Thursday 20 September 2018 - People's Vote

Thursday 20 September 2018

Morning Briefing: Irish border jam - Conservative infighting - Minister hints at People’s Vote

Is Theresa May (Queen of the Brexit U-turn) about to make another flip-flop? She told other EU leaders last night at a dinner in Salzburg that it was a simple matter of her deal or no deal. There will be no extension to Article 50, there will be no People’s Vote and the EU’s proposals for customs checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain are “not credible”; no British prime minister could accept such a division of sovereign territory.

However, the FT reports that May’s objections to the EU’s Irish “backstop” have been deliberately phrased to allow a plan for regulatory checks in the Irish sea, keeping Northern Ireland in the single market for goods no matter what deal is struck. The Independent has a similar story. Doesn’t that amount to a division of our sovereign territory? Quite how the government will square that with its DUP partners is a mystery.


The EU is certainly expecting further concessions from May - not just on the Irish border. Donald Tusk, president of the EU council, said the Chequers plan needed to be “reworked and further negotiated” - and the president of the Council is supposed to be the “good cop” in this negotiation. Jean-Claude Juncker, the bad cop, was even blunter. The European Commission president said a deal is still “far away”.

If May is preparing to make a u-turn over the Irish backstop, how long will it be before she flip-flops over her other pronouncements last night, in particular her statement that there won’t be a People’s Vote? Remember how she used to say there would be no new election - and then she called one? If she comes back with a miserable deal that MPs don’t like - or no deal at all - she may be forced to ask the people what they want.


Graphic of the day

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Conservatives savage May

Indeed, it’s increasingly clear Theresa May has a mountain to climb to persuade MPs to back any deal she produces. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, will say the prime minister is a “bigger menace to British voters” than the EU and that her Chequers plan is “devoid of democracy altogether”. Meanwhile, Mike Penning, who used to be a close ally of May, believes the Chequers plan is “dead as a dodo”, and the prime minister is “deluded” if she thinks she can “blackmail” her MPs into supporting it.

Video of the day

WATCH: John Kerr, who helped draft Article 50, says that if people want a People's Vote on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations, they should be allowed to have one.


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Who's voting? 

WATCH: Matilda is campaigning for a Peoples Vote because she wants a say on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations that promise to affect her generation the most.    


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Minister says People’s Vote is possible

Meanwhile, treasury minister Mel Stride has let the cat out of the bag: if the House of Commons votes down the prime minister’s Chequers proposal, Theresa May may be forced to let the people decide between a catastrophic no deal Brexit and remaining within the EU. While the message was supposed to serve as a warning to the hard-Brexit headbangers within the Conservative party, it’s a big win for the People’s Vote campaign. It gives lie to May’s statement that the only choices are her deal and no deal.

Quote of the day

“We could have a second referendum and we could end up not leaving the EU altogether”

--- Treasury Minister Mel Stride veers off-message, and hints at the prospect of holding a People’s Vote on the final deal

Tweet of the day

OFOC Co-founder Femi Oluwole shows that the NHS is better protected by the EU than a deal with the US.  Sources HERE.

More Brexit news…

Surprise jump in inflation 'a body blow' for families (Times)

Police chiefs warn no deal Brexit puts public safety at risk (FT)

European airports warn of major disruption and safety risks for British passengers if Brexit deal isn't reached (Mail)

May to push through restrictive post-Brexit immigration plan (FT)

Top Brexit comment

Hugo Dixon: Just say no to a ‘blindfold Brexit’ (Politico)

Luke Lythgoe:  As Brexiters’ mask slips, the ugly truth is revealed (InFacts)

Andrew Grice: After Salzburg, Theresa May will say she's ending free movement of people – and then she'll do the opposite (Indy)

Looking forward...

Today, Thursday 20th September

- Parliament in recess for conference season
- Salzburg informal summit concludes
09:30 Office of National Statistics Retail Sales Prices report published

Tomorrow, Friday 21st September

- Parliament in recess for conference season
- UKIP Party Conference
09:30 Office of National Statistics Public Sector Finances report published