Morning briefing: Indy and Community union back People's Vote - no-deal scare games - doctors' Brexit warning
There has been a double dose of support for the People’s Vote campaign in the last 24 hours. The Independent has thrown its weight behind our March for the Future in London on October 20. This demonstration, timed to coincide with the EU summit at which Theresa May is supposed to finalise her Brexit deal, will build on the hugely successful People’s Vote March in June which saw more than 100,000 people take to the streets of London. With concern about Brexit growing all the time, October’s turnout should be far greater.
Second, trade union Community last night backed a public vote on the final Brexit outcome. General secretary Roy Rickhuss said Theresa May promised to negotiate a deal in the best interests of British workers and their families, but it now seems “such a deal is unachievable or may not exist”.
The union’s roots are in textile manufacturing and the steel industry. The latter has come under significant pressure in recent years, with the newest blow being the steel tariffs imposed by Donald Trump’s US administration. A deal with America was a cornerstone of the Leavers’ Brexit pledge in 2016. But the installation of a protectionist bully in the White House makes that prospect look like pure fantasy.
Community also supports prison and justice workers, logistics, finance, politics and public affairs staff, and the charity and freelance sectors. It is affiliated to the Labour Party. That means more pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to follow the lead of his supporters and back a People’s Vote on May’s botched Brexit.
HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION FOR A PEOPLE'S VOTE?
Quote of the day
"When Theresa May believes she has got the best outcome she can, then she must come back and allow us to decide if her best if good enough.
"If that outcome is rejected, then all options should be on the table, including reopening negotiations with Europe and retaining the status quo."
Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss
Video of the day
WATCH: Actor Dominic West will be joining our People's Vote March for the Future along with The Independent - will you join us on October 20th?
No-deal scare stories
The government is publishing its first tranche of no-deal “technical notices” next week, expected to cover 84 areas of British life according to a Buzzfeed leak. It’s been previewed by bullish headlines on The Sun’s front page claiming “Britain is ready for hard Brexit”. Add to this the warnings from foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt that no-deal Brexit “would be a mistake we would regret for generations” and from business secretary Greg Clark that if the EU doesn’t respond “positively and constructively” to the prime minister’s plan it will be bad for the whole continent.
A Whitehall source told The Sun this “categorically isn’t... some Project Fear exercise”. But who are these no-deal warnings really for? Leaders in Europe will pay them little heed. They are more likely designed to panic the UK public into looking more favourably on May’s unpopular Chequers plan as the least bad option. But while a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic, a Chequers-style fudge where we ended up with a “blind Brexit” and still no idea what leaving actually meant is just as bad. It opens the doors for Brexiters to torpedo the Brexit talks once we leave, merely kicking no-deal chaos two years down the road. That’s a huge risk for the country.
Graphic of the day
A bad case of Brexit
Brexit is bad for our health. That message is coming through loud and clear as doctors warn that the disruption caused by leaving the EU could have “potentially catastrophic consequences” for up to one million patients with rare diseases. A new report by the British Medical Association highlights the damage Brexit will cause to everything from new research to recruitment of healthcare staff.
Separately, the head of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry told Politico that Brexit is “putting patients at risk” unless the UK can participate fully in drug safety and infectious disease databases after leaving the EU, and stockpiles medicines in readiness for a no-deal scenario.
Graphic of the day 2
"As frontline health professionals our members see the potentially catastrophic consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit," says the BMA - that's why the BMA supports a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal!
Fitch ditching ‘orderly Brexit’ assumption
Credit rating agency Fitch is worried an orderly Brexit transition deal is rapidly becoming less likely, saying “an acrimonious and disruptive no-deal Brexit is a material and growing possibility”. In a note, the agency revealed it no longer saw a “specific base case” for the Brexit outcome, writing that “there is such a wide range of potential Brexit outcomes that no individual scenario has a high probability”.
It is madness that we’re at this stage of the Brexit negotiations and there’s still no clear idea of how things will unfold. That kind of uncertainty is bad for the UK’s prosperity and jobs, with one probable outcome being Fitch downgrading the UK’s AA credit rating.
More Brexit news…
Top Brexit comment
Peter Kellner: Sturgeon at odds with SNP supporters on People’s Vote (InFacts)
Mary Dejevsky: In Ireland, lines are blurring because of Brexit – either a disaster or a full unification is on the horizon (Independent)
Max Hastings: There’s no such thing as easy‑peasy politics (Times £)
Today, Friday 17 August
|-||Parliament in recess|
|-||Brexit negotiations in Brussels: technical talks on future relationship|
|-||Philip Hammond in Berlin|
Tomorrow, Saturday 18 August
|13:00||Scotland People's Vote Rally, Edinburgh|