While our free and fearless press is getting all righteous about BBC salaries - while not having to tell the world about the obscene amounts they bung their hacks and pundits, and whether their gender pay gap is worse than that at the Beeb - the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn has been creatively reinterpreting goings-on in Brussels in order to produce a story that meets with his bosses’ requirements.
It's painful when your trousers catch light
“NO EU-TURNS ALLOWED EU says Britain cannot back out of Brexit in bid to heap pressure on negotiating stance … Brussels document claims other EU members would also have to agree any change of heart” tells the headline, followed by the claim “THE EU has said for first time that Britain cannot reverse Brexit, in a bid to heap pressure on the UK’s negotiating stance”. This is a bold statement. It is also totally untrue.
But that inconvenient fact does not deter Newton Dunn, who goes on to tell “Europe’s treaties are unclear on whether member states who want to leave are allowed to change their mind during two years of exit talks … But The Sun can reveal that the European Commission quietly slipped out its own declaration on the Article 50 process last week”.
And he continues to dig that hole. “The Brussels document claims other EU members would also have to agree any change of heart, saying: ‘Once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed … Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of the notification’ … The move is being seen by ministers in Whitehall as a bid to turn the screw on our negotiators by closing down any back door route to win more time for talks”.
There was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with that idea - it was bollocks. As Jolyon Maugham pointed out to Newton Dunn, this has been public knowledge since March this year. In a brief summary titled “What does Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union say”, all is et out clearly.
“Once triggered, can Article 50 be revoked? It is up to the United Kingdom to trigger Article 50. But once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed. Notification is a point of no return. Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of notification”, it tells.
Newton Dunn is not only being dishonest, he is flagrantly misrepresenting the way the EU works. Nothing, but nothing, is “quietly slipped out”. The EU is open and transparent, concepts that are clearly alien to the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker.
Worse for the Sun’s political editor, he appears not to have researched his article before committing it for publication: after Maugham pointed out that the news claimed to have been “quietly slipped out” had been known about for months, Newton Dunn snapped back “Written down? Where? That's news to DexEU”. So did he take a Government source as gospel without bothering to check his facts? If so, that’s just inexcusable.
The result, though, is not subject to question: Tom Newton Dunn has effectively lied to order, further diminishing his already minimal credibility and demonstrating to anyone and everyone that he and his piss-poor “newspaper” are not fit to be trusted.
Once again, the advice is clear: Don’t Buy The Sun.