Friday 17 May 2019 - People's Vote

Friday 17 May 2019

Morning Briefing: Cross-party talks to end - time to take action

It's National Action Day for People's Vote campaigners tomorrow with more than 75 events taking place around the country. Find your local event here, join fellow supporters to grow support for a new vote and write to your MP now to secure a People's Vote.

Cross-party Brexit talks to finally end

After 6 weeks, it looks like the talks between the Conservatives and Labour to find a compromise deal on Brexit are finally going to end, according to BBC News. Both sides will acknowledge that there is no chance of them agreeing on a way forward. Many were worried that the move would result in a behind-closed-doors stitch-up deal involving a customs union, but opposition to that within the Conservative party helped to show that it was unlikely to be backed in the Commons.

Theresa May has been described as a "brick wall" by the Labour side for not moving from her famous red lines, while Labour were concerned that if a deal could be found as there was clear risk that a new PM could rip it up down the line. 

Just because the talks have collapsed, however, we shouldn't expect an end to further manoeuvres from either the Government or the increasingly-desperate band of Brexit-backers that exercise such control over Jeremy Corbyn.

Both Downing Street and Labour are this morning still hinting that discussions will continue about coming Parliamentary votes. If they are true to form, we should expect them to come up with some device like a further round of indicative votes that will be designed to freeze the people out of the final decision on Brexit and force some sort of deal through Parliament.

You can be sure our campaign will be on their case and we'll be asking our supporters across the country to turn the pressure back on MPs with a fresh avalanche of emails and letters.

These talks have been deeply unpopular with supporters of both parties. It's good news that the charade is over. And they may yet have served a purpose by convincing more MPs, especially Conservatives, that there is no stable majority for any form of Brexit and that putting the final decision back to the people is the only way out of this mess.

A bad week for business, thanks to Brexit paralysis

Amidst all the chatter this week about whether May will stay or leave, whether Labour will stick or twist and which potential Tory leader has the most ovens, it should have been hard to miss the deafening roar of pain and frustration in the business world over Brexit has not received the attention it warrants.

The “zombie parliament” didn’t seem to notice a very bad week for companies around the UK. First came Honda pulling out of Swindon, then British Steel pleading for a £75m loan, followed by travel operator TUI blaming “Brexit uncertainty” among other factors for a big loss.

Yesterday it was the turn of Thomas Cook to announce a £1.5bn loss for the previous six months, warning that Brexit was hitting family holiday plans and that continuing uncertainty is “putting further pressure” on the company’s profitability. This morning, Easyjet blamed Brexit challenges on a much tougher trading environment.

There’s a common theme here. And the Confederation of British Industry director general Carolyn Fairbairn was brutal in her assessment that it is a “crushing disaster” for business in Britain with investor confidence at its lowest level since the crash a decade ago.

“From the heart of business to the heart of politics, resolve this gridlock, do whatever it takes and do it fast,” she said.

People’s Vote campaigner Jo Swinson MP got it right when she commented: “One thing we can all be sure of is that nobody voted in 2016 to ruin their holiday plans or put their job at risk three years later.

“We need a way out of the Brexit shambles and a People’s Vote is the only solution.”

May kicks her exit down the road

They keep saying they are going to turf her out, but Theresa May keeps finding ways to dodge the bullet on when she will step down as PM and Tory leader.

Now she has signalled that she will set her own exit timetable after her Withdrawal Agreement goes back to the Commons. Never mind what happens in the European elections next Thursday when the Conservatives are widely expecting to get hammered.

Now with Boris Johnson and a host of other wannabes lining up their campaigns, it is clear that they are governed by self-interest rather than the drastic needs of a country in political crisis.

People’s Vote campaigner and Tory MP Phillip Lee made it clear that a summer spent deciding a new leader trying to out-Farage Farage would be against the national interest and could lead to Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM.

Not that the Opposition Leader and his party are having a great time in the Euro election race. Candidates and activists are continually reporting back that supporters are switching to candidates who support a People’s Vote without equivocation, unable to trust which way the party is going. A letter from Corbyn to members appears to demonstrate that he is moving closer to backing a public vote.

The polls demonstrate it clearly with the Lib Dems moving ahead of Labour to second place and Conservatives down to 9% as former YouGov president Peter Kellner called out: “More of those who voted Labour two years ago now plan to switch to one of the remain parties than plan to stay loyal to Labour.”

Farage the kept man

Many people wondered how Nigel Farage, who claims he is "a man of the people", could live in a £4m Chelsea house with a £30,000 Range Rover and chauffeur plus security and lavish parties. Last night it was revealed by Channel 4 News how millionaire Arron Banks spent £450,000 to fund Farage's lifestyle in the year after the 2016 referendum.

Mr Banks is currently under investigation by the National Crime Agency over the source of his funding for the Brexit campaign. Mr Farage refused to comment, while Banks told Channel 4: “Channel 4 attempts to smear myself and Nigel, come at a time when the Brexit Party is riding high in the polls, so it should come as no surprise to anyone.”

As the GMB union tweeted, Farage is having a party:


It's clear that Brexit must be put to the people. Now is a crucial time to get involved with the People's Vote campaign. Sign up to volunteer today. 

Quote of the Day

"Where we are now will not be resolved by simply changing the leader... unless we can come as a party to a collective agreement about the way of resolving the Brexit conundrum... the crisis will simply deepen."

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve on the challenges facing his party.

Video of the Day 

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Tweet of the Day

They're back - the Led By Donkeys crew who puncture the lies of Brexit politicians with roadside posters have taken a break, but returned yesterday.

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More Brexit news…

Talks between Conservatives and Labour to close with no deal (BBC News)

Lib Dems could be ahead of Labour in polls by next week (HuffPost)

Brexit talks to be halted (Standard)


Top Brexit comment...

PoliticsHome: Why the first week of June could be the craziest yet in British politics

Mary Kaldor: Why is Labour letting the Brexit Party win the European elections (Guardian)


People's Vote Campaign News