Former diplomat in humiliating takedown of the Sun’s political editor

PUBLISHED: 09:39 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:47 21 September 2018

An arrangement of newspapers following the triggering of Article 50. Photograph: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images.

An arrangement of newspapers following the triggering of Article 50. Photograph: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images.

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When the Sun’s political editor pondered how Theresa May could have got it so wrong at the Salzburg summit he probably wasn’t banking on a former British diplomat joining the conversation.

“The PM has undergone an almost unprecedented humiliation here today,” mused Tom Newton Dunn, before asking “how did her No 10/UKREP team allow it to come to pass? Bad intelligence? Huge miscalculation?”

While Brexiteers and Remainers alike had their own ideas of where things had gone wrong, none replied in such a succinct and powerful way as Arthur Snell, a former high commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago.

He knew exactly where to point the finger – and it was somewhere closer to home.

In a Twitter thread Snell pointed out exactly how the Sun’s hostile coverage of the EU, and those against a hard Brexit, had contributed to May’s “miscalculation.”

“Your bilious paper has been denigrating government expertise on the EU for YEARS!” claimed Snell. “Barely a week goes by when you don’t condemn the foreign office and known experts as ‘europhile elites’.”

He then continued to list examples of the newspaper’s pro-Brexit coverage which has contributed to the political climate the prime minister now finds herself in.

He said that the newspaper had printed “bullshit” from leading Brexiteers like Daniel Hannan, that they had claimed there were ulterior motives regarding the Irish border, and pointed out that those with serious questions about Brexit had been branded “the enemy.”

He added: “You abuse our negotiating partners just as talks hit a critical phase. You use disgusting violent language to describe perfectly legitimate political positions and then claim to be mystified by the rise of hate crimes.”

Snell summarised that the newspaper had attempted to “undermine every aspect of Britain’s Brexit negotiations” and then had the “incredible, ludicrous gall to complain that the prime minister had ‘bad intelligence’ and had been guilty of ‘miscalculation’.

The thread had been applauded and widely shared across Twitter.

One user commented: “If this were directed at me, I’d hide under a rock and never come out.”

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