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What the papers say: The time for a Brexit transition is running out

29 August 2017

8:36 AM

29 August 2017

8:36 AM

Is the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier actually serious about doing his job, wonders the Sun. In its editorial, the paper says that yesterday ‘yet another round’ of talks went by with hardly any progress. Once again, Barnier used the lack of any substance to complain. But the Sun is questioning whether this is all part of the plan: ‘The suspicion grows daily that Mr Barnier is hoping…to lengthen the impasse’, and that by doing so he’ll force the government to back down – or hold out for a second referendum to put paid to Brexit for good. This approach shows a ‘contemptible disregard’ for British voters who backed Brexit, argues the Sun. Yet Barnier isn’t the only one to blame here. The Sun also points the finger at Labour, suggesting that the EU’s position ‘may have been strengthened by Labour’s latest flip-flop on Brexit,’. Labour’s U-turn – to propose that Britain should stay in the single market for another four years – ‘smacks of rank short-term opportunism’. The party should remember what Brits voted for last June: ‘to leave the EU, strike our own trade deals and control our borders.’.

The Times says that when Michel Barnier says he is worried about the lack of progress in Brexit talks, he is far from alone. ‘With every week that an agreement on transitional agreements is postponed, its value is diminished’, argues the Times. And while the paper says that Labour can afford to flip-flop, the government cannot. With no firm transition deal in sight, companies are having to move forward contingency plans in order to prepare for the worst. ‘The further they travel down that road’, says the Times, ‘the harder it will be to turn back’. The paper says that firms can no longer push back ‘their post-Brexit investment and contract decisions’ for longer than a few months. And ‘if talk of transition comes in three months’ time, it could be too late,’ warns the Times.

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