Brexit | Hard to take issue with a single word of the first Evening Standard editorial under its new editor, George Osborne

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The question about our membership of the EU was,
however, the only question the British people were asked.
They were not asked about erecting trade barriers with key
export markets, ending collaboration on European science
or ceasing to co-operate with key neighbours on security
issues. British taxpayers were not asked to provide ongoing
subsidies to farmers, or about intervening in free markets to
support failing companies. On immigration, the public
clearly has concerns - but, as our exclusive poll today
shows, the public wants Britain to remain (as it always has
been) a destination for people across Europe who bring
their skills and work ethic to support our economy and
contribute to our society. The British people don’t want
clumsy immigration controls to contribute to the rising
prices we are already seeing as a result of Brexit. British
businesses want reassurance that they will continue to be
able to hire the right people to do the right jobs. Given these
competing pressures, it is not surprising our poll today
shows the public remains to be convinced that the
Government can meet its pledge to reduce immigration
numbers significantly.

No one should assume that the referendum gave a
mandate to the Government to answer any of these
questions about Britain’s future. It did not. A general
election victory for the Conservatives could provide more of
a mandate, but only if the Prime Minister and her colleagues
spell out in much more detail what their intentions are. It’s

early days, but that is not happening, thanks in part to the
failure of the desperately weak Labour leadership to offer a
proper opposition. There’s nothing wrong with repeating
election campaign slogans; the problem comes when the
election campaign amounts to no more than a slogan. If you
ask for a blank cheque, don’t be surprised if later it bounces.


Brexit | Hard to take issue with a single word of the first Evening Standard editorial under its new editor, George Osborne