Boris Johnson’s critics happily queued up to take a pop at the Foreign Secretary when he said his position on Brexit was to ‘have our cake and eat it’. Yet it seems the Labour party is determined to take the same approach. Keir Starmer says Labour wants ‘full access to the internal market’ while retaining the ‘benefits of the single market’, even though the party has already ruled out free movement of people – a key EU demand. It fell to shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, to attempt to defend Labour’s ‘have-it-both-ways’ attitude to Brexit this morning:
Andrew Neil: Why would the EU agree to giving us full access without one of the key conditions, which is free movement of people?
Andy McDonald: Well, that’s the negotiation, Andrew.
AN: But they’ve already made it clear that’s not on. Right at the start, they called that ‘cherry picking’ – having your cake and eating it…
AN: Let me just get this straight: in return for full access, you are not going to agree to free movement of people, you are not sure about free movement of capital and you want your own state aid and subsidy regime. Do you think the Europeans are mad? Do you think they are going to give you any of that?
AMD: If the Europeans see this amendment passed by the British parliament, there would be a sensible conversation…
AN: It’s not going to pass, is it?
It’s true that the Tories aren’t exactly doing a great job of dealing with Brexit. But Mr S thinks the Labour party could also do with a reality check.