Thursday 31 January 2019 - People's Vote

Thursday 31 January 2019

Morning Briefing: May's empty cash promise - not ready for 'no deal' - Project Reality for car industry

Theresa May is to offer “a cash injection into deprived areas that supported Leave” in an effort to bribe wavering Labour MPs to back the government’s Brexit. This would allow “Labour MPs representing Brexit communities to show that they have extracted something tangible in return for their vote”, a source told The Times.

This promise is totally empty. Any form of Brexit will leave the government with less money to spend on healing the inequalities in this country. In that sense May’s latest pledge is dredged from the same cynical well as her “Brexit dividend” to fund the NHS.

What’s more, a quick bung to left-behind communities is no substitute for a proper long-term strategy to heal the divisions in our country. But Brexit will mean years of distraction and much less time to focus on our real priorities.

Labour MPs tempted by the prime minister’s offer should think again. If they facilitate May’s plan they will go down in history as the MPs who let down the majority of Labour voters in their seats - and every Labour seat - which polling has shown now want to stay in the EU.


The best way Labour MPs can ensure we have the money and time we need to solve the problems which led to the Brexit vote in the first place is to back a People’s Vote. But we must convince them. A positive vision for the country must be at the heart of the argument for a People’s Vote. We must show that if the public decides to stay in the EU, this will not mean we want the status quo.

Rather, it will end the Brexit turmoil and allow us to tackle the problems that brought about the Brexit vote in the first place: for example, our ailing NHS, housing shortage, left-behind communities and deal with the social stresses caused by immigration. CommonGround has set out some interesting ideas about how to do this.

If we decide to stay in the EU, we will have the healthy economy we need to solve these problems. Our MPs will also have the time to focus on them rather than squabbling endlessly about Brexit.

Provided we can convey this message credibly to the Labour rebels, we have a much better chance of winning them over than May’s empty promises. We will also be on the way to healing our divided country.

Video of the Day

WATCH: Liz Kendall MP didn’t vote to make her constituents poorer.  That's why she voted against the Government's Brexit deal and knows that the only way forward is a People’s Vote.

Not ready for ‘no deal’

The Institute for Government has described the government as simply unready for the chaos of a no-deal Brexit. That’s a concern because, while MPs have indicated that they don’t want a no-deal Brexit, they also can’t agree on any alternative.

As a last resort, the UK could just pull back from Brexit entirely. Our Article 50 notification could be unilaterally revoked. But that would not be the best solution for democracy. Far better would be to hold a People’s vote: break the deadlock by asking the public which, if any, Brexit they want.

It's clear that the only way forward is a People's Vote. Now is a crucial time to get involved with the campaign. Sign up to volunteer today.

No one believes in May’s renegotiation

May’s plan to reopen the backstop is meeting with opposition from all sides. In addition to the EU’s Donald Tusk saying the backstop is “not open for renegotiation”, May’s own chief negotiator Oliver Robbins believes that any attempt will raise the risk of a no-deal Brexit with the EU unwilling to make changes. One Cabinet minister is quoted by the Telegraph describing the deal as “mad because we are trying to renegotiate our own deal”. Even the public doesn’t seem too impressed. A Survation poll commissioned by the Mail found that just one in three voters think May will win a compromise.

May’s energy might be better spent on going directly to the people - giving them the final vote on how and if we leave.

Quote of the Day

“She took distance from the agreement she herself negotiated and on which we had reached an agreement... Calmly, I will say, right here and now, we need this backstop as it is.”

Michel Barnier, speaking to the European Parliament yesterday

Video of the Day 2

WATCH: a quick selection of the times the EU told Theresa May the withdrawal agreement is not going to be renegotiated.


Project Reality kicks in

While Parliament squabbles and May heads back to Brussels to insist that the UK can’t possibly accept the deal that she negotiated, Brexit is already taking its toll on the economy.

First up, a Lords committee points out that we’re missing out on £4.5 billion in infrastructure lending from the European Investment Bank this year, with no plans in place to create a British alternative.

Meanwhile, investment in UK car manufacturers fell 50% last year, with output falling nearly 10% to its lowest level in five years. As the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders glumly put it: “If this is Project Fear, then we’re doing a good impression of it being a reality.”

Tweet of the Day

FFS explain the Brady amendment perfectly

More Brexit news…

Up to you to solve Brexit impasse, Tusk tells May (Guardian)

Tory truce crumbles in row over Brussels talks as May accused of 'stupid mistake' (Independent)

M faces pressure to clarify backstop changes (Guardian)

Juncker warns May's shift raises risk of disorderly Brexit (FT £)

Top Brexit comment

Peter Hain: Shame on the Labour MPs who rejected the backstop (LabourList)

Adam Price: Westminster must follow Wales and put Partisanship aside to solve Brexit gridlock (HuffPost)

Nick Kent: 6 reasons why Tory party is still split on Brexit (InFacts)

Vince Cable: Corbyn and May's fantasist double act is driving MPs to a Final Say (Independent)

Stephen Doughty: Brexit deadlock in Parliament only makes a new referendum more vital (HuffPost)

Looking forward…

Today, Thursday 31st January

09.30 ONS: International trade in services, 2017
10.10 Geoffrey Cox takes Attorney General questions in Commons