Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry put her head in her hand as a Daily Mail journalist aggressively advocated Hard Brexit on Question Time.
Isabel Oakeshott, the paper’s political editor at large, said “soft Brexit” was “synthetic Brexit” and the harder line of “Hard Brexit”, which would include leaving the Single Market, would be “what people voted for”.
She spoke after Thornberry discussed the 170 questions Labour has put to the Tories about what Brexit will look like and condemned the Tories for not detailing their vision for it while signalling Britain would leave the Single Market.
Oakeshott called the 170 questions an “absolute absurdity” and shot Thornberry a scornful look, saying she had had the “displeasure” of listening to her discussing Labour’s immigration policy on the radio.
Thornberry pulled a face at this.
Oakeshott continued: “I would like to get of this term ‘Hard Brexit’. It is designed to intimidate. It is a continuation of Project Fear.
“Let’s think about what Soft Brexit is. Soft Brexit is sellout Brexit, it is synthetic Brexit. Hard Brexit is real Brexit. It’s what people voted for, which is control over our borders.”
It was around this point that Thornberry put her head in her hands and said: “Oh dear. Oh no. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”
Oakeshott’s comment received rapturous applause from the audience.
On Thursday, EU Council President Donald Tusk told an audience in Brussels that Hard Brexit was the only way Britain could leave the EU.
“The only real alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit, even if today hardly anyone believes in such a possibility,” he said.
He mocked the notion Britain could retain Single Market membership while opting out of any its concessions, such as the free movement of people.
This week’s Question Time came from the RAF Museum in Hendon, north London. Oakeshott and Thornberry were joined by ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond, editor-at-large of The Independent Amol Rajan and Work And Pensions Secretary Damian Green.