Friday 6 July 2018 - People's Vote

Friday 6 July 2018

Morning briefing: Chequers summit - Trump's trade war - German investment

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Crunch or fudge? That is the question as Cabinet ministers head off to the prime minister’s country retreat to see if they can thrash out what they “want” from Brexit.

The scene might seem set for crunch. Boris Johnson called a meeting with another six hardline Brexiters in the Foreign Office last night to form a common front to fight Theresa May’s latest proposals - amidst anger that she will “destroy the government”, talk of resignations from the Cabinet, and threats of a vote of confidence against her as early as next week.

From what has been leaked to the Spectator, it’s clear why they are furious. The prime minister wants us to “maintain a common rulebook for all goods including agri-food” and “to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods”

We wouldn’t have much freedom to cut independent trade deals either. May’s paper spells out that we wouldn’t be able “to accommodate a likely ask from the US in a future trade deal” because we’d be unable to recognise the US’s “array of standards”.

We would also commit to follow European Court of Justice rulings “where relevant”, according to The Telegraph. Put it all together and we would be close to what Johnson used to call a “vassal state”.

The foreign secretary and his gang are planning to confront the prime minister with their own hard Brexit counter proposal based on the EU’s deal with Canada, according to The Times. The snag is that the only way to make this fly - given the EU’s insistence of no land border in Ireland - would be to accept a border in the Irish Sea. It’s not just the DUP, which is propping up the government, that would go ballistic. No patriotic Brit should want that.

So will they battle it out or will they ultimately bottle it? The first signs of bottling came last night when Liam Fox peeled off the group of seven after a late night chat with the prime minister. It’s also possible that May herself will bottle it or come up with some fudge that allows her to keep kicking the can down the road.

Two things are clear. First, even if the Cabinet agrees on what it wants, it will not “agree the shape of our future relationship with the European Union”. Those are the prime minister’s words. But she’s not being straight with the British people. All she’d have would be a deal with her Cabinet; not one with the EU. To get the latter, she will have to capitulate further on her red lines.

Second, whatever deal emerges is going to be a miserable one. It won’t just mean losing control because we’ll be turned into rule-takers. It will damage our prosperity because it won’t give us free movement of services, that account for four fifths of our economy. Nobody will be happy with the outcome. All the more reason for a People’s Vote on the final deal.

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Quote of the day

"It's a massive employer. It gives us our big house - well bigger than the one I was in before - and the luxuries in life. Brexit is worrying."

              - Colin Smethurst, a worker at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull plant, reacts to JLR's Brexit warnings


Trump’s trade war

After much anticipation, we have kick off. Trump’s trade war with China, that is, not the England-Sweden quarter final. The US has slapped 25% tariffs onto $34 billion worth of goods - with another $16 billion set to follow - and the Chinese are threatening to respond in kind. Combine that with Trump’s EU spat and the prospects for free trade look pretty bleak. So not a great time to be reforging our trading relationships. And not a good time to be striking out on our own, either. While the EU can stand up to the US as an equal partner, on our own the UK could be bullied.


Video of the day

WATCH: how the NHS's future is at risk because of the bad Brexit we're heading for.


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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Trump’s trade wars mean it’s a crazy time to be burning our bridges with Europe to suck up to the US president. He is assured of a hostile welcome when he comes here next week. Sadiq Khan has given permission for protestors to fly a six metre blimp representing Trump as an “angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands”. While this might lead the ever-volatile president to examine the possibility of swapping out an EU trade war for a tactical nuclear strike on the site of the protest, we’d recommend going along anyway.


Tweet of the day

Sigh.


Germans to May: stop fiddling

While Theresa May negotiates with her Cabinet, confidence in Britain is plummeting. German Industry UK - which represents companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Arriva - says there is “reluctance from German business to invest in the UK” because of Brexit uncertainty, and “with only nine months left before the UK leaves the EU, time is running out”. While May fiddles, the economy burns.


Graphic of the day:

SHARE: The true cost of a no deal Brexit to the NHS in England. This is why we need a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.


More Brexit news…

JP Morgan to begin moving dozens of staff out of UK because of Brexit (Independent)

May's new customs plan 'dead on arrival' in EU (Independent)

Solihull's Land Rover workers react to boss's Brexit warning (Guardian)

Cabinet has duty to agree Brexit plan, says Theresa May (BBC)


Top Brexit comment

The Guardian view on the Chequers Brexit summit: putting party before country

Telegraph View: Chequers summit is a make-or-break moment for Theresa May and Brexit


Looking forward...

Today, Friday 06 July

- Cabinet head to Chequers to discuss Brexit white paper
- Barnier to give speech at Institute of International and European Affairs
09:30 ONS releases UK productivity figures for January-March 2018

Tomorrow, Saturday 07 July

12:00 London Pride march