Monday 16 July 2018 - People's Vote

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Monday 16 July 2018

Morning briefing: Greening backs People's Vote - with friends like Trump - EU citizens made illegal

“It’s the worst of both worlds.” That’s Justine Greening’s take on the car crash of a plan Theresa May hatched at Chequers. And it’s why the former education secretary is backing a People’s Vote, as she explains in a column for The Times.

Greening sees a People’s Vote as a fair and clear solution to the stalemate in Parliament - both among her own party and Labour, which she calls “just as divided on Brexit”.

Tory Brexit squabbling has reached a screeching intensity. We got news today of another government resignation, as Robert Courts - the MP who replaced David Cameron in his Witney constituency - quit his Foreign Office post. Meanwhile accusations have appeared in the Telegraph of the Tory party chairman threatening to withdraw campaign funds for MPs in marginal constituencies speaking out against May’s plan. Former Brexit minister Steve Baker is reportedly “whipping [Tory Brexiters] hard” in the Commons in response.

Over the weekend, whilst still fire-fighting the fallout from Donald Trump’s chaotic visit, May suffered a full-blown Brexiter broadside. David Davis called her dishonest in a Sunday Times column. Baker described the PM’s plan as a “pathetic” position of “supplication” to the EU. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said we will “hand back control” not take back control.

And there was even some Brexiter-on-Brexiter fire, with Davis and Boris Johnson at loggerheads over whose resignation strategy to go for, according to the Mail on Sunday. Just to be clear: this is what a party tearing itself apart looks like.

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The Tory meltdown is set to continue this week. May’s deal will come under fire in Parliament when the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, which looks at post-Brexit customs arrangements, returns to the Commons today. An amendment has been tabled by pro-European Tories attempting to lock the UK into a customs union with the EU, and others from the Brextremists that aim to destroy her “facilitated customs arrangement” of collecting tariffs on the EU’s behalf. Another bill on trade will face similar ambushes later in the week.

Even if amendments don't go to a vote, debates will be fierce, with both Johnson and Davis expected to exploit resignation speeches this week to attack the prime minister. No doubt Johnson will also do so in future newspaper columns, now he has his returned to his indulgent musings in the Telegraph. Today’s said nothing new.

It’s a total mess. Greening couldn’t have put it better than when she says: “The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people.”

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Graphic of the Day

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Video of the day

WATCH: Alan Bennett, History Boys author, say that in a People's Vote, the public would vote against Brexit because "they're so bored with it".

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We were told Brexit was going to be easy. As new facts come to light, we need a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.


Fee, fi, foe, Trump

When asked who his biggest foes were, the US president, supposedly our greatest ally, chose to start by naming the EU. Donald Trump is systematically turning post-war Western alliances inside out. Comments like this, hours before a one-to-one with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, make the nervous hospitality shown him by Theresa May look all the more weak - it was a symptom of Brexit desperation to cut a good deal with the transatlantic bully.

Trump’s bad behaviour only strengthens the argument of pro-Europeans. Thousands took to the streets to protest the president’s destructive and, yes, babyish behaviour. When asked who our real friends are, will the British public really say Trump - or our allies in Europe?


Tweet of the day

And another good point: can you really trust a president you can't even understand a lot of the time? Great Trump quote recycling from LSE's Brian Klaas.

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EU citizens could slip into illegal status

Tens of thousands of EU migrants could lose their right to be in the UK after Brexit - but the authorities will not know who they are, a new Migration Observatory report warns.

EU citizens will have to apply to the Home Office for “settled status”, but the government has no accurate idea of how many actually live in the UK. Many reasons, from “lack of awareness to fear of rejection to simple disorganisation”, could see EU nationals slip into an illegal status, says the report.

That means we won’t actually know who’s in the country, but also risks leaving people cut off from public services or vulnerable to unscrupulous employers exploiting illegal workers. Our EU-born friends and colleagues deserve better than this.


Quote of the day

“It's reasonable to expect that even with a perfectly designed application and a great communications campaign, some EU citizens will fall through the gaps and fail to secure settled status.”

Migration Observatory director Madeleine Sumption


Tweet of the day 2

OFOC's Femi Oluwole makes a good point in response to Theresa May's calls yesterday for the country to back her on Brexit.

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Nothing else getting done while Brexit lurches on

The number of new laws has more than halved in the past few years as Brexit crowds out other issues, reports The Times. There were 2,043 additions to the statute book last year, while in 2014 there were 4,262, according to research by Thomson Reuters.

Brexit is stopping us fixing the problems which drove many people to vote to leave the EU in the first place - the ailing NHS and social care, poorly resourced police, the housing crisis. If Brexit happens, there will be years of this to come. That’s why the people need a vote on whether this is the future they really want.


Tweet of the day 2

Here's the latest edition of the FFS Awards - and what better week for doling out comedy prizes to hapless Brexiters?

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More Brexit news…


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Looking forward...

Today, Monday 16 July

- Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill begins remaining stages of passage through Commons
- Trump meets Putin in Helsinki
- David Davis resignation speech expected
- Theresa May opens Farnborough Air Show 
09:30 ONS: Migration statistics quarterly report
09:30 ONS: International trade in services by partner country (Jan-March 2018)
09:30 Irish farmers give evidence to Northern Ireland committee on post-Brexit border

Tomorrow, Tuesday 17 July

- Trade Bill begins remaining stages of passage through Commons
09:00 Mark Carney gives evidence to Treasury committee
09:30 ONS: Labour market statistics
16:30 Development secretary Penny Mordaunt gives evidence on UK-EU cooperation to international development committee