Friday 3 May 2019 - People's Vote

Friday 3 May 2019

Morning Briefing: Local elections - main parties take a kicking

They may have been local elections across much of England and Northern Ireland, but it was Brexit that dominated on the doorstep and early results demonstrate that frustration over Brexit had a huge impact on the results. The country needs a solution and that is a People's Vote.

Lib Dems are the big winners as main parties take a kicking

With hundreds of results still to come in, it looks like the local elections are a nightmare for Conservatives and Labour – with revenge for their handling of Brexit being blamed.

The Lib Dems look like being the big winners with Greens and independent also seeing a big rise in support, often in areas where they have a low base. Counting in Northern Ireland is yet to start.

The early evidence seemed to be that the Tories were punished for failing to deliver Brexit, while Labour’s fudge over a People’s Vote cost them. Even in largely shire elections, where more than 80% of the council areas voting backed Leave in 2016, pro-People's Vote parties are making advances.

And in Northern cities such as Sunderland, which famously voted Leave in 2016, the swing from Labour to Lib Dems and Greens is demonstrating that voters in favour of a People's Vote are deserting the Labour Party. Remain voters are taking it out on Labour, particularly in places such as Swindon and Sunderland where car manufacturers de-investing demonstrates the true costs of Brexit.

The Conservatives lost Bath and North East Somerset Council to the Lib Dems. Former Tory leader Tim Warren lost his seat and said: "I feel like we’ve been given a kicking for something that wasn’t our fault.

“I don’t think people are happy. The people that voted to remain blame us for leaving and the people that voted to leave blame us because we haven’t left yet. I think it’s almost anti-political.”

There's still time for Conservatives to wake from their Brexit nightmare by coming together with MPs from all parties to secure a stable majority for a deal subject to a confirmatory vote.

Polling expert Professor John Curtice told the BBC: “We are seeing the fragmentation of politics again after 80% of the voters went for Conservatives and Labour at the last election. Lib Dems are the big winners, but so are the Greens and Independents. It seems that people are taking whatever stick they can use to beat the big parties with."

The two main parties should be quaking in their boots over Brexit now, with neither Change UK or the Brexit Party contesting these elections, so the worst is likely to come in the European elections on May 23.

If the results continue in the same way throughout the day, pressure will grow on not only Prime Minister Theresa May with calls already beginning for her to resign, but also Jeremy Corbyn too.

Labour voters in Leave-voting areas have refused to conform to the lazy media caricature by showing they despise prevarication and fudge that led Barry Gardiner, the shadow Trade Secretary, to say he was trying to speak with "two voices" on Brexit.

Labour's Jess Phillips, a People's Vote supporter commented: "My final word is that I think our position on Brexit has failed. Bravery is needed. If you combine kindness and effectiveness with a bit of grit, most people will respect you even when they don't always agree."

The huge swings from Labour to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party in northern cities like Sunderland show the the overwhelming support for the public getting the final say on Brexit in every region and nation of the UK.

Tech startups suffering from Brexit uncertainty

One in four tech startups in London has lost out on investment because of Brexit. According to research from the influential Tech London Advocates, a private sector network of more than 7,000 digital leaders and investors.

“From about November 2018, we’ve sensed more panic coming into the conversations between companies and investors especially as there still no decision in sight on Brexit, said Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw.

Investment in technology companies fell by 29% last year, while the challenge of hiring tech talent with the uncertainty over visas and immigration regulations has increased the pressure, leading to 64% tech company leaders wanting either no Brexit or a People’s Vote.

And it's not just tech that is suffering

The continuing uncertainty around Brexit and the need for a People's Vote to restore order, is affecting other industry sectors as well. The Federation of Master Builders are seeing that an array of problems for small, local builders have taken their toll with workloads declining for the first time in six years.

Chief Executive Brian Berry wrote: "Consumers and businesses alike are understandably putting off large investment decisions while the never-ending Brexit negotiations rumble on."

Meanwhile, the UK's financial services sector faces a long-term challenge, according to "Britain's status as Europe's leading financial services centre will survive Brexit, but it is going to get hurt. Under any Brexit scenario, it is set to be smaller, poorer, and less influential than it is now."

Without a People's Vote, the chaos will continue.

People's Vote campaigners out on the streets this weekend

Local campaigns for a People's Vote will continue across the country during the Bank Holiday weekend, including canvassing in Needham Market and Newmarket. There will be street stalls in Lowestoft, Totnes, Minehead, Fleet, Basingstoke, Shrewsbury, Bradford and Bracknell.

In Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, the local Open Britain group have been doing 10 days of consecutive canvassing in the constituency of Conservative Jo Churchill.


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

"Tories punished for not delivering Brexit and doing nothing else. Labour punished for facing both ways on biggest challenge of our time. Both punished because of poor leadership. Lib Dems/Greens rewarded for clarity”

People's Vote campaigner Alastair Campbell sums up the local election results.

Video of the Day 

A personal message from Sally from For Our Futures Sakes calling for a People's Vote to Prime Minister Theresa May

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Tweet of the Day

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More Brexit news…

Punished at the Polls (Huffington Post)

Live coverage of local election results (Guardian)

Bombardier Belfast sales threatens 7,200 jobs (Belfast Telegraph)

"A plague on both your houses" (Mirror)

Top Brexit comment...

John Rentoul: Can Theresa May survive the local election results (Independent)

Judith Woods: Swearing on your childrens' lives - how childish can you get, ex-minister? (Telegraph)

Len McCluskey: Labour's NEC made the right decision on Brexit policy (New Statesman)

Konnie Huq: Brexit will cause problems for ethnic minority pregnant women (Independent)