Pro-Brexit newspapers are split over Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal being put to the House of Commons this evening, with some backing it and others describing it as a “dreadful deal”.
May’s deal will go the the House of Commons for a vote tonight that is expected to go against her, with some publications predicting that the Government could lose by as many as 200 votes.
The Daily Mail has put its full weight behind the deal and the Prime Minister, again marking a shift in its Brexit editorial line under new editor Geordie Greig (who had at least one “social meeting” with the PM last year).
Its leader column today read: “In the Mail’s view, the choice before MPs is simple: accept a deal which delivers the main planks of Brexit — and provides the stability the nation yearns for. Or lead us into a dark and hazardous unknown.
“So to honourable members of all stripes, we make this plea. Before entering the division lobby at such a pivotal moment in our constitutional history, put personal prejudice aside and think very hard about where the overriding national interest lies.”
Once a backer of a hard Brexit, the Daily Express has opted to change tack and support the PM’s deal.
Speaking of “traitors” in Westminster, the paper’s leader said: “Former attorney-general Dominic Grieve, Speaker John Bercow, ex-prime minister John Major, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and the hopeless Jeremy Corbyn are all putting their own agendas or ambitions first and the future of this great country second.
“The people have voted and the people are now sick of this Brexit shambles. A deal is on the table and while we are the first to accept it is far from perfect, it is the only deal we have managed to secure.”
Fellow right-leaning tabloid The Sun has stuck to its harder line on Brexit, arguing that letters between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and May about the Irish backstop, attempting to soothe border concerns, would have “held some weight” had the EU not “repeatedly boasted that it had us over a barrel”.
It added: “Its earnest promises that the Irish backstop would only be temporary are not legally binding — and Theresa May will still lose heavily tonight. This destruction of good faith is the EU’s fault.”
Left-leaning red top the Mirror shared its competitor’s dislike of the deal, urging politicians to “find a better way forward”.
The broadsheet press also aired differences of opinion over the plan.
The Times’ view is that there is “no clear alternative” to Theresa May’s deal that would be backed by a majority in the Commons and that defeat of the deal would be a “recipe for chaos”.
The Guardian was not so keen on the deal going through, pushing the PM to “ask the EU to allow an extension of the Brexit deadline” and for the country to have a “real dialogue via a citizens’ assembly about where the country should go”.
The Daily Telegraph leader headline urged MPs to vote down the “dreadful deal” put forward by May.
Brexit-backing newspapers showed a similar split when Theresa May came back with her 585-page agreement with the EU over the terms of Brexit in November.
Picture: The Daily Mail/The Daily Telegraph