Monday 18 June 2018 - People's Vote

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Monday 18 June 2018

Morning briefing: May dishonest on NHS - airline turbulence - more Banks allegations

Theresa May’s credibility is in tatters after she dishonestly promised to pay for an increase in NHS spending partly via a “Brexit dividend” that doesn’t exist. That lie followed hard on the heels of her double-crossing Tory MPs, to whom she had promised a “meaningful vote” at the end of the Brexit talks.

The prime minister has gone full Boris on the NHS. The boss of the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies stated simply: “There is no Brexit dividend”. The Times splash is headlined: “Black hole in May’s cash plan for NHS”; the Metro’s is “Magic Money Theresa”.

Meanwhile, the Times editorial called talk of a Brexit dividend “as mendacious as the lie on the big red bus”. And the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire wrote: “Theresa May squanders remains of threadbare credibility with barefaced NHS Brexit ‘dividend’ lie.”

It’s not as if the prime minister’s pro-Brexit media allies are happy either. The Telegraph splash warns of a “Stealth tax to pay for NHS boost”. The Sun sounds the alarm about “Stealth tax fury”, saying: “Theresa May was last night accused of breaking the Tory manifesto after signalling that taxes will rise to fund a £20 billion-a-year bonanza for the NHS.”

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A quick recap on why there is no Brexit dividend:

  • We're giving the EU a £39bn divorce payment
  • We’ll pay even more in the “backstop” period the prime minister wants after we quit
  • We'll then pay the EU billions more each year to access its programmes
  • Brexit will weaken public finances by £15 billion a year because it will damage the economy - that’s based on the government’s own figures.

Extra money for the NHS will come from higher tax rates not a Brexit dividend.

So the prime minister is being dishonest twice: first by pretending that a Brexit dividend exists when it doesn’t; second by breaking her pledge not to raise taxes.

All this from somebody who famously promised to be “straight” with the people about Brexit in her Mansion House speech.

As Brexit takes its toll, dishonesty is becoming a pattern. Last week she went back on her word to Dominic Grieve to accept the thrust of his amendment ensuring Parliament will get a meaningful vote. She neutered the text, seemingly after pressure from hardline Brexiters.

The House of Lords will have a chance to fix the problem later today. But the real battle will come on Wednesday when the House of Commons considers the matter again. Given that MPs can no longer take the prime minister at her word, it is vital that strong and clear language is written down in law.


Tweet of the day

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Video of the day

Economist Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, on the BBC explaining why Brexit leaves no extra money for the NHS.

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Brexit will cost, not save, Brits money

Households could be left up to £1,000 a year worse off because of Brexit trade barriers, a report seen by the BBC will suggest. Global consultancy firm Oliver Wyman will say the worst-case Brexit scenario of high import tariffs and high regulatory barriers could cost the economy £27 billion.

The report will make clear that even under the most favourable scenario of no tariffs and few regulatory barriers, there are likely to be increased "red tape" costs. It’s clear Brexit will cost, not save us, money.


Graphic of the day

This from OFOC! will be on an ad van roaming McDonnell’s constituency today.

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May prepares to blur Northern Ireland red line

Theresa May could be about to wipe out another of her red lines - handing a deciding role in the future of Northern Ireland to the European Court of Justice, The Times reports.

Angry Tory Brexiters fear that if the ECJ gets to define what an acceptable future arrangement for Northern Ireland looks like, the temporary “backstop” solution currently being negotiated - whereby Northern Ireland, and potentially the entire UK, stays aligned with EU regulations and customs rules - could become permanent.

Their fears are well founded. May’s Cabinet has spent months arguing over two customs options - neither of which the EU will accept. But if the “backstop” is to go on forever, we will become a rule taker with little say in Brussels. Was that what people voted for when they were told they could “take back control”?


Video of the day 2

Guy is a father of two young daughters. This Father's Day he told us why he's marching for a People's Vote to help protect their future.

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Brexit turbulence ahead for airlines

Planes could be grounded if a deal on aviation isn’t in place by March, airline chiefs warn in a letter to the EU’s Brexit negotiator. And if UK-EU trade is disrupted, parts could also be held up at borders, preventing maintenance crews and aircraft manufacturers like Airbus from operating.

All the more reason why Parliament must have a meaningful vote to prevent us crashing out of the EU with no deal.


Quote of the day

“We are the most heavily regulated industry in the world after nuclear. It is not feasible to cobble together a last-minute deal even if there is a political need.”

A senior figure in the aviation industry worries what will happen when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.


More allegations? You can Banks on it

The source of the money Arron Banks ploughed into the Brexit campaign fronted by Nigel Farage is in question again. The Sunday Times revealed it couldn’t have come from a business deal as previously claimed by his sidekick Andy Wigmore. Banks fessed up to paper that he made no money from the deal in question, and instead blamed Wigmore. “He got it completely wrong. Not for the first time.”

Meanwhile, the Observer says Wigmore passed confidential legal documents to high-ranking officials at the Russian embassy and then denied it to parliament.

It looks like MPs are going to have to drag Banks and Wigmore back to answer more questions. They walked out of a Commons committee hearing last week to catch a lunch date, showing contempt for Parliament.


More Brexit news…

Brexit trade barriers could cost UK £27bn, report argues (BBC)

Labour Live: Corbyn fails to address Brexit divisions amid festival protest (Sky)

EU nationals fear Brexit will tear carers from their families (Observer)

Brexit and chemicals: Planning for all scenarios (Business Green)


Top Brexit comment

Andrew Adonis: May double-crossed Grieve over Brexit – this is a constitutional crisis (Guardian)

Matthew d’Ancona: The Tories’ NHS pledge puts them on a Brexit bus to nowhere (Guardian)

Nick Clegg: Tantalising glimpse of an EU compromise on freedom of movement (FT)


Looking forward...

Today, Monday 18 June

AM Theresa May speech announcing extra £20bn for NHS
PM Lords to consider Commons amendments to EU (Withdrawal) Bill
PM MPs debate EU-Japan economic partnership agreement
15:00 Brexit and Northern Ireland ministers give evidence to Lords EU committee 
19:00 Jacob Rees-Mogg lecture on Brexit at Speaker's House
19:00 England play their first World Cup 2018 match against Tunisia

Tomorrow, Tuesday 19 June

- Unison conference
- Article 50 CoReper meeting
09:30 ONS: Labour in the construction industry statistics
10:00 EU's Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt speak on post-Brexit police and judicial cooperation
11:30 Health questions in Commons