Morning briefing: Customs Chaos - Irish Border - Local Elections
Brexit is a big deal, but it’s not a done deal. As new facts emerge, it is clear we are heading for a miserable deal. The new morning briefing will show why the people should have a vote when we know the real deal - setting the agenda over what to expect in the day ahead and analysing key developments over the previous 24 hours.
Every day we will take the fight to the Brexiters’ camp, showing how their pet project is falling apart. Click here to subscribe to our morning briefing.
Clueless Cabinet’s customs chaos
Nearly two years after the referendum the Cabinet hasn’t a clue what to do on customs post-Brexit. Theresa May irresponsibly triggered Article 50 without a plan. She still doesn’t have one.
Meanwhile, time is ticking. The European Council summit, which the EU has set as a deadline for resolving the Irish border issue.. Given the Cabinet chaos, there’s a risk we will be completely rolled over in the Brexit talks and that business will delay investing in our economy.
The new Home Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday joined Brexiters to torpedo May’s favourite scheme, the so-called “customs partnership”. This convoluted plan has been rightly dismissed by the EU as “magical thinking” and by pro-Europeans, as well as Brexiters. The Mail describes the plan as "dead in the water"
But the Brexiters’ own favoured scheme, “maximum facilitation”, doesn’t work either. Philip Hammond rightly told the Brexit War Cabinet that it would not "resolve the need for a hard Irish border".
May has asked for more work to be done on both proposals, according to the Indie. But the Times says the chances of forming a new consensus is "low", with the time left to reach a compromise before the summit in the "days, not weeks". I’ve been told EU officials were expecting to hear about the government’s plan on May 15.
The Chancellor warned the War Cabinet that time was pressing, according to the Mail. “‘If we don’t keep moving forward it will be a car crash,’ he said – only for one pro-Brexit minister to point out, to laughter, that ‘the best way of avoiding a car crash is to stop.’”
Quite so. Shall we call the whole thing off?
More seriously, the Cabinet chaos is showing why politicians mustn’t have the final say on Brexit. During the referendum, the customs union was barely mentioned. All the more reason for a people’s vote on the final deal.
At least peers have a clue on Irish Border
While the Cabinet was going round and round in circles, the House of Lords was helping to clear up the mess. Peers voted 309 to 242 to “give Parliament the power to stop any Brexit deal that might restore a hard border” in Ireland. Any such border would be a potential focus for sectarian violence. Former Tory party chair, Chris Patten, who moved the key amendment, said it would be “shameful and dishonourable” if the government were to take a course of action that made the reemergence of such violence more likely. This article from InFacts explains why the amendment is important.
Quote of the day
“I’ll tell you what I think playing with fire is. I think playing with fire is blundering into the politics of Northern Ireland with a policy that is sometimes clueless, and sometimes delinquent, with a can of petrol and a box of matches in the other hand.”
Conservative peer Chris Patten speaks in favour of an amendment to the Brexit bill preventing the creation of a hard border in Ireland.
Make your vote count today
Today may be the last chance to express your view on Brexit at the ballot box. InFacts today makes the case for putting your tick next to pro-European candidates.
Cambridge Analytica probes must go on
The controversial data firm says it is shutting down amid a “siege” of media coverage. Hopefully this is not a ploy to derail the investigations by the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office into its activities during the referendum. A Cambridge Analytica whistleblower told MPs last month that Leave.EU, the campaign backed by Nigel Farage, broke the law. Other whistleblowers have said that the closely linked Canadian firm Aggregate IQ helped Vote Leave, the campaign fronted by Boris Johnson, cheat on referendum spending limits.
Video of the day
Chuka Umunna puts forward a very convincing argument on why the people should get a vote on the final Brexit deal.
More Brexit news…
Top Brexit comment
Guardian View: Tory divisions: deeper than Brexit (Guardian)
Martin Kettle: We won’t have a hard Brexit. There aren’t enough MPs to back it (Guardian)
Today, Thursday 3 May
|09:30||Brexit questions in the Commons|
|-||Parliament rises for recess|
Tomorrow, Friday 4 May
|-||Parliament in recess|