Morning Briefing: SNP and Plaid for People's Vote - bending over backwards - "my deal or no deal" not true
As Theresa May bends over backwards to get a Brexit deal (see below), two further political parties have come out in favour of a People’s Vote: the SNP and Plaid Cymru. They join the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Women’s Equality Party - as well as Labour, which has given the idea qualified endorsement, and an increasing number of Tory MPs too.
With the opposition massing against the prime minister’s plans - and problems from Brextremist and pro-European Conservatives, and the alliance with the DUP - she will struggle to get any deal through Parliament. No wonder the Tory whips are trying to woo Labour MPs to their cause to make up the numbers. But that, too, seems doomed - because there aren’t just two choices - a miserable deal and no deal. There’s a third: a People’s Vote. (see below).
Nicola Sturgeon came out in favour of a new public vote on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, saying: “SNP MPs would undoubtedly vote for that proposition.” The SNP has 35 MPs in Westminster, the third-largest bloc. Scotland’s first minister is in tune with her members, 89% of whom want a People’s Vote and 93% of whom would like to stay in the EU, according to a YouGov poll.
Meanwhile, the new Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has supported a People’s Vote with all guns blazing.
Video of the day
WATCH: Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP would back a People's Vote in Parliament.
Bending over backwards to get a deal
Theresa May might now get a deal, but only because she is making a series of quick-fired concessions. In addition to being prepared to keep the UK in the EU’s customs union for as far as the eye can see and to have regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, she may now accept that the European Court of Justice effectively has the final say if there are any disputes, according to Politico.
There’s nothing wrong with the ECJ. UK judges have played a big role in developing its jurisprudence. The problem is that, after Brexit, we won’t have a judge on the court. What happened to taking back control of our laws?
The emerging deal, which negotiators are hoping to nail down before next week’s summit, will also be vague in the extreme - 10 to 20 pages of annotated headlines, Politico reports. The wording of this blindfold Brexit will be such that the prime minister will be able to point to elements that look like her dead Chequers proposal while Brextremists will see things that look a bit like their Canada model.
This is a blindfold Brexit that attempts to pull the wool over voters’ eyes. It’s the worst of both worlds, as I've written for InFacts here.
- It would damage our power because we would end up following lots of EU rules, including on trade with the rest of the world, without a vote on them.
- It would damage our prosperity as i would do little to protect our services industries, 80% of the economy, and would harm our manufacturers too.
- It could damage peace in Northern Ireland by simply deferring the key decisions about how to maintain a soft border in Ireland in the long term until after we have left the EU.
- Political infighting over whether the ultimate deal was closer to Chequers or Canada would drag on and on, crippling the economy with uncertainty.
- The public would be kept in the dark about what Brexit means until well after we have left.
Tweet of the day
This wry parody of Banksy's 'Girl With A Balloon' shredding stunt.
May’s parliamentary maths doesn’t add up
If Theresa May does get such a miserable Chequada deal, she will struggle to get it through Parliament. She must first win over (at least some of) the Brextremists in the ERG. Though this group claims up to 80 Tories in the Commons, the hard core may be as few 20. These are the ones who threatened this weekend to bring down the government if it didn’t retreat on its plan to keep the UK in the customs union indefinitely as part of its solution to the Irish border issue.
Other Brexiters appear more flexible. They say the whole UK can stay in the customs union but only until the next general election in 2022, according to The Times. But this is a false concession because there’s no way the EU will accept a solution that only keeps the Irish border open until 2022.
That’s why May’s whips are trying to put the wind up around 25 Labour MPs, telling them if they don’t vote for May’s deal we’ll get the chaos of crashing out with no deal at all, according to reports in The Guardian and The Telegraph. But the “my deal or no deal” argument is a false dilemma. There’s a third option: a People’s Vote. If there’s deadlock in Parliament, handing the decision back to the public will suddenly look like a very sensible way out.
Tweet of the day 2
Strong support from Sadiq Khan to give the people the final say on Brexit.
Brexiters’ Japan fantasy
Brexiters are over-excited because Japan’s prime minister has suggested the UK would be welcomed with “open arms” into a trade pact with 11 Pacific countries, in an interview with the FT. But signing up to the deal would require leaving the EU’s customs union - exactly the opposite of what Theresa May is now proposing. If we did go for a hard Brexit outside the customs union, Japanese firms in the UK would probably shift their operations to run more smoothly within the EU. This strategy looks even more daft because we already have a great trade deal with Japan - thanks to our membership of the EU!
Quote of the day
“I am petrified at the way Brexit is going. I’m afraid the political leaders have made a dog’s dinner of it and none of us really trust them any more to take final decision – whatever the result of the negotiations.”
National treasure Delia Smith, one of the many public figures footing the bill for coaches to take people from across the country to the People’s Vote March for the Future in London on October 20. Find out more here
More Brexit news…
Video of the day 2
WATCH: The latest instalment of the FFS Awards from For our Future's Sake.
Editorial: A no-deal Brexit is against the ‘will of the people’ (Independent)
Matthew d’Ancona: Theresa May’s push for the centre ground is doomed. Blame Brexit (Guardian)
Clare Foges: Big lie of the ‘anti‑establishment’ Brexit vote (Times £)
Today, Monday 8th October
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|-||SNP Party Conference|
Tomorrow, Tuesday 9th October
|-||Michel Barnier meets DUP leader Arlene Foster|
|14:00||Migration Advisory Committee chair, Alan Manning, in front of home affairs committee|
|15:15||Nicola Sturgeon addresses SNP party conference|