Ed Miliband has claimed Theresa May’s government “couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery” in a scathing assessment of the latest setback in Brexit talks.
The former Labour leader’s intervention comes after yesterday’s spectacular collapse of a deal on the Irish border - one of the thorniest issues in phase one of Brexit negotiations.
Miliband, who has grown in popularity since Labour’s 2015 election defeat, called May’s Cabinet “an absolutely ludicrous, incompetent, absurd, make it up as you go along, couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery bunch of jokers”.
His criticism though was not echoed by senior members of the Labour front bench, who were challenged this morning by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to step up.
Sturgeon called on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to join her in opposing the ‘hard Brexit’ of quitting the single market and customs union, telling Labour to “get its act together”.
But Labour, along with the Tories and their government partners the DUP, had no one on the agenda-setting Today programme on Radio Four Tuesday morning.
Host Nick Robinson said the parties had specifically asked their representatives not to appear.
May had gone to Brussels yesterday hoping to nail down the final parts of the border deal.
But the agreement was sunk by DUP, the small pro-Brexit Northern Irish party propping up May’s Government, which rejected the idea of the province leaving the EU on different terms to mainland Britain.
In the void left by the major parties on Today, former Foreign Office permanent secretary Lord Ricketts went on the programme to attack the PM.
He said: “It’s pretty extraordinary that this wasn’t all stitched up with the DUP beforehand.
“We’re used to prime ministers going to Brussels and having a row with the EU and coming back without an agreement but to go agree with the EU and then have a row on your own side is inconvenient.”
Corbyn did tweet about Brexit on Monday evening, calling May’s Government “completely ill-equipped to negotiate a successful deal”.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson also hit out at the prospect of Britain being “divided by different deals for different home nations”.
“While I recognise the complexity of the current negotiations, no government of the Conservative and Unionist Party should countenance any deal that compromises the political, economic or constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” she said.