Thursday 12 July 2018 - People's Vote

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Thursday 12 July 2018

Morning briefing: Trump's America - Tom Watson - Javid's negotiations

Even before seeing the government’s White Paper this morning, we know four things. Its Brexit proposal will be bad for our prosperity, bad for our public services and bad for our power - and it won’t even be accepted by the EU anyway. This is the first shot in a negotiation - and the deal you end up with is always worse than what you ask for.

The proposal is bad for our prosperity because it doesn’t protect our services industries, which account for 80% of our economy. If we damage our economy we won’t have as much money to pay for vital public services such as the NHS.

It is bad for our power because it will turn us into a rule-taker. Theresa May wants us to follow EU rules on goods. She wants us to follow EU rules on competition policy. She says we won’t undercut its environment, social or consumer rules either. She wants us to pay “due regard” to the European Court of Justice. And she wants us to collect tariffs for the EU without the EU doing the same for us.

This is what provoked Boris Johnson and David Davis to resign. But it’s not just Brexiters who don’t want to be turned into a “colony”. Patriotic pro-Europeans don’t want that either. It’s totally different from the current situation where we help make the rules - and have a judge on the EU’s court.

The EU probably won’t reject the proposal out of hand. But it won’t accept it before squeezing further concessions from the prime minister.

  • We may have to pay into its budget.
  • We probably won’t be able to diverge from EU rules we don’t like, one of May’s ideas.
  • We probably won’t be able to pull out of its farming and fishing policies, another of her ideas.

The EU may also say it’s not possible to have free movement of goods without services and people - in which case the proposal will die completely.

The eventual deal (if there is one) will be miserable. It’s vital that at the end of the talks, Parliament ask the people whether they want it or not.

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Graphic of the day


Brexiters put down customs amendments

Hardline Brexiter MPs - led by Jacob Rees Mogg - have put down amendments to the government’s trade bill in an attempt to kill off May’s customs proposal - the “facilitated customs arrangement”. Mind you, it’s such a cockamamie idea that it will probably collapse under the weight of its own internal conflicts anyway, Another amendment, supported by the DUP and Kate Hoey, “would force the government to agree in law to a commitment to never having a border in the Irish sea”. Rees Mogg told the Sun that he thought “this will help the government stick to the promises it made”. These amendments are designed to show May how many of her MPs are unwilling to fall in line.


Quote of the day

"Brexit meant Brexit, but now it appears Brexit means remaining subject to European laws."

        - The penny begins to drop for Jacob Rees Mogg


Trump trouble

President Donald Trump arrives in Britain today. While his itinerary largely keeps him out of London - meaning he’s unlikely to see the Baby Blimp on Friday’s march - he is expected to stay at the US ambassador’s residence near Regent’s Park, with a demonstration planned there today at 5.30pm.

Trump has spent the last few days cheerfully interfering in British politics, describing the UK as in “turmoil” (true) and that it’s “up to the people” whether May should stay in power (also true). He’s also been busy undermining Nato and launching trade wars. We didn’t know this would be happening when we voted in 2016. A changing and more dangerous world is just another reason for a People’s Vote on whatever emerges from the Brexit negotiations


Video of the day

WATCH: Our new Foreign Secretary declaring his support for a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal, in 2016.


No deal means lights out in Belfast

No deal, no electricity - at least for Northern Ireland, which imports power from the Republic. If a no deal Brexit saw the UK out of the European electricity market, Belfast would be stuck: unable to generate enough power of its own, unable to buy it from the Republic.

The government’s proposed solution? To find thousands of generators - bringing them back from places like Afghanistan - and putting them “on barges in the Irish sea”. And to think pro-Europeans were the ones accused of Project Fear. You couldn’t make it up.


Tweet of the day


More Brexit news…

Outrage as Theresa May 'told Ministers Brexit plan can't be changed as Angela Merkel cleared it' (Sun)

May faces rebellion from two sides after Brexit compromise (Times)

Britain facing 'state of emergency' if no deal reached, Dominic Grieve warns (Independent)


Top Brexit comment

Philip Stephens: Brexit and a not-so-special relationship (FT)


Looking forward...

Today, Thursday 12 July

- Trump arrives in UK
- BCC Quarterly Economic Survey
09:30 DEFRA Questions

Tomorrow, Friday 13 July

- Trump in UK
14:00 Barnier in US talking Brexit