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Analysis

Why is Telegraph distorting CBI’s views on Corbyn?

by Luke Lythgoe | 28.02.2018

Brexit has thrown us into a topsy-turvy world. It’s remarkable for example that the CBI, the UK’s leading business lobby, has backed a hard-left Labour leader’s Brexit policies over those of the Conservative party.

Is that too much for the pro-Tory Daily Telegraph to stomach? That’s what yesterday’s column by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard suggests, in which he twists the CBI’s comments to make it look like the organisation opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s recent Brexit policy shift.

Evans-Pritchard writes: “The CBI said the Corbyn plan goes only ‘part of the way to providing a real-world solution to the Irish border question that is of such urgent concern.’”

Notice the word “only” isn’t included in the quote. That’s because the official statement from CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn actually said: “Importantly, a customs union will go part of the way to providing a real-world solution to the Irish border question.”

The CBI statement was full of praise for Corbyn’s post-Brexit economic plan, barring a few concerned caveats about re-nationalisation. That’s because it’s a lot like the position the CBI adopted in January. It said a customs union would put jobs and living standards first and help grow trade, without accepting freedom of movement or payments to the EU.

Evans-Pritchard’s article is also unfair to Corbyn in suggesting his policy shift only partly solved the Irish problem. As well as proposing a customs union with the EU, the Labour leader also advocated “negotiating to support individual EU agencies, rather than paying more to duplicate those agencies” in the UK.

This cooperation on regulations, plus a customs union, would keep the Irish border open – albeit at the price of the UK becoming a rule-taker without a vote on how the EU’s single market is run. The only way, of course, to avoid border controls in Ireland and stay as one of Europe’s big powers is to cancel Brexit.

It’s a worrying time to be a Brexiter, with the political tide turning fast against hard Brexit. The Telegraph’s dishonest reaction to the CBI-Corbyn axis is a prime example of Brexiters on the run. Pro-Europeans must call out the Brexit press’s attempts to twist the debate, and make sure they don’t succeed.

InFacts approached the Telegraph for response on their article, but had not received a reply at time of publication.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

One Response to “Why is Telegraph distorting CBI’s views on Corbyn?”

  • I wouldn’t say the tide against Brexit is turning fast; I think on the whole people hardly care one way or another at this moment. Still lots of work to do and little time left to stop the Great Brexit Crash at the bottom of the cliff.