Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: It’s time to call off the Brexit inquisition

What the papers say: It's time to call off the Brexit inquisition
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The predictions of doom and gloom about Britain’s prospects after Brexit were widespread in the run-up to the referendum. One by one, these warnings have failed to materialise: yesterday, we learned from the ONS that the economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the last quarter in a clear sign it has 'outperformed expectations again’. It's clear that ‘the only thing in recession’ is the ‘reputation’ of the doom-mongering economists, says the Sun. This economic ‘resilience’ should not be taking for granted though, warns the paper, which says that ‘certainty’ is vital for ensuring things don't turn sour. This makes comments by Brexit secretary David Davis in Parliament yesterday hard to fathom. His warning that a Brexit deal could come as late as ‘the 59th minute of the 11th hour’ directly contradicted the Prime Minister about when a deal could be wrapped up by, says the Sun. Surely ‘the least the public expect of the Government,' argues the paper, 'is a uniform negotiating strategy’.

‘The always supremely self-confident Brexit secretary, David Davis’ certainly came unstuck in front of MPs yesterday, says the Guardian, which calls it ‘unprecedented’ for a senior minister ‘to be slapped down on his own special subject by his own press spokesperson’. Yet while the Department for Exiting the EU has rowed back on Davis’s remarks that a vote on a Brexit deal might not take place until after Britain actually leave the bloc, the Guardian remains worried. ‘At the very heart of the leave campaign in 2016 was the demand to take back control', says the paper. This should mean putting Parliament front and centre. ‘It would be completely absurd for the government to deny parliament a meaningful vote’ on this deal, says the Guardian – which argues that the outcome envisaged by Davis would amount to the ‘the polar opposite of parliamentary sovereignty’. The Brexit secretary cannot be allowed to get away with his laid back attitude to a Parliament vote that he is ‘expecting and intending' to offer to MPs. ‘The guarantee must be unconditional’, concludes the paper.

Sixteen months on from the Brexit referendum, the divisions which polarised people on both sides of the debate continue, warns the Daily Telegraph. ‘Those who favoured leaving accuse Remainers of thwarting withdrawal’. While ‘on the other side, die-hard Remainers…plot to reverse Brexit’. Both sides must remember one thing: ‘the vote has been held and we are leaving’, says the Telegraph, which urges people to ‘call off the Brexit inquisition’. Yes, it’s true that ‘most university dons are Remainers’, says the paper in the wake of the row about a Tory MP writing to universities to demand details of those teaching students about Brexit. It's also true that these academics ‘would serve their students far better if they turned their minds to mapping out Britain’s post-EU future’. But the ‘same goes for parliamentarians’, says the paper, which argues that ‘with time running out’ this is no moment to ‘refight the referendum’. ‘It is time to move on’, concludes the paper.

Meanwhile, the row about online comments made by Labour MP Jared O’Mara rumbles on. Yesterday, the party removed the whip from the Sheffield Hallam MP after he referred to teenage music fans as ‘sexy slags’ in a blog post. It's the right move to suspend him from the party, says the Times. But given that O’Mara is ‘one of precious few true believers’ of the Corbyn cause on the Labour bunches, will this suspension be permanent? ‘The suspicion remains’, says the Times, ‘that after a suitable period of exile, he will be admitted back into the fold’. This would do great damage to Labour, argues the paper, which says the party needs to ‘fully distance itself from Mr O’Mara and others of his ilk’. If they don’t then ‘voters will understandably continue to reject (the party) as a potential government.’