Thursday 16 May 2019 - People's Vote

Thursday 16 May 2019

Morning Briefing: Trying to make sense of Labour

This time next week, voters will be going to the polls in the European elections, but it is six weeks since the UK was granted an extension with the warning from Donald Tusk: "Don't waste the time." The only way out is a People's Vote so check here which parties deserve your vote next week.

Trying to make sense of Labour

With a YouGov poll yesterday saying that just 13% of people think Labour's Brexit policy is very or fairly clear, it's maybe no surprise that there seems to be an ongoing balance between the good and the bad news.

The good news for People's Vote campaigners: Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry laid out how Labour’s position would lead to Mrs May’s Brexit deal going “back to the public”.

Describing PM Theresa May as “a brick wall” during negotiations on a Brexit compromise (which many insiders predict are set to collapse very soon, possibly even today) and with speculation about Labour’s position when it returns to the Commons in early June, Mrs Thornberry was at pains to be clear.

The bad news is that she was having to respond to a briefing from Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn's communications director, in the Lobby after Prime Minister's Questions, where he indicated that Labour might abstain on the Withdrawal Bill, allowing it to be passed.

It looked like a “stitch-up” was coming to pass, but Thornberry, speaking on ITV’s Peston, was clear: “I’m the elected politician, I’m on the record: we are not going to vote for the Withdrawal Bill if we don’t agree with it – which we don’t unless they make changes which they haven’t. We are going to oppose it.”

She backed a People’s Vote, saying that the public should decide on whether to back a deal or stay in the EU.

She said: “When the music stops, if we end up with some sort of deal, we think we should say to them ‘we think this is probably quite a long from what you voted for, so just to be sure, is this what you want, because you can have this or Remain.”

There is a battle being fought here between elected MPs and members of the Shadow Cabinet like Emily Thornberry, Deputy Leader Tom Watson and Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer whose public support for a People's Vote is reflective of the views of the overwhelming majority of Labour members and voters and unelected spin doctors.

Her comments came as the future of Mrs May as leader of the Tory Party will again be discussed when she meets the backbench 1922 Committee executive with pressure growing for her to step aside, particularly if her “last throw of the dice” fails. 

Labour being outspent in European election campaign

It's a similar story with the election campaign. Candidates out on the streets are desperate for support from Party HQ. But new figures showed Labour's spending on Facebook ads was dwarfed by the Lib Dems, Change UK and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

New data from the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign shows that from May 5 to May 11, Labour spent just £7,331 on Facebook advertising for the elections - less than a third of the Lib Dems outlay of £23,191. Labour sources claimed that they were spending more than on any previous Euro campaign.

This is despite Labour having a membership (540,000 to 99,000) and budget (£56 million to £10 million) more than five times greater than the Lib Dems.

Farage’s party spent the most with £26,776 and Change UK spent £21,490. The Conservatives have spent just £2,286.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: “Every Labour campaigner who has been out on the doorstep knows the truth. Even though we have excellent candidates who are supporting a People’s Vote, our campaign is being hobbled by a lukewarm, mealy-mouthed, half-hearted policy on Brexit that leaves our voters either confused or angry.

Fox opens the door to chlorine-washed chicken

One of the great fears of Brexit is that the UK adopts US food standards and opens the door to chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-injected beef and other imports.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox yesterday appeared to leave the door open, saying: “There’s been no argument about food safety on chlorine-washed chicken – it’s been an argument about animal welfare…So, it’s not been about food standards per se, so that’s a slightly different debate and much more difficult to quantify because the legal definitions about it at the WTO are much less.”

Now we know that any Brexit deal will likely lead to lower food standards and our farmers being undercut by low-quality American produce. A People's Vote is the only solution to avoid such unstable measures.

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

"Politicians lack the courage to stand and fight. There will come a time, perhaps not for a decade, when the British people look back on these days, to identify men and women who showed themselves true to convictions. They will be obliged to conclude that most Conservative Remainer MPs exhausted their capital of courage early in the battle, then threw away their rifles and fled for the rear."

Eminent journalist and military historian as well as People's Vote supporter Max Hastings writes in The Times about the moral courage of politicians.

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More Brexit news…

Brexit £1.5bn goldrush for consultants (PoliticsHome)

Theresa May faces three-digit defeat on Brexit deal (The Sun)

Farage's Brexit Party allows "Vladimir Putin" to sign up (Mirror)

Top Brexit comment...

Andrew Grice: Theresa May's push for a 4th vote will save her for a few weeks only (Independent)

Paul Mason: Labour is being killed on the doorsteps: it should quit talks (New Statesman)

Luke McGee: Welcome to the last days of Theresa May (CNN)

Rod Liddle: I'm starting to have doubts about Farage (Spectator)

People's Vote Campaign News