Morning Briefing: International Women's Day - surprising Cox - Corbyn can't backtrack
Today is International Women’s Day: a time to celebrate the progress made towards achieving gender equality. When it comes to Brexit however, we’d better hold the festivities. Women continue to be underrepresented in the Brexit debate and will be disproportionately impacted by a Brexit of any kind.
Now that the full facts are out there, it’s only reasonable to put Brexit to the people. Women from all nations and regions, young and old, from all backgrounds, will be taking to the streets to demand just that on March 23.
Brexit has been dominated by men. Exclusive research from Women for a People’s Vote shows that 72% of speaking time in Parliament dedicated to discussing the EU Withdrawal Act has been taken up by men. Of the 44 people on the Leave Means Leave board there are seven men called John - and only one woman. 75% of national daily political editors listed on the Press Gallery are men. We sent just one woman to Brussels as part of our Brexit negotiating team.
Meanwhile, there is more and more evidence that it will be women - particularly economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority women - who have the most to lose and the most to fear from any type of Brexit. Women’s hard-earned rights are up for grabs in the Withdrawal Agreement and it is women’s jobs and the services women rely on that are most at risk in a no-deal scenario.
An estimated 400,000 EEA/EU carers will leave the UK by 2028, according to the Institute for Public Policy and Research. With women four times more likely to leave the paid workplace to care for dependents, Brexit could turn back the clock on professional parity. Meanwhile, the EU is set to introduce new legislation for paid carers’ leave that could help close the pay gap and incentivise men to do their fair share of care work. Why would we turn away now?
It’s now so clear that the promises made in 2016 haven’t been delivered and now that we know what the impact of Brexit on women will be, it is only fair that we have a chance to make our voices heard on the biggest political decision in a generation.
Our male-dominated parliament is in gridlock, and neither May’s deal nor no deal is any good for women. On International Women’s Day, demand a People’s Vote for gender equality, for women, for everyone.
Video of the Day
Talks over the Irish border “backstop” are in a complete shambles. In a speech in Grimsby today, Theresa May will attempt to pin the blame on the EU. The real issues lie closer to home. EU officials appear baffled by the UK team’s increasingly technical gambits in their bid to find something that satisfies May’s Brexiter backbenchers.
The latest was attorney general Geoffrey Cox claiming the backstop risked breaching the European Convention on Human Rights. One EU source said this had been surprising, but added that Cox “said a lot of surprising things this week”.
Legal arguments will not cut through what is essentially a political problem. The reality is that the UK government agreed to the current backstop back in November, but it has since been rejected by MPs. This impasse is the result of trying to meet the promises of 2016, promises which cannot be kept because they are contradictory. It’s little wonder talks in Brussels are going nowhere.
Tweet of the Day
Led by Donkeys and FFS have made this fantastic poster that parodies the lies told during the referendum campaign.
Graphic of the Day
Jeremy Corbyn is already attempting to wriggle out of Labour’s policy of holding a public vote on Brexit, just days after the shift to supporting a People’s Vote was announced. The Independent reports that Labour sources have “confirmed that the party is not advocating a referendum on anything other than a “damaging Tory Brexit”.
The problem is that, if the logic of the policy adopted at Labour’s party conference is followed, a public vote is the only option left to the Labour leadership. Both attempts at a general election and getting approval for Corbyn’s own deal have failed. And remember, the concept of a “jobs-first” Brexit is an oxymoron; there is no way to leave that won’t damage our economy.
If Corbyn doesn’t want to alienate his voters he needs to change tack. Polling conducted by YouGov shows that Labour’s voters in the North and the Midlands - where the Labour leadership reckon pro-Brexit sentiment to be strongest - back a People’s vote by a ratio of more than 3:1; just 14% think May’s deal will do. Letting them down would all but guarantee Corbyn’s term in leader brings his party nowhere closer to Number 10.
Video of the Day 2
WATCH: Jess Phillips MP makes it clear that she will not vote for this Brexit deal which will make her constituents poorer. After all, everything is remain minus. Every deal shrinks the economy in some way.
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Chaos at DExEU
The Department for Exiting the European Union continues to churn through senior staff. With three weeks to go until Brexit day, its top civil servant Philip Rycroft is resigning - putting the department on course for a third permanent secretary to go with its third secretary of state in just three years of existence.
While it might be fitting that the department responsible for handling leaving should reflect the general chaos of the UK approach to Brexit, the high turnover reflects the simple truth that a good Brexit can’t be delivered. It’s time to give the people the final say.
Quote of the Day
“The department is a reflection of the whole Brexit process – shambolic and doomed to fail.”
Jo Stevens MP, on the news that DExEU will soon be looking for a third Permanent Secretary in just three years
It's clear that the only way forward is a People's Vote. Now is a crucial time to get involved with the campaign. Sign up to volunteer today.
CGE Members Ballot strongly strongly favours a public vote to resolve political impasse on EU (Conservative Group for Europe)
Gordon Brown calls for year-long Brexit delay (Independent)
Top Brexit comment
Caroline Criado Perez: Women’s rights cannot be sacrificed to Brexit (Times £)
Hugo Dixon: 6 reasons Labour MPs must not back PM’s shabby deal (InFacts)
Philip Stephens: After Brexit, Britain will be a rule-taker (FT £)
What's your reason?
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Today, Friday 8th March
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