Prime Minister Theresa May warned today that “hyped media reports” about the Government’s plan for leaving the European Union will be bad for Britain.
She outlined the Government’s priorities for its upcoming negotiations around leaving the European Union at a speech in London. And she said she would rather have no deal with the EU than a bad one.
And she warned of the importance that politicians “maintain our discipline” by not revealing further details to the press.
She said: “This is not a game or a time for opposition for opposition’s sake. It is a crucial and sensitive negotiation that will define the interests and the success of our country for many years to come. And it is vital that we maintain our discipline.
“That is why I have said before – and will continue to say – that every stray word and every hyped up media report is going to make it harder for us to get the right deal for Britain.
“Our opposite numbers in the European Commission know it, which is why they are keeping their discipline. And the ministers in this Government know it too, which is why we will also maintain ours.
“So however frustrating some people find it, the Government will not be pressured into saying more than I believe it is in our national interest to say. Because it is not my job to fill column inches with daily updates, but to get the right deal for Britain. And that is what I intend to do.”
Speaking at a City University debate about reporting on Brexit in November, Sky News political reporter Beth Rigby talked about the effects of the current perceived information vacuum at Downing Street.
She said: “If the people in power won’t give you information you just have to go and find it somewhere else. How do you cover Brexit, how do cover what Theresa May’s plans are vis a vis the single market, customs union, hard brexit, soft brexit, freedom of movement?
“If you can’t get information from Number 10, and I would say she runs it like she ran the Home Office – which is like a fiefdom where everything is just sealed off. She tries to funnel everything that comes out of Whitehall through Number Ten.
“If you can’t find out information you will get it from somewhere else, so what will happen is reporters will go to Nissan, they will go to big companies, they will go to thinktanks, they will go to backbenchers who used to work for the Teasury who might have ins…It makes it harder.
“I think if I was a PR adviser I would tell my client the thing to do is to give journalists enough information to feed the beast because if you give them enough, if we’ve got enough to keep us busy, we don’t go chasing the really hard stuff you don’t want.
“But they haven’t learned that so we are now chasing the stuff you don’t want. That’s why they are having lots of leaks and uncontrolled coverage, which is great.”