Brexit notes fill information vacuum

Brexit Secretary David Davis and other Cabinet ministers leaving Downing Street on Tuesday Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Politicians leaving Downing Street on Tuesday were keeping their papers firmly out of view

Quick, quick, another memo! This time, another tribute to the hawk-like eyes and instinct for a story that Steve Back, the legendary Downing Street snapper otherwise known @Politicalpictures, has revealed not what the government's policies are on how we leave the EU, but certainly, what ideas and plans are being discussed in political circles.

The suggestions, themselves, are not really a surprise. The French are expected to drive the hardest bargain, staying in the single market while controlling immigration is difficult in the extreme, and yes, some members of the government do want to "have their cake and eat it".

The picture is enough to give Downing Street indigestion. But as the last shenanigans over a memo suggested, unless and until Number 10 is willing to share more details of their plans, or at least be clearer about the broad answers to the questions, every scrap of information will be pored over by journalists and interested parties, eager, if not downright desperate, for more information. If there is a vacuum, others will fill it.

Downing Street is well aware of this. And some of the Number 10 team don't think it's a sustainable situation.

But in the absence of a traditionally functioning opposition - and look at today's polls which suggest a stonking lead for the Tories - this lack of information does not, at least, appear to be doing much wider harm.

Jeremy Corbyn's performance at PMQs has improved. But even though the government is vulnerable in many areas, Labour is not showing much sign of being able to chip away at the Tories' support. So why shouldn't Theresa May then stay completely schtum until the very last minute?

Maybe there won't be damage, not immediately, maybe not even in the medium term. But there are whispers among Theresa May's supporters and allies that she ought, as soon as possible, to be more explicit about what she wants to do.

Taking your time to make decisions, to be thorough, can be a strength. But take too long and suspicions, even on her own side, could start to grow of indecision.

And charges of dithering are a real attack on any politician's strength that could, in time, give way to accusations of political weakness.

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