Ministers accused of 'shameless spin' over launch of no-deal Brexit media rebuttal team
Ministers have been accused of launching a “shameful spin machine” by setting up a team committed to hitting back at media reports about a no-deal Brexit.
The Cabinet Office confirmed that it had formed a “rapid rebuttal unit” that would react quickly to “inaccurate media reporting” on the potential impact of the UK leaving the European Union without an agreement in place.
It comes after the Sunday Telegraph reported that Michael Gove, who is responsible for leading the Government’s no-deal planning, was launching it to provide quick responses to “media myths and half-truths” about the risks of such an outcome.
A spokesperson for the department said: “All government departments are responsible for responding to inaccurate media reporting in their areas.”
“A team focusing on reacting quickly to Brexit-related stories is being established as part of preparations to leave the EU on 31 October, so as to reassure the public that the government will be full prepared for the UK to leave then, whatever the circumstances.”
But the Liberal Democrats' Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said the new unit would be “nothing more than a spin machine trying to mask the danger and chaos a no-deal Brexit will cause”.
“The British public deserve the truth about the realities of what a no-deal Brexit will entail, but this is not what Gove's rebuttal unit will provide,” he said.
“Rebuttal units in the past have been nothing more than a colossal waste of time and money. It is another shameful amount of money the Conservatives can add to their Brexit tab.
“Boris Johnson's government are determined to drag us off the cliff edge in October and now are actively attempting to hide how this will affect our jobs, our businesses and our economy.”
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: “Setting up a no-deal spin unit is a pointless waste of taxpayers' money, and will do nothing to help avoid the years of chaos and uncertainty that will follow.”