Monday 13 August 2018 - People's Vote

Monday 13 August 2018

Morning briefing: Big crowds at Bristol rally - years of rule-taking - great Brexit skills gap

Great scenes in Bristol this weekend, with over 700 supporters selling out the People’s Vote rally.  The enthusiastic turnout was unsurprising, following our major survey with YouGov on Friday which showed a majority in the formerly Leave-voting South West now support a People’s Vote, and would vote to stay in the EU.

This was the first of seven rallies to take place in different regions across the UK over summer, culminating in a People’s Vote march in London on October 20. Find more detalis on the People’s Vote events page.

In further signs of people across the country turning against Theresa May’s botched Brexit, more than 100 constituencies which voted Leave in 2016 have now turned against Brexit, according to research by analytics firm Focaldata jointly commissioned by Best for Britain and Hope Not Hate.


In total 112 seats have switched against Brexit. That makes for 341 seats with majority support for staying in the EU, up from 229 seats at the referendum - out of a total of 632 constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales. The trend is starkest in Wales and the north of England, suggesting the shift is driven by Labour voters changing their minds about Brexit. Some of the most dramatic switches to staying in the EU occured in parts of Merseyside  (Knowsley went from 46.2% to 60.5%) and Swansea East, where support for staying in the EU bounced from 37.9% to 50.7%.

Several constituencies of prominent Brexiters now have a majority against Brexit, including the seats of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, and those of Labour Brexiter MPs Frank Field, Graham Stringer and (currently suspended) Kelvin Hopkins. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s seat has also switched away from Leave, heaping more pressure on the Labour leadership.

It’s yet more evidence that people across the country are turning against May’s Brexit in droves. For anyone who respects the “will of the people”, it’s clear that will is changing. It’s time for Westminster to listen to the rest of the country.


Video of the day

WATCH: "We demand a People's Vote!" Enthusiastic crowd in Bristol, at our first of seven rallies across the country.


Tweet of the day

Will Hutton, former editor of the Observer, torpedoes Brexiters' "anti-democracy" argument against a People's Vote.



May tees up years of rule-taking

Theresa May’s officials are looking into ways the UK could effectively prolong the 21-month Brexit transition period by following EU rules for longer, Bloomberg reports. This would guarantee an open Irish border by securing the “backstop” plan, but see the UK abiding by the EU’s tariff regime and key single market rules potentially after the transition ends. It’s another sign that we are heading for a blind Brexit, with no idea where we are heading, and that any final deal risks turning us into an EU rule-taker for years to come.

Video of the day 2

FFS's Jason Arthur on Sky News, challenging the Brexiters over what "will of the people" really means.


Trade fancies

Those pesky experts are at it again, doubting Theresa May’s “fanciful” post-Brexit trade plans. The complicated Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) proposal in the prime minister’s White Paper was given short shrift by trade experts analysing the plan on behalf of The Times. The government tried to reassure business by saying that 96% of goods would pay the right tariff upfront. The Times’ experts found that “the percentage of goods requiring additional checks and monitoring would be about four times the estimate”. What’s more, most companies would find it “impossible to track the destination of goods coming into the country from outside the EU.”

In the FT, different trade experts were warning that May’s plans to stay aligned with the single market on agri-food products will prevent her cutting new trade deals with non-EU countries, specifically shooting down Liam Fox’s plans to join a new trade bloc with Pacific countries.

Picture of the weekend

Hundreds pack out the venue for our South West People's Vote rally in Bristol - plus the five balcony levels above.



The great Brexit skills gap

Plunging numbers of EU citizens migrating to the UK has increased skills shortages, according to human resources chiefs. Employers were receiving an average of 20 applicants for each low-skilled vacancy, down from 24 a year ago, and applicants for high-skilled jobs had fallen from eight to six, reveals the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s latest snapshot of the labour market.

The number of EU-born workers in the UK rose by 7,000 between the first quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year, a sharp slowdown from the 148,000 increase recorded the year before. Such a dramatic crash in numbers is having a big impact on our economy, cutting off employers from the skilled individuals which make our industries hum.

Tweet of the day 2

This awful pun from Bristol Student Union's Sally Patterson at the People's Vote rally.


Quote of the day

“The time has come to demand much more detail – and, as it now seems likely that Brexit will lead to reduced quality of life, we should join the rising clamour for a people’s vote on the terms of any ‘Brexit deal’... The quality of life of millions is in jeopardy.”

Leading disability campaigners write an open letter to the Independent

More Brexit news…

Leading disability campaigners back The Independent’s call for a referendum on Brexit deal (Independent)

Treasury shifts cash into euros ahead of Brexit (Sunday Times £)

Supermarkets on Brexit: no deal ‘will hike food bills by 12%’ (Sunday Times £)

Tory MPs challenge hard-line Brexiteers (Telegraph)

Top Brexit comment

Looking forward...

Today, Monday 13 August

- Parliament in recess

Tomorrow, Saturday 11 August 

-  Parliament in recess
09:30 ONS: labour market statistics published