Friday 7 September 2018 - People's Vote

Friday 7 September 2018

Morning Briefing: No Deal Austerity - Irish Border Question - Brexiters prepare plan

Crashing out of the EU with no deal means years more austerity, the Chancellor confirmed yesterday. After a Treasury minister was photographed in Downing Street carrying a briefing on the government’s no-deal contingency plans - “Operation Yellowhammer” - Philip Hammond said that in a no-deal Brexit the government would have to “refocus” priorities. That’s politician speak for cuts.

“No deal” would hammer the economy and hammer tax revenues. Society would face yet more austerity. That would hit the most vulnerable in our society: the poor, the sick and neglected regions. If this isn’t a good reason for Jeremy Corbyn to swing behind a People’s Vote on a hard Tory Brexit, what will be?

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… and the chances of “no deal” are high because the talks remain stuck on the Irish border question. The Independent reports the UK is “refusing to table a new plan”. Things are not helped by the British government’s lack of attention to detail, with Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley recently admitting that when she was appointed to the job she “didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues” in the region.

Tempers are frayed, with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab telling the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier that the bloc might have to order the Irish government to reinstate the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, according to The Telegraph.

The risk of an “accidental” no deal was rising as both sides continue to talk past each other, Ivan Rogers, the UK’s former EU ambassador, said in a speech in Dublin yesterday: "There is now, in my view, a higher risk than the markets are currently pricing of a disorderly breakdown in Brexit negotiations, and of our sleepwalking into a major crisis.”

Nobody voted for that two years ago.

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Tweet of the day

Scathing from former BBC journo Gavin Esler, reacting to health secretary Matt Hancock being interviewed on Radio 4's Today.


Are Brexiters planning to selling DUP down river?

Hardline Brexiters’ “solution” to the Irish border problem is to let EU staff conduct customs checks at ports such as Liverpool and Bristol, according to The Sun. The idea is that the EU would then be able to make sure goods aren’t smuggled into the EU via Ireland without the need for border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

With such border controls in place in the Irish Sea, the hardliners would then hope to negotiate a free trade deal that doesn’t require the UK to follow EU rules - and so ditch Theresa May’s Chequers proposal. The Sun says the idea will be contained in a raft of blueprints being published hardliners led by Jacob Rees-Mogg next week, though there is some confusion as to whether the papers will be actually be published at all. If they are, the DUP which is propping up the Tory government is likely to go mad.


Quote of the day

“If the Chequers Deal offers no advantages for Britain, what on Earth is the point of pursuing it?”

Labour MP Owen Smith is bemused by the government’s latest negotiating tactic


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No advantage to Chequers

British negotiators are busy telling the EU that the Chequers deal gives the UK no competitive advantage. The EU is concerned that a single market for goods without services would allow British firms to undercut their European rivals - meaning Chequers won’t fly unless the government can convince the bloc otherwise. One argument our negotiators are making is that UK firms will actually be at a disadvantage if they aren’t covered by single market rules - which raises the question of precisely what the government intends to gain from Brexit.


Video of the day

ICYMI: great to see Rupa Huq put women's issues on the agenda in Parliament on the week of the Women for a People's Vote campaign launch! She's right - women will be suffer disproportionately from this Brexit mess.


More Brexit news…

Doubts persist about Raab's sway over Brexit talks (FT)

Lib Dem boss Vince Cable is expected to announce plans to step aside (Sun)

Boris Johnson booted out by wife Marina after she accused him of cheating again (Sun)


Top Brexit comment

Tim Harford: Counting the cost of Brexit uncertainty (FT)

Nick Kent: Divisions amongst Tories makes a People's Vote more likely (InFacts)

Campbell Robb: Brexit is going to make those in poverty poorer (Metro)


Looking forward...

Today, Friday 7th September

  House of Commons not sitting

Today, Saturday 8th September

12:30 Wales People's Vote rally in Cardiff