First a German journalist, then a French one, asked the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the best questions after her keynote Brexit speech in London on Friday.
Kerstin Leitel from the German business daily newspaper, Handelsblatt asked Mrs May if Brexit was all worth it?
The Prime Minister answered:
“If that was an attempt to say will we think again about Brexit, the answer is no we won’t think again on Brexit.”
(Mrs May didn’t mention that she once supported Remain, but for reasons unknown had changed her mind. The country, however, won’t be allowed to).
Parliament, said Mrs May, had ‘overwhelmingly voted for this to be a decision of the British people’.
Well, no. Parliament had ‘overwhelmingly’ voted for the referendum to be advisory only, and for Parliament to make the final decision. (But so supportive of democracy is Mrs May, that she doesn’t want that to happen).
She also didn’t mention that the British people themselves didn’t ‘overwhelmingly vote’ for Brexit. The margin between Leave and Remain was wafer thin; only a minority of registered voters voted for Leave, and two of the four countries of our Union of the United Kingdom didn’t want Brexit (and still don’t want it).
Mrs May talked about wanting a Brexit arrangement that will enable the people of Britain and Europe to be prosperous in the future. But the vast majority of economists, and the government’s own Brexit assessments, forecast that Brexit of whatever flavour will make us poorer – us, more than the rest of Europe.
The French journalist, Sonia Delesalle-Stolper, from Libération newspaper, then asked whether it was time for the Prime Minister ‘to tell the truth’ to the British and to the Europeans that there would be some kind of border in Northern Ireland.
It could be a light border or a high-tech border, but there would be a border.
Mrs May didn’t give a straight answer, even though just a minute earlier she had claimed that, “Unlike some politicians I’m actually being straight with people.”
Mrs May said that, ‘there will be no hard border in Northern Ireland’, but avoided the question of whether there would be any type of border.
For sure, the only two foreign journalists to ask questions at Theresa May’s speech today asked the best ones. At the end of her answers, Mrs May’s lectern visibly wobbled.
That’s a sign, folks. We are in for a very wobbly time ahead.
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