Thursday 27 June 2019 - People's Vote

Thursday 27 June 2019

Morning Briefing: Fears of destructive No Deal to economy

The Japanese foreign minister has this morning warned of the devastating impact of No Deal and the consequences for jobs and investment in the more than 1,000 Japanese companies operating in the UK. As the candidates to become prime minister continue to entertain such an outcome, MPs are today working on new ways of blocking it.

Never has been there a greater need to Let Us Be Heard.

The economic reality of Brexit is starting to bite

Behind the bluff and bluster of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt in their non-adversarial election hustings, there are real things happening in the UK economy – and they are not good.

Yesterday, the Department for International Trade revealed that 1,782 Foreign Direct Investment projects were secured in 2018-19, down 14% to a five-year-low. The report also found a 24% slump in new jobs being created.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned MPs that No Deal would lead to interest rate cuts in a bid to stimulate demand for a failing economy as it would be a significant shock to demand and wouldn’t resolve the current uncertainty hanging over business decisions and investment.

Also giving warnings to MPs were the very-sober Institute for Chartered Accountants for England and Wales who predicted a spate of profit warnings from publicly-listed companies in the wake of No Deal, due to a "systemic lack of confidence".

Giles Derrington, from techUK, said that a decline of about 58% in venture capital investment deals done in the first quarter demonstrated a damaging impact on the UK’s reputation as the obvious place for tech outside the US, with Germany and France catching up.

And this morning, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano told the BBC's Today programme that he feared a "negative impact' on the 1,000 Japanese firms operating in the UK, who employ 160,000 people, and are increasingly concerned about the prospect of No Deal.

He cited the challenges that would face Japanese car manufacturers trying to manage through customs inspections and made it clear there was absolutely no prospect of a continuity of a trade treaty being agreed between the UK and Japan before a crash out departure. He said there would be a "gap" after the UK leaves the EU as we would be losing the economic partnership that currently exists.

People’s Vote supporter MP Liz Kendall said: “With the economic damage already caused by Brexit increasing by the day, the only way to deliver a lasting and stable settlement to this crisis is to give the public the final say.”

It is becoming ever-clearer that a destructive No Deal and the uncertainty surrounding the UK's Brexit future are causing real problems for the economy. The country needs a People's Vote to stop the madness.

"A million-to-one against": which soundbite do you want to believe?

Another day, another soundbite. If anyone is in any doubt that Boris Johnson makes it up as he goes along then see what happens when his minders let him out.

On Tuesday, he dropped his “come what may, do or die” comment about leaving the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. Yesterday, he claimed that the chances of a destructive No Deal are “a million-to-one against”.

He claimed that the EU are ready to budge on the Withdrawal Agreement and there is an “outbreak of common sense” from MPs, although the UK needed to prepare for No Deal.

The man who claimed he relaxed by making cardboard painted buses believes it can all be resolved in the four months left before Halloween, but he refused to rule out suspending Parliament to get No Deal through.

Meanwhile Mr Hunt was attacked for talking about a “fake deadline” when he meant to say “fake promise” and he pushed back on Johnson’s unreal claims that Gatt 24 rules would allow no tariffs to remain in place in the event of No Deal.

Once again, the facts are not being allowed to get in the way of a good soundbite in order to influence an electorate restricted to 160,000 Tory members: overwhelmingly white, middle class and concentrated in the South East of England. The views of the rest of the UK matter not a jot in this contest. 

The i claims that up to 20 Tory MPs are willing to break ranks and vote against a Boris Johnson No Deal if he tries to push it through in the Autumn.

And MPs could be presented with an opportunity next Tuesday to thwart government spending in the event of a destructive No Deal. A cross-party alliance of anti-No Deal MPs is aiming to vote to block funds to education, welfare spending and international aid. The Times claimed that Labour are planning to back the attempt.

Corbyn seeking a "common position"

In the midst of an epic crisis for the Conservative Party and the country, Labour is running third in the opinion polls and looks less like a government-in-waiting than an opposition-in-hiding. 

In this context, the briefing by Seumas Milne, the spin doctor and chief strategist of Jeremy Corbyn, is getting ever-more bizarre. Milne says Corbyn is trying to find a form of words that  will please everyone, adding: “That's his way of leading, it is to try and bring people with him and find common ground and that's what he is doing here.”

There are quite a few Labour MPs who would quibble whether that really is his style of leadership, but one of the longest-serving, Margaret Beckett, yesterday delivered this scathing verdict: “If this plan was ever going to work, it clearly isn’t working now.

"We are in danger of pleasing neither a diminishing minority of Labour voters who want Brexit, nor the growing majority who prefer to remain in and reform the European Union. Instead, poll after poll shows we are losing up to half the support we won in the 2017 General Election - and any prospect of building on the remarkable result Jeremy achieved two years ago is fast evaporating.”

The former Foreign Secretary and deputy leader who nominated Corbyn for the leadership four years ago, also criticised aides like Milne who, she said “don't give a toss" about the views of Labour members, let alone voters. Even Corbyn's closest ally Diane Abbott tweeted that she is "worried" by the party's Brexit strategy.

It is time that Labour gave full-throated backing to a People's Vote to block the "unicorn" fantasies of the two Conservative leadership candidates.

Join us in Cheltenham and Let Us Be Heard

The People's Vote roadshow moves to the West Country on Saturday with a massive rally in the Town Hall in Cheltenham. Join us and an array of stars and politicians to protest against a destructive No Deal. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

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

“The people of Northern Ireland rightly expect to see their government and their Prime Minister put their safety and security first, and they may be justifiably alarmed to see the man who aspires to lead their country treat questions crucial to their future with such indifference.

“A proper Conservative response to these difficulties is to trust the people and put the question of Brexit back to the public in a final say referendum, not to play with constitutional and economic fire in the way that Boris Johnson appears to be doing.”

Conservative former Attorney General and People's Vote supporter Dominic Grieve is deeply alarmed by Boris Johnson's claims that there would be no border checks on the Irish border in the event of a destructive No Deal.

Video of the Day 1 

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Video of the Day 2

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Tweet of the Day

Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson and Jason Arthur from For our Future's Sake interview Momentum's Laura Parker on their Another Brexit podcast, available now.

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People's Vote campaign news

More Brexit news

Corbyn's authenticity damaged by "Blairite third way" on Brexit, says Momentum chief (HuffPost)

The A to Z of No Deal Brexit (The Times £)

Cross-party group to force vote on "shutting down Government" over No Deal (PoliticsHome)

Top Brexit comment...

Femi Oluwole: The trouble is, Boris, Plans A, B or C won't work (The Times £)

Molly Scott Cato: Brexit is political poison and it's green policies that are suffering (Guardian)

Margaret Beckett: The Labour ship must change course to see us through the Brexit storm (Standard)

Dominic Grieve: Boris's Brexit stance is either reckless or ignorant (Spectator)