Unicorns and pigeons: Things we learned about Brexit

1) Labour are big fans of unicorns

On Tuesday, Labour announced it will with a demand for the government to negotiate “full access” to the EU‘s single market with “no new impediments to trade”.

However, the party resisted calls for it to back the UK remaining in the single market through membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer admitted the party could not support EEA membership as MPs remain divided on the issue.

Image: There was a lot of Brexit news this week

Critics claimed Labour‘s new stance was representative of a “cake and eat it” attitude towards Brexit, with the party accused of misleading voters and “peddling snake oil”.

It was also suggested the party‘s position would mean the UK continuing to accept the EU‘s free movement rules on immigration after Brexit, despite Labour‘s manifesto stating free movement will end when Britain departs the EU.

Henry Newman, director of the Open Europe think tank and a former adviser to Michael Gove, said: “Because it‘s opposition politics they can promise unicorns without worrying about having to deliver them.”

2) The PM won‘t reveal when her Brexit plan will be published – but is happy to talk about pigeons

At , Theresa May failed to answer Jeremy Corbyn‘s questions on when a promised white paper on the government‘s negotiating position for a future EU-UK relationship will be published.

Image: The PM will sponsor a pigeon – but wouldn't answer questions on Brexit

She also dodged the Labour leader‘s questions on when the government would reveal its preferred model for new customs arrangements with the EU.

However, the prime minister did tell Tory backbencher Chris Davies she would be “happy” to sponsor a pigeon in the House of Commons versus House of Lords pigeon race.

3) Brexit is always three years away

On Thursday, the government published a new proposal for a backstop solution to the Irish border issue, in the event a wider EU-UK agreement does not prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Brexit Secretary , following crisis talks with the prime minister, when the plan was amended to include a time limit on the proposal, which the document revealed would see the UK remain in temporary customs arrangement with the EU until December 2021 “at the latest”.

This prompted one Twitter user to point out Brexit always appears to be three years away; after the government triggered Article 50, then agreed a transition deal, and then proposed the backstop plan.

Tim Jones wrote: “Is Brexit always three years away?

“2016 = ‘We will leave in 2019‘, 2017 = ‘We will leave in 2020‘, 2018 = ‘We will leave in 2021‘.”

4) David Davis is an angry, angry, angry man

After his battle with the prime minister over the backstop proposal, which prompted speculation he was on the verge of quitting the government, friends of Mr Davis told Sky News he is frustrated with Mrs May.

Image: Brexit Secretary David Davis

As Sky News‘ senior political correspondent Beth Rigby noted: “He is angry that the white paper on the UK‘s future relationship with the EU has been shelved until after the European Council summit at the end of this month; angry that the customs arrangements decision has been delayed; angry that he‘s been sidelined by Mrs May‘s most senior Brexit civil servant Olly Robbins.”

Read Beth‘s full piece .

5) Boris believes Trump would negotiate a better Brexit – and the PM backs him

On Thursday night, a leaked recording of Foreign Secretary to a group of Tory activists revealed his thoughts about the government‘s handling of Brexit.

Mr Johnson said the outcome of the negotiations could fall short of the hopes and demands of Brexiteers like him.

He hit out at the attitude of Chancellor Philip Hammond‘s Treasury, dismissing it as “the heart of Remain”, and said it was time for Mrs May to be “more combative” with Brussels.

0:49 Video: Johnson: Leaked audio on Brexit and Trump

And the foreign secretary also admitted there could be a “meltdown” after Brexit, with some “bumps in the road”, but claimed people should not panic and everything would be all right in the end.

However, most notably, Mr Johnson even suggested Donald Trump could do a better job on Brexit than the government.

Downing Street insisted the prime minister retained “full confidence” in Mr Johnson.