Rebecca Long-Bailey parrots Tory lines in difficult interview
Shadow business secretary tipped for Labour's top job struggled with Andrew Neil's interrogation
Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey became the latest, and possibly last, victim of Andrew Neil's aggressive Sunday Politics interview style when she was reduced to trotting out Conservative slogans to defend Labour's Brexit position.
In a widely derided interview she told the veteran interviewer that Labour wanted to 'have its cake and eat it' on Britain's terms of leaving the EU. That echoes Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's line that he is "pro having my cake and pro eating it" and led Neil to suggest that she's on the 'same wavelength' as Johnson.
Later in the interview she insisted "Brexit means Brexit", the phrase made famous by Theresa May in the months before she triggered Article 50, leading to more hard questions about whether Labour wants to stay in the single market and the customs union after Britain leaves the EU in 2019. Long-Bailey explained that Labour wanted to retain the benefits of the customs union and also have the ability to negotiate new trade deals. Currently the rules of the customs union prevent members from striking their own deals with other countries.
Having her cake and eating it was not the only cliche that Long-Bailey turned to. She also repeatedly said that "we must not cut off our nose to spite our face". Neil blasted that her arguments were "untenable".
Yesterday's Sunday Politics is believed to be Andrew Neil's last. The 68-year-old former Sunday Times editor is rumoured to be giving up doing the weekend show and winding down his appearances on the Daily Politics.