We have had another week of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer slugging it out on the economy.

It is perhaps remarkable there is such friction between them on this front given there are some significant pieces of common ground between Labour and the Conservatives on key issues with a huge bearing on the economy.

The most obvious one is, of course, the embracing by both of the hard Brexit.

That also in the real world means, of course, a bizarre contentment to see the damage being done to the UK economy by Brexit continue unabated.

Sir Keir and Mr Sunak claim to be interested in growth.

However, they are entirely opposed to one thing which would give the UK a great fillip – rejoining the European single market.

Of course, it remains to be seen how the European Union would react to an approach from the UK about rejoining.

People have noted the EU has priorities other than the UK’s desires.

And you can see why the EU would be uninterested in Labour’s proposals to tinker around the edges of the trade and cooperation agreement.

In contrast, you would imagine that there might well be more interest from the EU if a future UK government were to hold up its hands, acknowledge the dire Brexit mistake of the Tories, and seek a path back to the single market.

Rejoining the EU might be politically challenging (though it would surely be possible if the will were there). However, it is difficult to see huge practical hurdles to the UK simply rejoining the single market. Especially if this were done before the UK got too far away from regulatory alignment with the EU. Of course, those hardliners who gave us Brexit are most enthusiastic about destroying such alignment, and it almost seems in some instances that they want to make sure the bridges are burned.

For now, of course, we are not going to find out what would transpire if the UK sought a way back into the single market.

Sir Keir is as enthusiastic about the hard Brexit as the Tories.

He has ruled out the UK rejoining the EU, the single market, or even the customs union. His deputy, Angela Rayner, has said Labour will never take the UK back into the single market or customs union.

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While the Tories and Labour have been at pains to avoid addressing the realities of Brexit, the SNP has been keen to discuss them.

Scottish First Minister John Swinney claimed in a speech last week at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen that there was a “dangerous conspiracy of silence” between Labour and the Conservatives on Brexit.

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Mr Swinney declared: “They do not want to talk about it - it is the elephant in the room at this election. And that’s important.”

He added: “Given the damage that Brexit has caused, it is absolutely astonishing that none of the Westminster parties are interested in repairing that damage.

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“They say they prioritise economic growth. But you can’t be a party of Brexit and a party of growth.”

The point about being unable to be a party of both Brexit and growth seems like a simple arithmetical truth.

For his part, Mr Sunak continues to try to portray the Conservatives as best for the economy.

It is a fascinating assertion, given the economic reality.

For years, the Brexiters got by with bluster on all issues related to their cause, and at times looked to have much of the electorate believing what they were doing was in some way good for the UK economy.

That myth is now swiftly being dispelled.

Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe, offers an astute analysis of where we are at with Brexit, from the perspective of the politicians, the electorate, and, crucially, the economy in the think tank’s manifesto analysis published on June 21.

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Mr Menon says in this report: “Five years is a long time in politics. The 2019 election was all about Brexit. Now, Brexit is the dog the large parties have effectively muzzled.”

He adds: “Brexit might be ‘done’ but it is not over. There is scope for future tensions over the protocol and the unique position of Northern Ireland. Upcoming negotiations over energy and fish, plus a scheduled review of the trade and cooperation agreement hold out the prospect of further collaboration or renewed conflict.

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“Meanwhile, public opinion has shifted quite dramatically, with poll after poll underlining decreasing support for Brexit. Finally, there is the elephant in the room. Brexit continues to impose costs on the British economy, and future governments will confront difficult choices as to how far they are willing to go to mitigate these.”

One big problem as things stand is that Labour, as well as the Conservative Government, is not talking about these “costs”.

It is impossible to conceive Labour and the Conservatives do not see this enormous damage.

The similarities of their Brexit stances are plain.

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Reflecting on what the Conservative and Labour manifestos say, UKICE senior fellow Jonathan Portes writes: “Neither will reverse Brexit, or rejoin the single market or customs union, and both are committed to new trade deals with countries beyond the EU, including India. But Labour will try to negotiate various deals with the EU to ‘make Brexit work’.”

Mr Sunak has, of course, been a Brexiter all along, so might be blinkered by ideology.

Sir Keir, however, argued vociferously against Brexit back in 2019. So he must see the damage in its entirety, surely?