Monday 17 June 2019 - People's Vote

Monday 17 June 2019

Morning Briefing: "Unicorn" fantasies won't resolve Brexit

The Conservative Party leadership contest continues this week with current favourite Boris Johnson still dodging hard questioning in last night's Channel 4's TV debate and today's Westminster lobby hustings. The next ballot is due tomorrow, but the Brexit proposals being put forward in this race to become our next Prime Minister are increasingly divorced from reality. We demand: Let Us Be Heard.

Johnson bottles out of debate of “unicorn” fantasists

Conservative Party leadership favourite Boris Johnson was too scared to face his rivals at the Channel 4 debate last night, boycotting the event in order to avoid scrutiny on his clearly undeliverable proposals for Brexit.

But despite the empty podium, there was no shortage of "unicorn" proposals for resolving the Brexit crisis from the other candidates.

The UK’s former top diplomat Lord John Kerr, one of the architects of Article 50, is alarmed that the current Tory Party leadership race has brought fiction and fantasy back, so that harsh facts are again forgotten. New promises, no less unrealistic, are made. In a foreword to a new paper by the People's Vote campaign, he wrote: “The unicorns are back, frolicking in the Tory forest.”

With just 0.25% of the population - paid up Conservative members - about to choose the new Prime Minister who will decide our country's future, this farcical process feels deeply undemocratic.

While Johnson hid behind the sofa, Rory Stewart, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Michael Gove floated a range of impossible “solutions” including renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement, leaving with no deal but securing a series of “mini-deals”, avoiding the backstop through “alternative arrangements” for the Irish border, withholding payment of the divorce bill, forcing a No Deal through without Parliamentary approval and somehow getting Theresa May’s deal through Parliament.

It really matters that an auction of promises to Tory ultras doesn’t become determinant of our nation’s future. This undemocratic and unreal approach to the UK's biggest political crisis can be resolved. Our demand - Let Us Be Heard - will grow louder throughout a summer of protest and MPs will need to take heed of the realities.

Tory Party split over Johnson's No Deal strategy

It is not as if the Conservative Party is in any way united behind Boris Johnson and his rivals’ No Deal threats. Veteran MP and Europhile Kenneth Clarke, who reluctantly supported the Withdrawal Agreement, came out in Sunday’s Observer for a People’s Vote for the first time in order to block a catastrophic No Deal.

He said he would be prepared to vote against a Boris Johnson government and bring it down if that was needed. “If some idiot was sailing into a no-deal Brexit, I’d decide politics had finally gone mad and vote against it,” he said. 

Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd, while insisting that she wouldn't vote against her own government, warned that many Tory MPs would do so and that the numbers are there to bring down the government. And up to 30 Conservative peers are threatening to resign the whip if Johnson attempts to force through No Deal.

The party's realists don't include Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who, having failed to gain enough votes to remain in the leadership content, has now thrown his minimal weight behind Johnson.

The first People's Vote campaign rally is in Leeds this Saturday June 22, which will kick off a summer of calls to Let Us Be Heard. The impossible No Deal position of Boris Johnson and his cronies will not hold.

Watson pushes for Labour to stand for People's Vote

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is to mount a renewed push today for the party to wholeheartedly back a People’s Vote, putting more pressure on leader Jeremy Corbyn to get off the fence.

In a keynote speech to the Centre for European Reform, he will say Labour’s members and its values have always been pro-European and will argue the only way to break the Brexit deadlock at Westminster is to put the issue back to the people.

He makes the case for Labour to be explicitly pro-Remain, but is clear that a People's Vote is the only solution. With prominent Shadow Cabinet members such as Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry supporting this position, there is also a grassroots rebellion with many local Labour parties expected to pass demanding a call for a People’s Vote and clearer statement from Labour.

Aviation business hits out at No Deal: so Let Us Be Heard

As the aviation industry gathers for the Paris Air Show, the UK aerospace sector has attacked "extreme" politicians pushing for No Deal, warning that there will be long-term consequences from the damaging proposals.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the British trade organisation representing businesses operating in the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, expressed “strong concern about the long-term damage that we are doing to our reputation as a good place to do business”. His comments came as the British Chambers of Commerce have downgraded growth projections for 2020 and 2021, pointing out that any temporary current boost comes from stockpiling.

The evidence continues to grow that Britain faces a grim economic future under a dangerous No Deal and a People's Vote is the only way our of the crisis.

We don’t have to sit back and let the politicians force a destructive form of Brexit on us - join our campaign and Let Us Be Heard.

It's clear that Brexit must be put to the people. Now is a crucial time to get involved with the People's Vote campaign. Sign up to volunteer today. 

Quote of the Day

"What alarms me most about the current Conservative Party leadership race is that fiction and fantasy are back, and harsh facts again forgotten, as new promises, no less unrealistic, are made. The unicorns are back, frolicking in the Tory forest."

The UK’s former top diplomat Lord John Kerr, one of the architects of Article 50, hits out at the "unicorn" fantasies being peddled by Tory leadership candidates.

Video of the Day

Femi Uluwole from Our Future, Our Choice delivers a hilarious satire of the Tory leadership debate.

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Video of the Day 2

Hilary Benn will be in Leeds on Saturday June 22nd...come and join him.

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Tweet of the Day

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Tweet of the Day 2

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy takes on Conservative minister Liz Truss over the dangers of No Deal.

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People's Vote campaign news

More Brexit news

Scrapping backstop as bad as no deal Brexit, says Irish PM (Independent)

Watson to push for People's Vote (Mirror)

Ken Clarke: "If there is no other way, you have to bring the Government down" (Observer)

Top Brexit comment...

Sam Gyimah: Leadership hopefuls must be straight with us about their Brexit Plan B (The Times)

Caroline Lucas: To remember Jo Cox, we must wrest control from Farage and Johnson (Independent)

Hywel Williams: It's a scandal that Tory candidates hawking snake oil of No Deal (PoliticsHome)