The People’s Vote campaign today publishes (http://bit.ly/2FzSlDt) a new analysis exposing the risks of alternative Brexit proposals and warns that any such plan is likely to fail unless the public are given the final say.
Speaking at a Westminster press conference, leading figures from the three biggest parties in the House of Commons will set out the flaws in various Brexit proposals - including Labour’s plan, the so-called Common Market 2.0 idea, a no deal departure and Canadian-style Free Trade Agreement – and insist that any deal must be put to the people.
After the press conference an ad-van will be unveiled outside the venue with images of Saturday’s million-strong march, declaring: “Any Brexit plan is doomed to fail…unless it is put to the people.” The ad-van will tour Westminster for the rest of the day.
Margaret Beckett, the Labour MP and former Foreign Secretary, has proposed a motion that says no Brexit deal should be implemented unless or until the British people have approved it in a confirmatory public vote.
She will say:
“It is extraordinary that, just two days before the original deadline for Brexit and little more than two weeks before a new one is upon us, Parliament is only now beginning to ask whether there is an alternative.
“Today, at long last, MPs will get the chance to debate such proposals.
“Some of them are designed to mitigate the worst economic effects of Brexit. But they all involve significant trade-offs that need to be weighed very carefully. Too often, claims are being made for forms of Brexit that will wither in the spotlight.
“We cannot end freedom of movement and enjoy all the benefits of the single market.
"We cannot avoid paying money into the European Union and be members of the club. We cannot be outside the EU and expect to have any real say in the trade deals the EU negotiates inside. In short, we cannot have our cake and eat it.
“Ultimately, Brexit is a straight choice. A harder Brexit will be painful. A softer Brexit will be pointless. All forms of Brexit, of course, deserve proper and urgent scrutiny. If Parliament is to avoid turning chaos into catastrophe by accidentally crashing out of the EU with no deal at all, we must decide which version we prefer.
“But to force any of them on the people of the United Kingdom now will inevitably leave many millions of voters feeling dissatisfied, disillusioned and dismayed. I am prepared to vote for some form of Brexit deal to avoid a no deal departure. But only if MPs let the people vote on it too.”
Dominic Grieve QC, the Conservative MP and former Attorney General, is expected to say:
“What is absolutely clear is this: neither Parliament nor the country want the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal to pass. The reason why it may yet be resurrected is not because it has been improved. The fundamental and principled objections to it from MPs like me who voted to stay in the EU three years ago, as well as those who voted to Leave, are undiminished.
“No, the reason is that some MPs who support a very hard form of Brexit have come to realise that they won’t get their way. And so it appears some of my parliamentary colleagues want to help force through this deal, something they don’t want and the public don’t want, because they are worried about what the British people might say if they are allowed a final say. You don’t really need me to tell you that this is a very bad way to make big decisions.
“We now know that the promises made in 2016 are not going to be met by this deal. We now know that businesses and families across the country are already discovering there are real costs associated with this Brexit deal.
“We now know this deal offers no real clarity about our eventual destination, with all the biggest questions about our future relationship with the EU postponed until after we’re supposed to leave. It merely guarantees that the arguments will go on and on.
“We should all remember – some of us can’t forget – that last week the Prime Minister was trying to play MPs off against the people. Well, on Saturday I marched with MPs and an awful lot of people to make a simple and very reasonable demand: that this deal - or any Brexit deal that can be agreed by MPs - be put to the people.”
Stephen Gethins MP, the Scottish National Party MP for North East Fife said:
“We are about to make one of the most profound decisions for generations which will make a profound impact on generations and I think in these circumstances it is incredibly important that we scrutinise all of the options, that we look at all of the different ways out of this mess.
“If that means we all have to compromise, if that means we all have to look at different ways of doing things then that’s fine. That’s why it is so important we put any final decision back to the people in a referendum with remain as an option.
“I find it extraordinary that the Prime Minister does not want to look at an extension, doesn’t want to get this right, because she is scared of fighting the European Parliamentary elections.
“I say to the Prime Minister, we need to fight these elections, give ourselves the space and time and let’s have that referendum and give people the final say.”
Notes to editors
A link to report is here: http://bit.ly/2FzSlDt