Britain’s Papers Show a Nation Divided Over Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- The days of British newspapers rhapsodizing about the halcyon future facing the nation after it leaves the European Union seem like a distant memory this morning. Things got even worse after Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned in protest over the deal Prime Minister Theresa May reached over the terms of exiting the bloc.

The Sun held nothing back, saying May’s deal is soft and that she faces a tough battle to win over MPs to get the deal through parliament. It’s all a long way from the pro-Brexit illustrations that the newspaper used this year to show its support for exiting the EU and the BeLEAVE in Britain front page on the day after the referendum vote.

The Daily Mail, which has portrayed May as a Margaret Thatcher-style prime minister since she took office, is more supportive, saying no other Conservative could have pulled off a Cabinet agreement. “It’s no time for treachery,” the editorial comment says. Journalist Quentin Letts compares her to a tortoise, clambering “alone, impermeable, but somehow intact.”

The Times of London leads on the threat that there could be no Brexit at all if members of parliament don’t get behind the deal. They report that Esther McVey, the welfare secretary, is believed to be on the verge of quitting and lay out a number of issues, such as fishing rights, that have been effectively parked for now.

But the Guardian’s headline says it all.

The Financial Times reports that the Cabinet is on resignation watch as May braces for a backlash from lawmakers after approving the deal.

Meanwhile, Brexit didn’t even make the front page of The New York Times or Germany’s Bild, but did feature on page one of Le Figaro and business daily Les Echos in France. Almost all of the Italian dailies feature photos or stories about the cabinet approval on the front page. In Spain, El Mundo goes with “May Wins Tussle With Government” while El Pais focuses on the fact yesterday’s cabinet vote was really just an agreement on a pre-agreement.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.