Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Ministers must publish their Brexit impact papers

What the papers say: Ministers must publish their Brexit impact papers
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‘It is now blindingly obvious’, says the Sun, ‘that the EU is making impossible demands.’ Just consider how Brussels is pointing the finger at Britain for the lack of progress in Brexit talks. ‘Anyone can see’ that this standstill is more to do with the EU wanting a ‘monstrous’ payment up front without ‘anything firm in return’, argues the paper – and ‘David Davis would be out of his mind to buckle’. It's clear, too, that the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, ‘must regret the untenable position ­Germany and France have put him in’. It's true that the deadlock could break by next week and Barnier and Britain will finally be allowed to talk trade. But if Merkel and Macron continue to hold things up, Britain will ‘have little option’ but to seek an alternative to the current intransigence. ‘We should schedule no further talks without a solid commitment to working out a transition and a free trade deal’, says the Sun. ‘Only then should we talk money’, concludes the paper.

Jeremy Corbyn’s insistence that he would still vote ‘Remain’ in an EU referendum held today shows he is out of touch, says the Daily Telegraph. ‘Most Britons, regardless of how they voted last June, now want out’, the paper argues – and the prevarication of Brussels is only adding to this anti-EU sentiment. Yesterday, Michel Barnier spoke of a ‘disturbing’ deadlock. But this ‘is entirely on the EU’s side’ – so why ‘doesn’t Mr Corbyn direct some of his famously righteous anger at Brussels?’, asks the Telegraph. If he won’t, the Tories should capitalise on Corbyn’s silence and speak for the many Brits fed up with the EU’s games. ‘If Labour is to be the party of Remain, the Conservatives can speak for the majority of Britons as the committed party of Leave’, says the Telegraph. The Government mustn’t only say it is ‘fulfilling’ the outcome of the referendum. It should make ’the case for Leave’ ‘over and over again’, concludes the Telegraph.

But what impact will Brexit have on different sectors across Britain’s economy? The Government has at least made some predictions in the form of its ‘Brexit impact assessments’. Yet its insistence that it will publish these ‘in due course’ is not good enough. It needs to publish them ‘right away’, says the Times. The Brexit debates in Parliament will be ‘fierce’. But without the information contained in these publications, MPs will be ‘flying blind’. ‘If the impact assessments contain nothing to trouble MPs,’ the paper argues, then ‘there is no reason not to publish them’. However, if they are full of dire warnings, ‘there is all the more reason to publish.’. The 120 MPs who wrote to David Davis demanding to see the papers are right to want to do so, says the paper. Yet almost all ’are from Labour, the Liberal Democrats or the Scottish Nationalists’. It is ‘peculiar’, says the Times, that Tory MPs are ‘content to place their trust in such a divided cabinet’.