Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: May’s Brexit plan and EU leaders’ ‘rudeness’ towards Britain

What the papers say: May's Brexit plan and EU leaders' 'rudeness' towards Britain
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Theresa May was widely praised in yesterday’s papers after the Government backed a third runway at Heathrow. And there are more plaudits for the Prime Minister in today’s editorials. The Sun says that yesterday’s figures showing the wages of the poorest rose faster than for any other section of society made it clear that it wasn’t true the Tories only care about the rich. It says the Government’s plan to reduced the balance of inequality contrasts strongly with the ‘fevered minds of Jeremy Corbyn and his deluded followers’, who try and paint Britain as ‘an unfair society plagued by gross inequality’: a picture which it says isn’t true. But The Sun does pile some pressure onto May: it says Britain’s economic prosperity makes the country a ‘magnet to foreign workers’, and calls on the PM to ‘show us her plan to reduce immigration sooner rather than later’.

The Prime Minister gets a much more tepid reception in today’s Guardian. The paper follows up on its recording of a speech the then-Home Secretary gave to Goldman Sachs' bankers in the run-up to the referendum, in which she did little more than reveal that she backed ‘Remain’. While there wasn’t much in the way of controversy in the PM’s remarks, the paper does its best to drum up trouble. It says May ‘showed in private that she was more committed to staying in the European Union than the tepid support she gave to the remain campaign’, and the paper goes on to say the PM is guilty of ‘Janus-like announcements’. So how should May respond? The Guardian calls on May to say whether she remains worried about the prospect of businesses upping sticks for Europe to clear up some confusion about what exactly her stance on Brexit is. It’s not only May who comes in for a hard time however: The Guardian also criticises Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for having missed a trick at yesterday’s PMQs for failing to mention the leaked tape.

It’s not May or Corbyn who find themselves in hot water in the Daily Mail but the European Union. The paper also makes a thinly-veiled dig at David Cameron, who warned that Brexit could lead to World War III. In its editorial, the paper says that while in the run-up to the referendum ‘voters heard endless pious talk from Remainers about the EU’s supposedly vital role in keeping the peace in Europe’, it’s actually Nato which is keeping the peace. It says that while the EU is standing still in sticking up to Russia in eastern Europe, the American-led Atlantic alliance is the one ensuring Putin isn’t smaller members of the EU about. The paper heaps praise on Defence Secretary Michael Fallon for pledging to send troops to Estonia, which it says shows Britain is pulling its weight ‘in defence of common European values’ - despite some saying Brexit showed Britain was hauling up the drawbridge.

And the European Union is also criticised in the Daily Telegraph, which says EU leaders are trying to treat Brexit with ‘a mix of rudeness and indifference’. The paper says that while some in Brussels are trying to pretend Britain is in a position of weakness, the insults from the continent (including the suggestion Brexit negotiations would be conducted in French) make it clear the EU is worried about upcoming negotiations. But instead of trying to stir up trouble, the paper goes on to say that those in the EU would be better off concentrating on their own problems, such as the collapse of trade talks with Canada, or the ‘turbulence in Deutsche Bank’ and the ongoing refugee crisis. The Telegraph goes on to say that the prospect of a cross-channel rift is a gloomy one and won’t help anyone while Russia continues to cause trouble. But although European leaders come in for a hard time, the Telegraph is full of praise for the Prime Minister. The paper says May ‘has already demonstrated tremendous will’ and points out that her ‘astonishing’ lead in the polls gives the PM a mandate that should be respected by her compatriots overseas.