Keep calm and let PM carry on with Brexit
AFTER the lies and endless spin of the Blair years and David Cameron’s huskyhugging PR gimmickry, how refreshing to have a Prime Minister whose word we can actually trust.
In both her Lancaster House and Florence speeches last year, Theresa May made it patently clear that Britain would be leaving both the single market and customs union after Brexit. No ifs, no buts.
And she gave her reasons in the simplest terms. Remaining in the single market would mean retaining free movement across our borders and continuing to be subservient to European law. Staying in the customs union would negate our right to forge dynamic new trading relationships with the wider world.
But judging from the froth and hysteria of recent days, our political class and civil service simply weren’t listening. This week, Mrs May had to remind them again of her position. Needless to say, it’s completely unchanged. The furore began when our Remainer Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested we might stay in the customs union and any divergence from Brussels after Brexit would be ‘very modest’. This was quickly followed by carefully leaked Treasury forecasts suggesting that leaving the customs union would be terrible for Britain’s economy.
Sensing a sell-out, Tory Brexiteers went into overdrive. They accused Mr Hammond of treachery (with good reason) and the civil service of political bias (with equally good reason). They called on Mrs May to clarify the situation.
Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Turnbull – who has an unedifying record of meddling in politics – and two other erstwhile mandarins then attacked the Brexiteers with an outrageous smear, accusing them of being ‘snake-oil salesmen’ and likening them to Nazis.
Meanwhile, Labour (whose own Brexit position remains a mystery to all) and the BBC made hay from what they perceived as a Government crisis. Would Mrs May resign? Was there already a credible plot to unseat her? Was Britain about to fall off a ‘cliff-edge’?
Of course, the answer to all these questions is no. The Prime Minister goes into this latest round of talks knowing exactly what Britain wants – a free-trade agreement with Europe and as close to frictionless borders as possible.
True, the precise shape of that agreement is yet to be thrashed out. But for all Michel Barnier’s bluster, both sides want these negotiations to work. Pointless trade barriers would hurt everyone.
So could over-excitable Tory Brexiteers please just calm down. And could civil servants – past and present – pipe down and keep their Remainer prejudices to themselves.
Mrs May has shown herself to be a woman of her word. Everyone who wants the best deal for Britain should get behind her and put an end to this constant carping. THE Mail often highlights unfashionable causes when no-one else will – and we see them through. One such case is Lauri Love, the vulnerable Asperger’s sufferer who was facing extradition to the US and up to 99 years in prison for alleged computer hacking. We are delighted that he won his appeal yesterday and that the threat has now been lifted. It was a great day for this paper – and a great day for justice. THE whole point of an insurance scheme is that you pay into it when times are good and draw from it in times of need. National Insurance is no different. People pay throughout their working lives in the knowledge that when they grow old and infirm, the NHS will care for them. So the Liberal Democrat plan to tax the over-65s to help fund the NHS is deeply iniquitous. Why on earth should they have to pay twice?