Is there something in the water at BBC broadcasting house? First Theresa May appears on Marr where she refuses to answer a question on Trident four times, then Diane Abbott comes up blank four times on Sunday Politics when asked about Labour’s Brexit position.
The shadow home secretary struggled as Andrew Neil asked her a series of questions regarding her party’s position on exiting the European Union. Although Jeremy Corbyn previously suggested there would be a three-line whip on MPs to vote for Article 50, Abbott refused four times to say how the party will whip the vote. In an attempt to clarify her party’s Brexit stance, Abbott went on to say that ‘money is neither here nor there’ regarding paying the EU funds post-Brexit — while insisting that Labour’s position is ‘rooted in reality’:
DA: The reality is that you cannot have the benefits of being a member of the EU — including being a member of the single market — without the responsibilities, and they include free movement.
AN: Just for clarification, they include freedom of movement, remaining under the jurisdiction of the European court of justice, and paying the membership fee required. That’s Labour’s position?
DA: Our position is we put jobs in the economy first..
AN: You’ve said Labour wants to remain a member of the single market. I’m asking you: that’s the price tag that comes with it, does Labour agree with paying that price tag?
DA: We are not pre-empting negotiation. We can only tell you what our goals are and our goals are to protect jobs and the British economy.
With Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, last week finding mild praise for Theresa May’s announcement that Britain will leave the single market, Mr S suspects that Abbott’s words will have only confused the public further on what Labour’s Brexit position is.