Labour frontbenchers go AWOL as Theresa May’s Chequers deal goes pop
Why was no Labour senior politican up for talking about it on the Today programme?
Theresa May’s humiliating failure to get any kind of support from EU leaders for her beleaguered Brexit strategy has sent Remain-supporting politicians into understandable meltdown.
"The EU27 could not be clearer. Chequers is over, whatever Theresa May might suggest. Whatever comes out of the negotiations now will inevitably be a very bad deal for Britain," fumed Jo Swinson for the People’s Vote campaign.
Former Tory justice minister Phillip Lee said that the only democratic course of action now would be to suspend Article 50.
More dramatically, Labour peer Andrew Adonis called for parliament to be recalled on Monday – in the middle of the Labour party conference.
But on Twitter, it was the furious takedown on The Sun by experienced former diplomat Arthur Snell that many Remainers were loving the most.
Labour’s rather straight official response landed in journalist inboxes within minutes of Donald Tusk saying that the Chequers deal won’t not work.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said: “It has been clear for weeks that Theresa May’s Chequers’ proposals cannot deliver the comprehensive plan we need to protect jobs, the economy and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. With just weeks to go until a deal must be struck, the Prime Minister cannot keep ignoring this reality.”
But there was no sign of Starmer – or any other Labour politician - on the UK’s flagship news programme the next morning. It meant that the field on the Today programme was left clear for hardcore Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith, May loyalist James Brokenshire and non-aligned Remain campaigner Gina Miller.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn seemed more interested in Wolf Alice winning the Mercury Prize.
It’s fair to say that some people were not impressed…