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No pressure, but this Brexit impasse is such an opportunity for Labour

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30.04.2019

The Brexit wars have produced few outright victories and lots of losers but that doesn’t mean there are no winners. As things stand, Labour is having a far better Brexit than the Government. Consider it from Camp Corbyn’s point of view: the Government has tacitly given up on getting its deal through the Commons on a simple vote and is now trying to get “something across the line”, by way of indicative votes on options, which makes it hostage to what the Opposition might support.

For all the talk of more “upbeat” meetings this week, the likely outcome is sure to benefit Corbyn more than Theresa May. As a former Cabinet minister observes tartly, “whoever looks nicer wins”. So May’s team grit their teeth and make spending commitments. So far so doable — it’s not a million miles from May’s crusade to alleviate hardship for “just about managing” Britain but it will be packaged by Corbyn as a palliative for Tory austerity.

More devil is in the detail of the clause on environmental protection and workers’ rights, which are by nature elastic and subject to trade-offs. This will give Labour another opportunity — if there is a miraculous breakthrough — to claim it “won” the negotiation.

The whole exercise is a deft rebranding one for Team Corbyn. It has allowed a hardline Leftist shadow chancellor the chance to stake out ground as a grizzled veteran and his protégé, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, a chance to hone her slight experience in negotiations and raise her profile in an area dominated by shadow........

© Evening Standard