The Daily Mail’s frontpages make for contradictory reading, writes Liz Gerard.
When Theresa May set out her tough position ahead of her negotiations with the EU, the Daily Mail was in full support for her hardline stance, declaring, in October 2016, ‘This lady’s not for turning’.
As the talks progressed, the newspaper set down a series of its own red lines a break from all European institutions, especially the European Court of Justice; Soft Brexit would be a betrayal of Brexit; membership of the single market or customs union would mean staying in the EU, in all but name; there had to be an end to free movement; we had to play hardball over the divorce bill, and if the EU demanded outrageous sums – £40bn, £50bn, £90bn – they could go whistle.
So how did the newspaper react last Saturday, when discussions in Brussels finally ended and May returned with a deal which seemed to breach all those red lines – a payment of £40bn, staying in the single market and customs union indefinitely, allowing continued free movement, and accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ? Disgust?
No. It told readers to ‘Rejoice!’
PS: It was left to the paper’s Irish edition to join the dots, telling readers ‘A soft exit is now the only option’.