Monday 3 September 2018 - People's Vote

Monday 3 September 2018

Morning briefing: Women for a People's Vote - knives out for Chequers - investment thwacked

Women’s voices need to be heard as the country makes a decision which will affect us all for generations to come. That’s why we’re launching the Women for a People’s Vote campaign today - demanding the public, and especially the 51% who are women, get a say on whatever Brexit emerges from Theresa May’s mess.

Brexit may be unfolding under a female prime minister but she is failing to represent the 58% of women that want a People’s Vote on the final deal.

From the NHS and wages, to household budgets and education - all are threatened by a Brexit which is being negotiated and planned by an overwhelmingly male group of politicians and civil servants. Four of the five ministers at the Department for Exiting the EU are men, with only one, junior, female minster. What’s more, the UK negotiating team for Brexit is only 11% female.

A rotten Brexit deal - or worse, no deal at all - could also overturn hard-won freedoms and rights, which a generation of UK women rely upon. Hardline Brextremists are dying to strip back equal pay legislation, anti-harassment laws, anti-discrimination legislation and other social rights under the cover of a “bonfire” of EU red tape.


So while the ins and outs of the arguments between the Great Men of Brexit might be great fun for the newspapers, their inability to compromise or empathise is incredibly serious for women.

The Royal College of Nursing, who are hosting our launch event this morning, and the Royal College of Midwives have both warned that a Brexit deal which threatens the rights of EU nurses and midwives to work in the UK could have a massive impact on the NHS.

And the British Medical Association has described Brexit as a “disastrous act of national self-harm.”

Of course we all use the NHS but in many families it is still disproportionately women who are carers to both older and younger generations; the ones who take on the job of taking the kids to the GPs surgery or who rely most on the nurses and midwives who will be most affected by a poor Brexit deal.

Then there is the cost of living. Brexit is hitting women’s pockets already, and the trend is only set to get worse. Inflation is rising faster and wage growth has slowed since the Brexit vote. That hits women, who already earn nearly 10% less than men, disproportionately harder.


Brexit means that the average woman’s pay will be 65p an hour lower than it would have been otherwise, which translates to about £1,250 a year for those who work full time. And while wages squeeze at one end, prices are rising at the other.

These may be small sums to men like Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose country estate and city investment fund will insulate him from the the Brexit slowdown he is so cheerfully inflicting on the rest of us, but to worried mums and working women throughout the UK it is yet another blow.

But this does not have to be a done deal. By supporting a People’s Vote on the final deal women can take back control of the agenda and ensure that a largely male driven process doesn’t leave them high and dry.

Sign up to the Women for a People’s Vote campaign here. You can also find the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Video of the day

WATCH: Young people in Northern Ireland refuse to be ignored any longer. And they will not let their communities be dragged backwards by Brexit. That's why they're launching Our Future, Our Choice! Northern Ireland.


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Knives out for Chequers

Just one more day before Parliament returns for the most crucial few months in the Brexit process, and it’s clear that the prime minister’s miserable Chequers proposal satisfies no one. This morning Boris Johnson clattered in with another damning Telegraph column, claiming May was getting “diddly squat” from the EU and had gone into battle “with the white flag fluttering”. Meanwhile 20 of Theresa May’s own MPs have pledged support for Stand Up 4 Brexit, a campaign committed to scuppering her deal. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier also piled in, telling European manufacturers that he was “strongly opposed” to May’s proposition for the threat it posed to the single market, especially supply chains.

All this followed a bruising weekend. Former Brexit secretary David Davis told the BBC that Chequers was “almost worse” than staying in the EU and he’d vote against it. Nick Boles, an MP close to Michael Gove, turned against the prime minister’s “humiliating” proposition, proposing a Norway-type deal that eventually morphs into something like Canada. And the Sunday Times reported that May’s former election strategist, Lynton Crosby, is working to scupper her deal and potentially put Johnson in power. In this context, as Hugo Dixon writes for InFacts, May’s pledge in the Sunday Telegraph to save her Chequers proposal and stop a People’s Vote looks like King Canute trying to stop the tide.

Graphic of the day

For our Future's Sake put out this vital stat over the weekend, amidst exciting news that the British Youth Council - the largest youth-led organisation in the UK - now backs a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.


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£22bn investment hit before Brexit even happens

Businesses have invested a £22 billion less than they would have in the last two and a half years if pre-Brexit trends had continued, thanks to Brexit uncertainty, according to new data from Vendigital reported in the Telegraph. Between 2010 and 2015, gross fixed capital formation - a wide-ranging measure of business investment - rose steadily by £2 billion each year. That growth has now dropped sharply. Less investment means less growth, lower pay and less money for our strained public services than we would otherwise be enjoying. And that’s before we’ve even left the EU.

Tweet of the day

Massive thanks to everyone who packed out Cambridge Junction the People's Vote East of England rally yesterday, and a special thanks to all our excellent speakers! Hopefully these summer rallies are inspiring you to get out and campaign for a People's Vote. Here are four ideas from the event to get started...



More Brexit news…

Britain loses medicines contracts as EU body anticipates Brexit (Guardian)

Carney faces pressure to reveal if he will remain at Bank of England (FT)

No-deal Brexit: study warns of severe short-term impact on UK (Guardian)

Pound investors face months of volatility into Brexit endgame (Bloomberg)

Falklands in a flap over loss of EU funding for penguins after Brexit (Telegraph)

Quote of the day

“The MHRA [the UK’s medicines regulator] has benefited enormously from its close links with the EMA. The fracturing of those links will impact severely on its budget, much now from the EMA, and its ability to attract and retain skilled staff.”

Martin McKee, professor of European health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, commenting on the collapse of EU work for the regulator due to Brexit

Top Brexit comment

Peter Kellner: Majority of voters, even Leavers, don’t want blind Brexit (InFacts)

Larry Elliott: Trump's WTO threats matter – especially to a post-Brexit Britain (Guardian)

Looking forward...

Today, Monday 3rd September

- Parliament in recess
- Commons Brexit committee in Brussels for private meeting with Michel Barnier
- Labour's National Executive Committee election results

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4th September

- Parliament returns
- ERG meeting to agree plan to kill off Chequers
- Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill second reading in Lords
- Labour's NEC votes on whether to accept international definition of anti-semitism
- Green Party leadership election results
10:15 Brexit department permanent secretary gives evidence to Commons Brexit committee
13:15 Bank of England governor Mark Carney gives evidence to Treasury committee
14:30 Jeremy Hunt answers Foreign Office questions in Commons
14:30 Trade minister gives evidence to international trade committee on trade in developing countries