Monday 11 June 2018 - People's Vote

Monday 11 June 2018

Morning briefing: Rebels must stay strong - Trump tantrum - Arron Banks' Russian links

Pro-European Tory MPs should ignore calls to rally round the prime minister in this week’s key votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill. Backing her shambolic Brexit will be bad for the UK. It will also be bad for their own party, as the voters won’t thank them for damaging the country.

Theresa May is expected to tell the backbench 1922 Committee: “We must be clear that we are united as a party in our determination to deliver on the decision made by the British people.”

Her cause was boosted at the weekend when Amber Rudd, the former Home Secretary who also backed Remain, warned that voting against the government could play into Labour’s hands.

This is a bad argument. There is nothing to stop Tory “rebels” voting against the prime minister’s policy and the very next moment backing her in a vote of confidence. Since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, governments can no longer tie votes of confidence to specific policies.

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It’s not as if backing the government would solve the knotty issues of customs and the Irish border either. The Cabinet is still split down the middle over what long-term plan it wants and the temporary “backstop” it finally agreed last week was immediately rejected by the EU.

So if the prime minister wins the votes on customs and the Irish border, the government will still be clueless about what to do. Meanwhile, time is ticking towards the crucial European Council summit two weeks away. It would be better for MPs to put May out of her misery by telling her what to do.

But the most important amendment is probably over the meaningful vote. Without such a vote at the end of the Brexit talks, the government could ram through a miserable deal or crash out of the EU with no deal at all. As I argued in InFacts yesterday, it is vital MPs take a stand on this.


Video of the day

WATCH: Retired Brigadier Stephen Goodall fought for this country during the Second World War to secure Britain’s place in a peaceful and united Europe. In this powerful video, Brigadier Goodall explains exactly why we need a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.

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Why are we sucking up to Trump?

This weekend’s G7 meeting descended into farce as Donald Trump threw a tantrum, tore up the summit’s agreement and called the Canadian prime minister “very dishonest and weak”.

Is this the Trump that Boris Johnson revealed he was “increasingly admiring” in a private recording leaked to BuzzFeed? The disturbing reality, as Alex Massie writes in the Times, is that the US is no longer a country we can trust.

Brexiters are deluded. The geopolitical basis of Brexit - which was to burn our bridges with Europe and stride the world arm-in-arm with America - is bankrupt.


Quote of the day

“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J Trump.”

Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro. Good luck to Brexit Britain if this is how Trump’s White House talks to its allies - that great trade deal is looking a long way off now.


Immigration battle lines being drawn

Could free movement of workers be the issue that shines some light between Labour and the government’s Brexit policies? New home secretary Sajid Javid has torn up his predecessor’s plans for a “labour mobility partnership” with the EU, instead favouring a “proper, universal” system with no favoured status for EU nationals, reported the Sunday Times.

Meanwhile, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that we likely need an immigration policy that allows people to “cross borders across the UK, across the EU, to work”.

Of course it may be a while before we know the government’s final Brexit migration policy. Theresa May has characteristically delayed the issue - likely to cause a bust up in Cabinet as well as with the EU - to focus on the ongoing customs saga.


Tweet of the day

Seb Dance MEP takes on a ludicrous tweet from former Corbyn spokesperson Matt Zarb-Cousins, which claimed that those worrying about Brexit did so because they had the luxury of not having more pressing issues to be concerned with.

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Questions for Arron Banks

What was Brexit’s biggest bankroller talking to the Russians about? MPs are calling for the police to investigate links between Arron Banks and Russia after the Observer and Sunday Times revealed multiple previously undisclosed meetings between the Leave.EU chair and Russian officials.

When Banks appears in front of the DCMS select committee’s “fake news” inquiry tomorrow, MPs will have lots of questions. They must also keep their eye on the big picture: Vladimir Putin is not our friend; he wants us out of the EU to weaken both us and Europe; and we can’t rely on Donald Trump, who is soft on Putin, to help us.


More Brexit news…

Civil servants ‘hobbled by Whitehall secrecy’ (Times £)

Local councils urge Westminster to match EU investment (FT £)

Businesses warn that Brexit is delaying industrial strategy (Guardian)

12 Brexit cherries the UK wants to pick (Politico)


Top Brexit comment

Jonathan Powell: The Irish border question has done for hard Brexit (FT £)

Matthew d’Ancona: The ‘bad boys of Brexit’ have some big questions to answer (Guardian)

Patience Wheatcroft: Tangled in Brexit, the Tories are failing their business supporters (FT £)


Looking forward…

Today, Monday 11 June

- David Davis holds informal talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier
09:30 ONS: Trade statistics published
09:30 ONS: Construction output figures published
15:30 Theresa May statement to Commons on G7 summit
PM Theresa May speaks to backbench 1922 Committee, urging Tory unity
PM Westminster Hall debate on petition to include option to remain in the EU in any meaningful vote
PM #StopBrexit campaign Night March and All Night Vigil

Tomorrow, Tuesday 12 June

- EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the House of Commons
- ONS: UK trade for April 2018 published
10.30 Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore give evidence to the DCMS committee
10.30 Former permanent representative to EU Ivan Rogers gives evidence to Home Affairs committee