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No, Theresa May's Brexit objectives are crystal clear

Far from being inscrutable, the Prime Minister's destination has been set out in detail. 

Theresa May will outline her thoughts on what Brexit means in greater detail this month, and some of the details are in this morning’s Telegraph“May sets out vision for Brexit” is their splash.

“At last!” will be the cry from some quarters: some detail on what May’s plans are beyond banal soundbites like “Brexit means Brexit” and “red, white and blue Brexit”.

On this one, however, I think the Prime Minister’s getting an rap for inscrutability she doesn’t quite deserve. As I’ve written before, we were told what it is that the government’s Brexit red lines were in May’s first speech at Tory conference: for Britain to have control over its own borders and to no longer be subject to the judgements of the European Court of Justice.

We’ve also been given a fairly big steer based on what ministers haven’t ruled out: that is, continuing to pay money to the European Union after we’ve left. Or, to translate it into Vote Leave speak: we will be able to prevent 75 million Turks from moving to the UK but we won't have £350m to give to the NHS every week. In fact, for the first time, we may well be handing £350m to the European Union, as we will likely continue to pay without receiving money back in kind.  

It’s crystal clear what not being subject to the free movement of people and leaving the ECJ means: a hard Brexit, with no continuing membership of the single market.

And it’s equally clear that the government’s hope is that it can use its status as a major contributor to the EU budget to buy a measure of the access it needs in order to keep the banks sweet and Nissan chugging out cars in Sunderland. 

Of course, it’s not at all clear that this is a deal that will work for the EU27 or indeed for the best interests of the UK. But it’s hard to truthfully argue that we don’t have a pretty good idea what it is that the government wants out of Brexit: it’s just that we don’t like it.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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