Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Labour must clarify its Brexit plan

What the papers say: Labour must clarify its Brexit plan
Text settings

Another day, another Brexit warning: this time it comes from the head of Standard Chartered, who says that Britain’s imminent departure from the EU is already having a negative impact. Bill Winters said that his bank is already 'preparing for the worst'.

The Sun says that the ‘same old commentators’ are repeating themselves constantly with their warnings that ‘Britain’s going to hell in a handcart’ as a result of Brexit. ‘Give it a rest’, the paper urges them. The Sun goes on to concede that yesterday ‘wasn’t a good day for the Government’. David Davis’s ‘impact assessment’ misunderstanding and the ongoing row between the Irish PM and the DUP which rumbles on do not paint the Government in a good light. Philip Hammond, who the paper calls ‘the king of klutz’, also still seems unable to ‘talk about Brexit without tripping over himself’. But these ‘hurdles’ are not impossible ones to overcome, says the Sun: no one wants a hard border in Ireland, and dire warnings about Britain’s economy just don’t stack up. Of course it would be best to get the first stage of Brexit talks wrapped up before Christmas. But if they fall back until January, it is not the end of the world, says the Sun. Above all, we should remember one thing: ‘We’re still better off out’.

Let’s not leave Labour out of the spotlight when it comes to Brexit, urges the Daily Telegraph. Everyone accepts that it is the ‘prerogative of opposition parties to duck the difficult questions’, says the paper. Nonetheless, Labour’s ‘evasiveness’ on the question of Britain’s departure from the EU goes ‘far beyond the cut and thrust of normal politics’. Jeremy Corbyn said the government’s Brexit strategy was a ‘shambles’. So what is his own Brexit blueprint? One of the big hold-ups at the moment is the difficult question of the Irish border. On this, ‘Labour cannot be allowed to get away with pretending it is easy’ to solve. Although it is difficult to tell given the confusing messages that have been sent out, Labour’s policy commits Britain to leaving the single market and the customs union. If this is indeed the case, ‘how would they resolve the Irish question?’. ‘Labour has shifted ground on this subject more often than the Vicar of Bray’, says the Telegraph, which points out that the party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, ‘takes a diametrically opposed view to what should happen from the positions previously adopted by the party leader and John McDonnell’. If it wants to criticise the government, Labour should know that it cannot do so without putting forward a clear plan and some sensible suggestions too.

It’s time to stop the ‘Brexit fanatics’, says the Guardian. It is clear that the government’s Brexit plan is a mess. Indeed, the paper says, ‘the UK government’s failures and incompetence on Brexit go wider and deeper’ than first thought. The cabinet is yet to have a full discussion about what type of Brexit is being sought. David Davis also continues to adopt his ‘characteristic bluster and solipsistic swagger’ while confusing parliament with whether there is or isn’t any impact assessments on Brexit. If indeed these haven't been carried out, says the Guardian, it is probably because ‘Davis knows such impact assessments would paint a bleak picture wholly at odds with the vacuous optimism of the Brexiters.’. Amidst all this, ‘the fanatics scent blood’. The Guardian says that those who want to drive through a hard Brexit envisage the possibility that talks could collapse next week. This would grant them the ‘no-deal outcome that they crave as the prelude to their desired bonfire of the social regulations.’. This cannot be allowed to happens, concludes the Guardian. ‘As so often, for the bad people to triumph it requires merely that their opponents do nothing effective’ to stand in the way. This ‘happened in the referendum campaign’, says the Guardian. ‘It absolutely must not happen again now.’.