It just wouldn’t be a Theresa May speech without one colossal clanger and she didn’t let us down today.
The gaffe prone PM managed to slip up on the most sensitive issue surrounding Brexit negotiations – the Irish border.
She wanted to send an unequivocal message about her Government’s intentions after the controversy caused by Boris Johnson’s barmy comparisons between the Irish border and the border between Camden and Westminster.
Instead she said what many really believe will be the consequence of the hard Brexit she’s pursuing:
Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith and anti-Brexit peer Andrew Adonis called it a “Freudian slip”:
So, apart from the Freudian slip about wanting a hard border (!) nothing new on NI – just a rehashing of last summer’s suggestion of opting small biz out of checks and a ‘trusted traders’ scheme for big biz, facilitated by ‘technology’…an approach David Davis called ‘blue-sky’!
— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith_MP) March 2, 2018
Mrs May’s speech will be remembered for Freudian slip when she said she wanted to ‘achieve a hard border in Northern Ireland.’ Precisely what the Brexiters & DUP intend, while claiming the opposite.
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) March 2, 2018
Perhaps the PM had her own words from 2016 in her mind as she was speaking.
Scrapbook reported yesterday on the emergence of an interview she did before the referendum in which she warns a hard Brexit would mean a hard border in Ireland.
She said then:
“If you pulled out of the EU and came out of free movement then how could you have a situation where there was an open border with a country which was in the EU and had access to free movement?”
May’s speech today was supposed to be about facing up to hard facts about the future outside the EU.
With so many unanswered questions remaining over the Irish border, her comment could yet turn out to be another hard fact rather than a Freudian slip…