Monday 20 August 2018 - People's Vote

Monday 20 August 2018

Morning briefing: Guess who’s back - Government forced to do right thing - Uncertainty takes toll on business

Nigel Farage has announced his ‘return’ to frontline politics as part of the Leave Means Leave campaign. The casual reader could be forgiven for quibbling with his choice of words, given that he’s hardly been off the airwaves since the 2016 vote. But apparently he’s planning to get back on the streets.

On the face of it, Farage is returning to campaign against the Chequers plan, the awful Brexit compromise that the Conservative party and indeed Theresa May’s own government is already doing an admirable job of dismantling. The real reason is surely that Farage and Leave Means Leave are simply rattled by the gathering momentum of anti-Brexit sentiment.

If Farage were just worried that May would sell his vision of Brexit down the river, he could surely rely on Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg - who has promised to block the Chequers plan - and the rest of his fellow travellers within the Conservative party to do his work for him. If May’s plan proves so unpopular, it would be likely to trigger a leadership contest. As Anna Soubry pointed out over the weekend, there are plenty of ardent Leavers willing to join the party to make sure a proper pro-Brexit man - and it would almost certainly be a man - takes over the party.

But Farage can’t be sure. He is worried that whatever emerges from the Chequers ashes will either be an even greater capitulation or, better still, a People’s Vote on whether we want May’s Brexit at all.

There’s no doubt the wind is gathering behind our campaign. Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton has donated £1m to the cause, a huge vote of confidence, and the polls are beginning to show that more and more people want the electorate to have the final say. With the UK facing a disastrous Brexit - either no deal or a bad deal - the calls are getting louder for the public to take back control with a People’s Vote. It’s no wonder that Farage and his friends are getting badly rattled.


Quote of the day

“We’re already 3,500 midwives short across the UK and if we lose our hard-working, fantastic midwife colleagues from the EU, it will be a disaster”

Mary Ross Davie, Director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland

Video of the day

This week's #FFS awards feature Jeremy Hunt, Steve Baker, Chris #Failing Grayling, amid other equally deserving names. Watch and share: 

Government forced to do right thing

Two years too late, the government says it will generously give EU citizens who’ve made their lives in Britain the right to stay, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Just in case anyone thought Theresa May had acquired a nasty case of ‘conscience’, the first of more than 80 “no-deal” papers to leak from Whitehall helpfully pointed out that this means taking the “moral high ground” because it’s worried about labour shortages. Now the only thing standing between EU citizens and a settled life in Britain is the grinding bureaucracy of the Home Office. So don’t open the champagne quite yet.

The policy will be announced formally on Thursday, when the government begins publishing its first contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. The danger will be that it spreads panic, not reassurance.

Video of the day 2

Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of Superdry, tells us why a Peoples Vote matters to him - and why he's donated £1m to support our campaign


Uncertainty takes toll on business

“Won’t someone think of the asset managers” is a line unlikely to win much support from the British public. But when firms are rushing to shift operations to Dublin and Luxembourg as they prepare for a hard Brexit, we should pay attention to what Brexit means for the economy. Exasperated Ford boss Jim Farley points out that “we don’t actually know how to trade with each other” in the event of no deal. And while we haven’t left yet, Ford is already pointing at Brexit as a major cause of the £760m fall in European revenues last year. So perhaps it’s not that surprising that the UK’s manufacturing sector - starved of investment and beset by Brexit uncertainty - has dropped to 9th in the world. Behind France - which isn’t leaving the EU.

More Brexit news…

Steelworkers back the Independent's campaign for a Final Say (Independent)

Brexit and interest rates sap confidence in economy (Times £)

Tory MPs warn of entryism threat from Leave.EU supporters (Guardian)

Top Brexit comment

- Sarah Wollaston: Informed consent is essential before Brexit surgery (Times £)

- Andrew Adonis: Labour is finished if it backs Brexit in snap election (Guardian)

- Benjamin Baccas: Online shopping could be more of a headache after Brexit (InFacts)

Looking forward...

Today, Monday 20 August

- Parliament in recess

Tomorrow, Tuesday 21 August

- Parliament in recess