Monday 24 June 2019 - People's Vote

Monday 24 June 2019

Morning Briefing: Trade union members want People's Vote

Many thanks to more than 1,000 campaign supporters who joined our fantastic rally in Leeds on Saturday to call for a People's Vote at the start of a summer of protest against a destructive No Deal. Next Saturday we will be in Cheltenham, so get your tickets here. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

Trade union members want a People's Vote, poll reveals

Britain’s trade union members overwhelmingly want a People’s Vote, would choose to stay in the EU – and are much more likely to support the Labour Party if it gives them that chance, according a new YouGov poll.

The findings of this survey of 1,813 members are published before Jeremy Corbyn is scheduled to meet trade union general secretaries this week to discuss Labour’s policy on Brexit.

It confounds claims made about the party’s traditional support and has already prompted fresh demands for the party to move further and faster to reflect the views of the Labour movement as a whole.

The poll shows that rank-and-file trade union members support staying in the EU by a margin of 71 to 29 per cent; back a People’s Vote by 64 to 33 per cent; want Labour to campaign to stay in the EU by three-to-one and are three times more likely to support Labour if it clearly backs a People’s Vote.

It makes grim reading for Jeremy Corbyn as it shows just 39% of trade unionists currently intend to vote Labour as support haemorrhages to parties who clearly support a People’s Vote.

Secretary of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs Jo Stevens said Labour’s official position is “still too far behind that of our party members and voters, not to mention grassroots trade unionists who are the bedrock of our movement. Now, more than ever, we need those voices to be heard.”

Former YouGov president Peter Kellner pointed out that the survey of more than 1,800 members is large enough to provide separate data on the three biggest unions – Unite, Unison and GMB, which shows a clear majority in each for a People’s Vote and a Remain outcome.

Standing room only at first People's Vote rally of the summer

It was standing room only at the first People’s Vote rally of a long, hot summer of protest as more than 1,000 people joined stars and politicians to announce “Let Us Be Heard” in Leeds on Saturday.

Football legend John Barnes said it was the start of something incredible: "I was proud to stand on stage and hear such a passionate audience. It is clear our message – that a People’s Vote is the only way through this Brexit crisis – is being heard across the country."

Labour’s Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn called for his party to be “loud and clear" in backing a People’s Vote. Among the speakers were ex-Leeds United manager Peter Reid, MP Mary Creagh, People’s Vote campaigner Alastair Campbell, while former athlete Steve Cram chaired the rally.

Explaining how the event marked the launch of People’s Vote North, Campbell said: "It is time to revoke the long-held media myth that the north is this mass of angry, decrepit Brexiteers.”

There were more than 50 grassroots events taking place all over the country from Sunderland to Cirencester, Derby to St Albans. There will be a rally next Saturday June 29 at Cheltenham's Town Hall as campaigners from the West Country have the chance to call to Let Us Be Heard.

Tough scrutiny on Boris Johnson's "unicorn" fantasy Brexit plans

Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson’s late night row with partner Carrie Symonds has opened up scrutiny about his character as he bids to become Prime Minister.

But his own video on what he will do to drive Brexit through opens up very real focus on a plan that is at best a “unicorn’ fantasy and at its worst, simply made-up and ill-thought out nonsense.

When Cabinet ministers such as de-facto Deputy PM David Lidington, International Development secretary Rory Stewart, Justice minister David Gauke and even International trade minister and arch-Brexiter Liam Fox rubbish it, you know that Johnson is once again peddling a No Deal “strategy” that is disastrous.

The so-called “Back Boris” campaign released a video in which he said: “You disaggregate the elements of the otherwise defunct Withdrawal Agreement.. you reserve the payment of the £39 billion.. That is in the context of the Free Trade Agreement, that we’ll negotiate in the implementation period, after we’ve come out on October 31.”

Lidington pointed out that No Deal = No Withdrawal Agreement + No implementation period, while Stewart pointed out that you cannot eat the cake and keep the cake. And Fox said No Deal meant that the UK would be hit by tariffs, contrary to Johnson’s fact-free assertion last week.

The deep criticism came as Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's former most senior civil servant to the EU, delivered a speech reproduced in full here by the Spectator that outlined in depth how a destructive No Deal is the most likely outcome from the current political chaos.

It was a bad weekend for Johnson, as his private life immediately became an election issue, as well as publication of a film of the white supremacist and one-time Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon boasting about how he advised the front runner to be the next PM.

Johnson has, of course, denied meaningful contact with Bannon but does anyone believe him? In the end, it is his reputation for dishonesty that may be the undoing of him and his Brexit project as much as his private life.

Tom Watson pushes for People's Vote ahead of Shadow Cabinet meeting

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson has warned MPs and peers that an analysis of the party’s losses in recent local and European elections that was presented to the shadow cabinet last week dangerously underestimated the crisis it will face if it fails to back another Brexit referendum.

In a briefing document circulated to more than 100 Labour MPs and peers yesterday, he warns that if Labour does not face the actual lessons, it risks electoral disaster.

His move comes ahead of a key shadow cabinet meeting this week that will decide the future of Labour’s policy on Brexit and whether the party will campaign for a People’s Vote on any future deal.

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

“Jeremy Corbyn is now said to be studying the history of the 1970s as he grapples with this problem. Labour can and should back a referendum on any Brexit outcome.

"What matters now is that Labour moves with speed to close the gap that has opened up between party’s position on the one hand – and its members, voters and values on the other.

"If we do this in the next few weeks we can still change the course of history. If we don’t, we risk becoming history ourselves."

People's Vote supporter Dame Margaret Beckett was in Harold Wilson's cabinet in the 1970s and gives Jeremy Corbyn a history lesson. 

Video of the Day 

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People's Vote campaign news

More Brexit news

Peter Reid and John Barnes call for People's Vote at packed-out rally (Yorkshire Post)

Trade unionists back People's Vote (Independent)

Left wing campaign group pushes Corbyn to back Remain in People's Vote (PoliticsHome)

EU chastises UK over barriers to Euro elections voting (Politico)

Boris Johnson could be turfed out within days with no-confidence vote (Mirror)

Steve Bannon worked with Johnson on his big speech (Guardian)

Top Brexit comment...

Ivan Rogers: No Deal is now the most likely Brexit outcome (Spectator)

Margaret Beckett: Labour must support a second referendum or face becoming history (Observer)

Caroline Lucas: Three years on, Brexit has left Britain in political paralysis (HuffPost)