Thursday 18 July 2019 - People's Vote

Thursday 18 July 2019

Morning Briefing: "Don't panic!" EU condemns Dad's Army UK politicians

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier this morning described Brexit as a "lose-lose game" and said that the UK will have to face up to the consequences of No Deal. He in particular called out the challenges to be faced with the Irish border and condemned Brexit as adding "no value" to either the EU or UK.

People all over the country have been demanding a democratic People's Vote and tomorrow the citizens of Derby will join the clamour. The Let Us Be Heard rally in Derby’s Northcliffe House has an array of political heavyweights who are unafraid to give their views on the catastrophe facing the country.

Derby South MP Dame Margaret Beckett, former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, Independent Group for Change leader Anna Soubry and engineering apprentice and For our Future’s Sake campaigner Raisia Matadar will be among those taking the stage. Get your tickets here to Let Us Be Heard.

MPs have chance to block shutdown of Parliament

MPs opposed to No Deal have a big chance to block future government attempts to suspend – prorogue – Parliament today after peers led the way against a shutdown.

The House of Lords voted to back an amendment to the Northern Ireland bill which ensures that the government will need to keep Parliament open in the weeks leading up to the October 31 Brexit deadline.

It now returns to the House of Commons for a vote today. While it is not the last chance saloon for members to block attempts by Boris Johnson to force through an undemocratic No Deal, it is a key moment for MPs – and particularly Conservative MPs – to stand up and be counted.

There has been a lot of speculation and discussion from leading Conservative ministers such as Philip Hammond, David Gauke and others about the need to stop No Deal or proroguing parliament. This morning on the BBC's Today programme Mr Gauke wouldn't rule out voting for the new amendment as he reiterated his opposition to No Deal and proroguing Parliament.

He is just one of many Conservatives vehemently opposed to No Deal, and who recognise the threat it would pose to the long-term interests of the Union and the British people. It is time for them to act.

To understand how the different Brexit options are unworkable and only a People's Vote can solve the crisis, click here to read and share our report Six Dead Ends, One Cliff-Edge, Only One Way Out.

UK heading for recession following cliff-edge No Deal

How much will No Deal cost the UK economy? There was a spat between Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg and current chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday after the arch-Boris Johnson supporter claimed that there would be an £80 billion boost to the economy.

Mr Hammond was having none of it, tweeting that it was “terrifying” that someone so close to a potential future government could believe this. As others around Westminster got involved, it was a ping-pong of facts and figures – and near-facts and near-figures.

This morning the independent Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to release its assessment of the effect of No Deal. Insiders are predicting it will be explosive as it digs into the financial risks associated with No Deal.

The Times claims that it will predict that the UK will go into recession in 2020, recover in 2021, but that GDP will remain 3% smaller than if we leave the EU with a deal, and much smaller still than if the UK stays in the EU.

The OBR looks at the medium term risks to public finances and long-term fiscal responsibility. This is the second fiscal risk report and will include a study of the possible risks to public finances of climate change. But it is the deep dive into Brexit that is expected to raise the biggest stir, particularly as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have boxed themselves into a hard Brexit and No Deal corner.

It comes as banks predicted that the pound could drop to parity with the dollar for the first time if there is No Deal. Morgan Stanley forecast a drastic slump in the value of the pound, echoing a previous forecast by the Bank of England that was condemned as too negative.

It is clear that heading for a destructive No Deal is uncharted territory for the British economy.

"Don't panic!" Dad's Army UK will have to face the consequences of No Deal

The UK will have to “face up to the consequences” if it opts to leave without a deal, according to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiatior Michel Barnier.

Speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme before the Conservative leadership elections began, he starkly warned of economic, financial and human consequences and warned that the only way to leave is with the current Withdrawal Agreement – which has been rejected by MPs three times.

The programme demonstrates that any “tough guy” approach from Boris Johnson and his government is likely to be met with implacable opposition.

The EU are already furious this week with Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay after a bad-tempered meeting, claiming the UK are “backtracking’ and deviating from a legal agreement over the exit agreement.

This morning on the BBC's Today programme, Barnier described Brexit as a "lose-lose game" where both the UK and EU will pay a price with "no added value".

The UK’s lack of preparedness in the negotiations, and the failure of ministers to grapple with the hard choices and trade-offsBrexit entails, has been highlighted by senior European politicians. The Commission’s First Vice President Frans Timmermans said UK ministers were “running around like idiots”, saying they expected a "Harry Potter-like book of tricks" from ministers, instead they were like Lance Corporal Jones from Dad's Army.

On then-Brexit secretary David Davis, he commented: “I saw him not coming, not negotiating, grandstanding elsewhere (and) I thought, ‘Oh my god, they haven’t got a plan, they haven’t got a plan.’ That was really shocking, frankly, because the damage if you don’t have a plan…”

And one senior aide said EU negotiators never took No Deal seriously before March as the UK were so badly prepared for it compared to Europe.

It’s a view seen in previous documentaries: the European side showing some disdain for the British gung-ho approach to the Brexit issue, but the warnings are implacable and clear – No Deal will have catastrophic consequences for the UK.

Minorities demand they are heard in Brexit debate

Ethnic minorities have been largely ignored during the Brexit discussions, yet these communities will be among the most harmed by Brexit. It's time to demand to be heard. Please sign our petition here.

  • 70% of ethnic minorities voted for remain in 2016
  • The impact of Brexit on ethnic minorities has been ignored in the Brexit debate
  • Racial or religious aggravated offences increased by 44% after the EU referendum 
  • Ethnic minorities will be worst hit economically by Brexit.

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

"Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, but it is about time we became a bit harsh. I am not sure he was being genuine. I have always had the impression he is playing games."

EU Commission's First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, gives his assessment of Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary.


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More Brexit news...

Pound could fall to parity with dollar on No Deal (Bloomberg)

No Deal will send Britain into recession (The Times £)

Peers back bid to block Parliament shutdown (PoliticsHome)

EU: UK will have to face consequences of No Deal (BBC News)

More Brexit comment...

Lewis Goodall: Theresa May should look in the mirror over populism (Sky News)