When asked whether her views on Brexit are to blame for the drop in the pound, May said:
I am tempted to say that the people who are getting it wrong are those who print things saying I’m talking about a hard Brexit, it is absolutely inevitable it is a hard Brexit. I don’t accept the terms soft and hard Brexit.
What kind of Brexit?
But it is exactly these kinds of ambiguous statements that cause confusion over Brexit. And previous statements, including “Brexit means Brexit” and “red, white and blue Brexit”, have done nothing to instil confidence. Over and over again, May has failed to set out her vision for what Brexit means and how it will impact the UK.
Setting the record straight
May’s interview was supposed to add clarity to her views. Asked whether access to the single market is more important than controlling immigration, May replied:
We are leaving, we are coming out, we are not going to be a member of the EU any longer. We will have control of our borders, control of our laws, but we still want the best possible deal for UK companies to trade with and operate within the European Union and also European companies to trade with and operate within the UK.
She further stated that:
We mustn’t think about this as somehow we’re coming out of membership but we want to keep bits of membership. What we must say is what is the right relationship for a United Kingdom that is no longer a member of the European Union. The best possible deal for the UK will also be a good deal for the EU.
The media response
The media response was mixed. Some outlets did interpret her comments as an indication that her government is willing to leave the single market. But many pointed to May’s inability to answer straight questions on her plans for Brexit as one of the problems. BBC political correspondent Susana Mendonca commented:
Theresa May doesn’t like to give a running commentary on Brexit, so you have to read between the lines on this one.
While she didn’t go as far as to say she would ditch single market access in favour of being free to control EU immigration, she certainly appeared to hint at it.
The Huffington Post reported that May:
refused to confirm the UK is set to leave the Single Market.
What we got today were bits of half sentences that the Prime Minister has been using for the last six months.
And this is the problem. May’s comments are mindless soundbites with no meaning. The media is left to “read between the lines” because she refuses to offer clear statements about the government’s intentions.
The decisions over Brexit will affect generations to come. Theresa May needs to take responsibility for her own statements. She needs to set a clear vision for what she thinks the UK will look like post-Brexit. It is too important for soundbites and tantrums.
And if she continues to refuse to give straight answers, she only has herself to blame. She was given a media platform to set out her views on Brexit. But she failed to set out a coherent strategy. And the markets reacted accordingly.
– Support The Canary.
– Read our articles about Brexit.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?