Morning Briefing: Brexiters made this mess - Labour won't back deal - public aren't buying it
The Brexiters landed the country in this frightful mess. They must not be allowed to wash their hands of it.
As Dominic Raab and Esther McVey abandon ship - and Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and Penny Mordaunt consider their positions - they will undoubtedly be preparing a “stab in the back” narrative: “If only Theresa May hadn’t betrayed Brexit, we would have got to the sunlit uplands.”
While it is true that the prime minister has produced a miserable deal, the whole project was rotten from the start. The Brexiters never had a viable plan and they still don’t.
They pushed May into triggering Article 50 before she had a plan. And now the country is landed with a deal that does the opposite of what was promised: we will lose control not take it back. And we will damage our economy and public services too.
But for all the huffing and puffing by Raab and Gove - and the plotting by Boris Johnson, David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg - the only alternatives to the prime minister’s deal are to crash out with no deal or have a People's Vote.
The Brexiters complain that May isn’t a true believer. But what did they expect when they ran away from the chance to lead the country after the referendum? Never forget that Gove stabbed Johnson in the back - and that Johnson himself then bottled it and pulled out of the race to become prime minister when he still had a fighting chance. They do not have any right to complain.
Although these hardliners still have support in parts of the pro-Brexit press - especially The Telegraph and The Sun - they are now being attacked by other Tory papers. Most strikingly, the Daily Mail - in its front page splash today - accuses them of being “preening saboteurs” and asks: “Have they lost the plot?” Its long editorial is vitriolic about them.
Philip Collins takes up a similar theme in The Times, criticising “saboteurs” in a column entitled: “Delusional Brexiteers have lost the plot.” He ends up giving qualified support for a People’s Vote, an idea he had previously resisted.
The prime minister is, for the moment, holding her ground against the plotters. But her deal is in tatters. As I wrote yesterday for InFacts, it looks like it is going down in flames. But only a tiny number of ideologues want to crash out with no deal at all. These are the key facts to bear in mind as the political drama unfolds. They mean that, whether May survives or not, a People’s Vote is the likely outcome as well as the only sensible choice.
Tweet of the Day
Labour Brexiters won’t support May
Support for May’s deal among Labour MPs is “ebbing away”, with both pro- and anti-EU MPs distancing themself from the deal, according to the FT.
Graham Stringer, a veteran Eurosceptic — one of 10 who backed Brexit in 2016 — told the paper he would not back the withdrawal agreement. “I haven’t found a Labour MP who is backing it yet.... I’ve probably talked to at least 20 today and I have not found any person.”
Kate Hoey, Gareth Snell and Dennis won’t back the deal, the paper said. Caroline Flint, Frank Field and John Mann were still considering their positions.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has demanded his party vote against the deal adding: “If we cannot get a general election... we will support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.”
Video of the Day
Public not buying deal
It’s not just the Brexiters in Parliament who want to tear up May’s lousy deal. A YouGov poll shows that 63% of the public want it rejected when ‘don’t know’s’ are excluded. Some 59% want a People’s Vote - a figure that rises to 64% if the deal is voted down.
Meanwhile, a Sky Data poll found that of the options May put on the table - her Brexit, hard Brexit, no Brexit - ‘no Brexit’ was overwhelmingly the most popular, racking up 54% support, while 55% want a People's Vote.
Meanwhile, one of the ministers sent out to defend the deal was busy making up figures for how popular it was. Rory Stewart had to eat his words.
Quote of the Day
“What do you know about Geoffrey Boycott? Geoffrey Boycott stuck to it and he got the runs in the end.”
Theresa May puts a brave face on things. Boycott was out without scoring ten times in his test career.
Video of the Day 2
More Brexit news…
Caroline Criado-Perez : Women Are Still Being Shut Out By This Blokes' Brexit (HuffPost)
Tony Blair: It's elementary, the only way through this Brexit impasse is a second referendum (Telegraph)
David Aaronovitch: Brexiteers sank this ship and now they're deserting it (Times)
Today, Friday 16th November
|08.00||Theresa May on LBC with Nick Ferrari to defend her deal|
|09.30||ONS: Business Investment (July-September 2018)|