Friday 24 August 2018 - People's Vote

Friday 24 August 2018

Morning briefing: No-deal Tory war erupts - Labour edging towards People's Vote - migration maths

Yesterday’s publication of no-deal Brexit plans was meant to make the government seem cool, calm and collected. Instead it unleashed another round of chaotic Conservative infighting.

Philip Hammond torpedoed the optimism of Dominic Raab’s no-deal speech, in which the Brexit secretary talked about the “opportunities” of leaving without a deal and described any damage as short term. The Chancellor shot this down in a letter to the Commons Treasury committee, with forecasts showing no-deal would leave the economy £150 billion smaller in 15 years than it would otherwise have been and add about £80 billion a year to borrowing - roughly two-thirds of what we currently spend on the NHS. He also exploded the prime minister’s claims of a “Brexit dividend”, saying that “any direct financial savings are outweighed by the indirect fiscal consequences of a smaller economy”.

The backlash against Hammond saw Brexitremist vitriol reach new heights. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly,” came Jacob Rees-Mogg’s verdict. “No one believes the politicised forecasts of the Treasury,” he insisted, adding Hammond’s department was “desperate to stop Brexit” and “frightened of taking responsibility for managing the economy without the crutch”.


But Raab's speech and the no-deal papers have done virtually nothing to cool fears about the devastating impact that no-deal would have (read a round-up of the main revelations here). Instead, they serve as an admission that Brexit is not only a mess – it’s turning into a disaster for our country. Businesses in particular have several concerns, including hefty new burdens of red tape that threaten to drown smaller enterprises. The advice to perplexed traders on the Irish border to go ask the Irish government also raised several eyebrows.

Yesterday was another classic example of a government reaping chaos when it intended to sow the seeds of calm. It hardly instils confidence as the crunch point on Brexit approaches. The threat of a no-deal Brexit is only rising because May’s Brexit plan is filled with contradictions and can satisfy no one. Whatever the outcome, we need a People's Vote so the public - not just politicians - can decide whether it's good enough.


Tweet of the day

David Lammy's take on Dominic Raab's "reassuring" no-deal speech yesterday gets it just about right.


Video of the day

WATCH: Rupa Huq MP on a no-deal Brexit: "We shouldn't be having this discussion."


Shadow cabinet edging towards People’s Vote?

Keir Starmer yesterday insisted that a public vote should be kept on the table if Parliament rejects any deal May clinches with the EU - although the shadow Brexit secretary stressed it was for MPs to decide the way forward in such a scenario. Several other shadow cabinet members have told the Independent a People’s Vote is inevitable.

Meanwhile, senior Labour backbenchers detect movement by their front bench. Chuka Umunna said he was encouraged by “what feels like a change in tone” from Starmer; and Chris Leslie said he was “increasingly confident” Labour would give the public a final say on Brexit, although he warned that there was “still a long way to go” and that next month’s party conference would be crucial.

The battle within Labour is certainly far from over. Shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner, this week said a new vote would undermine democracy and invite “civil disobedience”, while Jeremy Corbyn seems intent on not engaging with the issue at all, as this painful Channel 4 interview shows.

Over three quarters of Labour supporters are now keen to stay in the EU, with big shifts in Labour heartlands in the north of England and Wales. How long will it take Corbyn to realise that the Labour party should back a People’s Vote?

Quote of the day

“It seems to me all options should be on the table. So we’ve not called for a vote on the deal. We’ve called for a vote in parliament on the deal.

“But I accept the proposition that if [May’s deal] is voted down parliament then decides what happens next. And in those circumstances in my experience of the last few years, keep your options on the table, not off the table.”

Labour shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer

Tweet of the day 2

Legendary England and Lions hooker Brian Moore is bang on. How far the Brexit dream has fallen since 2016.


Net migration from outside EU three times EU figure

Theresa May’s insistence on cutting net migration to the “tens of thousands” looks even more hopeless following the latest migration figures from the ONS. While net migration from the EU dropped to a low of 87,000, net migration from outside the EU rose to 235,000 - almost three times the EU number. The loss of EU workers since the Brexit vote is causing panic over staff shortages, including doctors, nurses and carers to look after our growing number of old people.


Video of the day 2

Francis Grove-White tells Sky News: "No deal emerging in this way is the product of Theresa May's botched Brexit deal". We need a People's Vote to give the public the final say.


More Brexit news…

Guardian: Tories block Ukip donor Arron Banks from party

Politico: Why a no-deal Brexit actually means lots of small deals

Top Brexit comment

Hugo Dixon: We must fight on two fronts: against no deal and a bad one (InFacts)

Editorial: Tory tactics make a second vote more likely (Guardian)

Polly Toynbee: Raab offers us cotton wool on no-deal Brexit. The reality is hair-raising (Guardian)

Looking forward...

Today, Friday 24 August

- Parliament in recess

Tomorrow, Saturday 25 August

- Parliament in recess
12:30 People's Vote North East rally