Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves has plunged Labour into yet another Brexit policy muddle. On Sunday morning she attempted to whack the government’s £700 million spend to toughen up border infrastructure as “too little too late”. Yet that evening shadow Health minister Justin Madders, spoke against the spending on the BBC’s Westminster Hour saying “I’m not sure what we are getting ready for yet”. On top of this, in May Reeves told Sophy Ridge that she wanted “government to focus wholly at the moment on tackling the Coronavirus”. If May was too early and now is too late when did Reeves want the border bolstering to come?..
Yesterday in the Commons, Reeves repeated her “too little too late” maxim, telling MPs that:
“The best way to help all businesses to prepare is, of course, to agree a deal with the European Union on the terms that we were told to expect. That means no fees, charges, tariffs or quantitative restrictions across all sectors. It does not mean, as we heard in the statement today, customs, physical checks, export declarations, a commodity code, and economic operator restrictions and identification”
A curious argument from Reeves as surely she knows leaving the Single Market and Customs Union does mean all these things, whether the UK ends up in an Australia-style relationship or Canadian-style Free Trade Agreement. Stronger border infrastructure is part of the point of taking back control. Or has she perhaps inadvertently revealed Labour’s secret Brexit plan – trap the U.K. in the EU customs union and single market by the back door?