Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Thin-skinned Theresa May and the merits of Sturgeon’s Brexit plan

What the papers say: Thin-skinned Theresa May and the merits of Sturgeon's Brexit plan
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If any one still doubts the merits of Britain controlling its own borders, look to Germany, says the Daily Telegraph. While it’s true that we still don't know who was responsible for this week’s devastating attack on a Berlin Christmas market, ‘Germany has already suffered fatal terrorism facilitated by the EU’s failure to control its borders,’ the paper says. The Telegraph goes on to say that, after Brexit, Britain will be able to renew its commitment to the ‘first duty of a state’ - ensuring ‘people’s security’. And all the signs of Theresa May’s leadership so far suggests the country is in good hands. In its editorial, the Telegraph says that the PM’s decision in front of a select committee yesterday not to set a target for the number of EU migrants allowed in Britain after Brexit was a smart move. After all, Brexit isn’t about ‘making foreigners unwelcome’. Instead it’s to do with taking back control and the simple desire for rules to be made by politicians who the public can hold to account, the paper concludes.

But while the Telegraph is impressed with Theresa May’s leadership, the same cannot be said for the Times. The Prime Minister’s skin 'seems to get thinner by the day’, the paper argues, as it reports on its front page today the apparent decision by Downing Street to punish Deloitte over the leaking of a Brexit memo last month. It says this messy business shows that the Government is clearly ‘overly sensitive to criticism’, and warns of the danger that Downing Street might be running things in a fit of ‘pique’. The Times goes on to suggest that this backlash forms part of a theme, which includes the row sparked by Nicky Morgan when she criticised the cost of the PM’s trousers. Instead of worrying about things that don’t matter, the Times says Downing Street should get its prioritises right and 'focus on the public interest’.

Should we be worrying about the Prime Minister’s thin skin, when Brexit could end up costing Britain £50bn whatever type of deal we get? This mammoth bill has become a talking point since the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier said Brexit will leave Britain coughing up tens of billions of pounds. But the Daily Mail says it’s clear this number is nonsense and merely plucked from the air. Yet worse than Barnier, the paper argues, are the likes of Jeremy Corbyn for parroting this made-up number and ‘quoting this sum as the received wisdom’. Instead, the Mail says, this sort of statement from Barnier shows exactly why Brexit was the best option. After all, ‘it doesn’t say much' about a club 'if its stewards need to threaten multi-billion pound fines for withdrawing membership,’ the paper says.

Brexit is also causing simmering tensions north of the border. Nicola Sturgeon launched her plan for Brexit yesterday - detailing how she wants Scotland to stay in the single market after Britain leaves the EU. And the Guardian says that while it's true Sturgeon is playing politics, it would be wise for Theresa May to listen to the Scottish government. ‘It would be completely wrong to steamroller such concerns aside,’ the paper insists. So what should May do about Scotland? The paper concludes its editorial by saying that devolution is all about making compromises with different parts of the UK - and the same is true in this instance. ‘If it means the UK asking for a differentiated Brexit outcome that works for Scotland, then so be it,’ the paper says.