cash would be “cowards and facilitators”, adding that “history will be brutal” in its judgement of them.
Tory MP’s in seaside towns such as Clacton, Great Yarmouth, Hastings and Skegness are also thought to be on May’s shopping list, with their support having potential to prove critical in helping the prime minister win a majority when her Meaningful Vote comes back to the Commons. While investment in these iconic sea- side towns is always needed, MPs offered the deal will have to weigh up the overall costs of accepting it. Britain’s coastal communities have long required more attention from Westminster, but should they have to pay for it with blind loyalty to the prime minister? And if they do, what precedent does that set? However, in towns such as Skegness, which commanded one of the largest Brexit majorities in the referendum vote, the so-called ‘bribe will deliver on two fronts for the resort, much needed funds for investment and a much desired exit from Europe.