Daily Mail

Keep calm and let PM carry on with Brexit

- Brexit · European Politics · UK News · Politics · British Politics · Tony Blair · David Cameron · Puerto Rico · Lancashire · Theresa May · United Kingdom · Philip Hammond · U.S. Treasury · Arbeidersparty · United States of America · Liberal Democrats · Democratic Party (United States) · Lancaster House · Florence · Michel Barnier

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?

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