During today’s PMQs, a clearly rattled Theresa May made an embarrassing slip. And as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pointed out, maybe it’s time she stepped aside and let someone else get this job done.
Customs union. These two fairly dull words are keeping Theresa May awake at night right now. Both of her party’s plans have already been ruled out by European negotiators. This means that, months away from leaving the EU, the PM can’t tell businesses or anyone else how UK-EU trade will work once we do. The issue has now split May’s cabinet in half. Theresa May and her fellow Remainers want to thrash out a new ‘customs arrangement’. Meanwhile, hard-Brexiters see this plan as May’s effort to maintain the status quo. Deadlock.
What a farce. Cabinet fighting over 2 customs options: neither workable; neither acceptable to EU; and neither would get support in a vote in Parliament. https://t.co/lodaidOjcm
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) May 14, 2018
Just to make matters worse, at today’s PMQs, May made a Freudian slip that dropped a match on the powder keg. While (attempting to avoid) answering a question about her preferred post-Brexit replacement for the customs union, May accidentally said she would like to create a “customs union”.
Not noticing her slip-up, May continued on. But chancellor Philip Hammond can be seen widening his eyes in realisation before reinstalling his poker face.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 16, 2018
May’s official spokesman was quick to shut the matter down after PMQs. But given the state of Brexit negotiations, and her intransigent and divided cabinet, that’s unlikely to happen.
To make matters worse, she was facing a buoyant and united Labour front bench. Responding to her failure to negotiate even the most basic agreements with the EU, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded the PM “step aside” and let his team get the job done:
The Government is in complete disarray on Brexit and its reckless approach is putting jobs at risk.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 16, 2018
With the clock ticking to Brexit, and May yet to secure a single major deal – it may well be time to listen to Mr Corbyn.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
– Read and support other independent media outlets:
Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia, Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, The Skwawkbox, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via screengrab
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?