Friday 27 September 2019 - People's Vote

Friday 27 September 2019

Morning Briefing: Major warns an election would fail to resolve Brexit crisis

Yesterday was dominated by the horrified reaction to Boris Johnson’s divisive use of language in the Commons on Thursday night with People’s Vote supporter Jess Phillips MP condemning him as “an amoral man, more than willing to say or do anything to get his way”. Back at her Birmingham Yardley constituency office, a man was arrested after allegedly trying to smash windows and shouting “fascist”.

There are five more weeks before the Halloween deadline for the UK to leave the EU, with European ambassadors all agreeing yesterday that “serious” proposals from Johnson need to arrive by the end of next week. The prime minister keeps pushing for an election, but, as Sir John Major last night explained, this would not resolve a Brexit crisis that could rumble on for years.

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Major's warns an election would fail to resolve Brexit crisis

Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major launched a devastating attack on Boris Johnson last night, warning that an election would not resolve the Brexit crisis.

He dismissed the notion that an election could solve Brexit, saying: “It would merely fuel the current feeling of disillusionment and disunity. Far from healing the nation, it would scratch away at open wounds. It may also be pointless, as the most likely outcome is another fragmented Parliament – even more bitterly divided than it is now.”

More and more Parliamentarians from all parties are coming to understand that a general election won’t fix the bitter Brexit crisis, no matter how often Boris Johnson and his sidekick Dominic Cummings berate people.

Sir John went on: "If the Government was truly confident in the aftermath of their Brexit policy, they would wait for next Spring; take credit for the success of Brexit; rejoice – even gloat – that all fears about it were unfounded; and propose a few popular “One Nation” policies to restore the fortunes of the Conservative Party.”

People’s Vote campaigner Margaret Beckett MP commented on Sir John’s “devastating verdict” on Johnson, saying: “He argues that ministers’ desperation demonstrates their fear that an election held after we have been hit by the reality of a no deal Brexit would destroy their electoral chances.

"The plunge to new depths of political invective, and the deliberate attempt to incite anger and promote division which the PM has displayed this week, confirms that his suspicions may be well-founded. Only a final say referendum, which avoids mixing it up with a dozen other issues, will ever settle the Brexit question, which demands and deserves a clear answer from the British people.”

Government watchdog warns of health and social care crisis after No Deal

The National Audit Office warns today that there is a risk to health and social care from No Deal with “significant work to be done” in the final five weeks.

This includes “improving the government’s understanding of preparedness across the supplier base”, increasing freight capacity and improving the readiness of the social care sector, including care homes.

In an alarming report from the government watchdog, following an NAO study of the Department for Health and Social Care’s preparations, it is revealed that 7,000 out of the 12,300 medicines used in the UK come from or via the EU and that the flow of goods across the Channel on day one could drop to 40-60%, according to the government’s own analysis.

For the first time, it is revealed that freight capacity for priority goods is unlikely to be at full capacity until November 30.

Perhaps most alarmingly, it said that while DHSC had stockpiled six weeks of vital medical supplies such as gloves and syringes for the NHS, supplies of goods for social care services have not been similarly stockpiled.

No-one voted for such an extreme medical crisis and day-by-day the reality of what vulnerable people may be facing becomes clearer.

Carmakers shutdown after No Deal proves Gove wrong

The UK motoring industry has consistently called out the risk of a destructive No Deal, despite Michael Gove’s erroneous Commons claim that they are “ready”.

Now Jaguar Land Rover have revealed they will halt production at British factories for a week in November, joining BMW and Toyota in staging a shutdown to avoid potential disruption.

JLR chief executive Ralf Speth said the company had no choice but to stop production at Halewood, Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Wolverhampton.

“We cannot think about it, we just have to do it,” he said yesterday. I need 20 million parts a day and that means I have to make commitments to my suppliers. I have to have every and each part available and I have to have it just in time.”

The Federation of Small Business released a survey showing that 40% of owners fear their businesses will be damaged by No Deal, with additional costs to them of £2-3,000. FSB chair Mike Cherry called for clarity and "meaningful support" from the government.

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Quote of the Day

“John Major's speech to the Centre for European Reform tonight is the most devastating critique of an existing Conservative Prime Minister by one of their predecessors I have ever read. His call for the House of Commons to reunite against a faction of the party to which he and I have given our political lives is the clearest possible signpost of the danger to this country and to the Conservative Party if present strategy continues.”

Leading People's Vote campaigner Lord Heseltine responds to former Prime Minister Sir John Major's powerful speech about the Boris Johnson government.

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More Brexit news...

Two-fifths of small businesses fear No Deal (Independent)

Jaguar Land Rover to shutdown in November due to Brexit fears (Guardian)

Major warns Johnson could use "political chicanery" to avoid Brexit law (PoliticsHome)

Cummings: Brexit abuse will stop if MPs "respect" referendum result (Sky News)

No Deal "still a risk to NHS and care sector" (BBC News)

Opposition planning to seize control of Commons again next week (Guardian)

More Brexit comment...

Ellie Cooper: As the daughter of an MP, I know why Johnson's language is so dangerous (New Statesman)

Johnson's brutish parliamentary defied all democratic dignity (Guardian)