Morning Briefing: LGBT+ for a People's Vote - Chequers 2.0 - PM rattled by People's Vote
Looking for a group of people who really aren’t fans of Brexit? Look no further than the LGBT+ community! In 2016, 60% of us voted to Remain in the EU. After two years of chaotic government bungling, the number who want to stay in Europe now stands at 70%.
LGBT+ people are also massively in favour of having the final say on whatever miserable outcome Theresa May brings back from Brussels. A huge 72% back a People’s Vote on Brexit, according to polling by YouGov.
That’s why the People’s Vote is launching a new campaign this Saturday: LGBT+ for a People’s Vote. We’re kicking off with the Party for a People’s Vote, taking place at ten locations in five cities across the UK. The flagship event is being hosted by G-A-Y in London, with other all-nighters in Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester.
On a more sober note, the LGBT+ community’s support for a People’s Vote is hardly surprising when you consider the EU’s track record of protecting LGBT+ rights. EU laws have protected people from discrimination on sexuality, brought equal treatment in the workplace and recognised that trans discrimination is gender discrimination.
On the other hand, there are lots of sinister dimensions to Brexit from an LGBT+ perspective. Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation saw a 27% increase in the wake of the referendum compared to the year before, and a 45% increase in transgender hate crimes, according to Home Office figures.
Many of the leading figures behind Brexit have consistently failed to back our rights. For example, Liam Fox, who heads one of the big Brexit departments, has voted against LGBT+ rights, or been absent from key votes, throughout his career as an MP. For all the reassurances that our rights will be protected after Brexit, can we be sure a government dominated by such individuals won’t be elected in future? Outside the EU, there is nothing preventing hard-won LGBT+ rights from being stripped away.
The next few weeks will be critical for Brexit. If MPs are ever going to pass a People’s Vote in Parliament, they need to know the people want it. We need to make some noise. So get out there on Saturday, get your glam on, and Party for a People’s Vote! Everybody’s welcome!
HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION FOR A PEOPLE'S VOTE?
Quote of the day
“Brexit will fracture our successful collaboration with LGBT+ groups and governments across the EU, which has done so much to advance equality for our communities throughout the continent.
“The UK needs to remain in the EU to secure and safeguard the full protections guaranteed to sexual and gender minorities under the EU Charter of fundamental rights and freedoms.
“I urge LGBTs to support the campaign for a People’s Vote and to march in the LGBT+ bloc in the London mass demonstration on 20 October.”
Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation which campaigns for LGBT rights
Graphic of the day
Will you be at the Party for a People's Vote this Saturday?
Now that she has seen off any imminent threat to unseat her at the Conservative conference, it’s increasingly clear Theresa May is preparing for a big compromise in the Brexit talks: staying in the customs union for as far as the eye can see and agreeing to the possibility of regulatory checks in the Irish Sea. There are stories in the FT (here and here) and The Sun, following Tuesday’s original Times story.
The prime minister will today hit the phones as part of a frantic 10-day push to lock down a deal, according to The Sun. Brexit will be discussed by EU leaders at dinner on October 17. But the basic outline of a deal, being dubbed by some as Chequers 2.0, needs to be clear by the start of that week.
In addition to staying in the customs union indefinitely and accepting the possibility of regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, May could also agree that the whole UK would follow even more EU rules than she proposed under Chequers 1.0. Charles Grant, the Centre for European Reform’s director, writes: “The UK should extend [the rule-taking] to cover more goods and more of the inputs that affect manufacturing costs. It should offer more automatic updating into UK law of relevant EU rules and a larger role for the European Court of Justice in enforcement.”
It is doubtful May can persuade the EU to agree such a plan, even with such extra concessions - although Ireland is backing her. If she does, she will also struggle to get it through Parliament. The DUP, which is propping up her government, has threatened to pull the plug if there are regulatory checks in the Irish Sea. And Boris Johnson and the hard Brexiters in her party will be even more furious about Chequers 2.0 than they were about Chequers 1.0, saying it will turn us into an EU colony.
That said, if the prime minister does manage to pull off such a deal and buy off the DUP and Tory rebels - or even secure the support of Jeremy Corbyn who has suggested he may back the government if it stays in the customs union - it’s important to realise what a miserable deal this would be. We’d follow the EU’s tariffs and trade policy without a say on them. We’d follow huge numbers of EU rules without a vote on them. And we wouldn’t even fully protect our services industries, which are responsible for 80% of our economy.
What’s the point of that? Such a deal would be so wildly different from what was promised two years ago that it would be essential first to consult the people over whether they want it.
Tweet of the day
Labour MP for Cardiff North Anna McMorrin makes a good point: Theresa May doesn’t know that the people want to leave the EU without a deal. She hasn’t asked them.
May admits Brexit can be stopped
The momentum behind a People’s Vote has the prime minister rattled. Theresa May took to the stage to warn that if the Conservatives don’t stop fighting “we risk ending up with no Brexit at all”. She also claimed a new public vote would be a “‘politicians’ vote’: politicians telling people they got it wrong the first time and should try again.” This is untrue. The demand for a People’s Vote is coming mainly from ordinary people who are pushing politicians, often against their will, to see that the public must have the final say on Brexit given that the terms on offer won’t be anything like what was promised in 2016.
Video of the day
WATCH: Theresa May attacks the People's Vote in her conference speech - a sure sign she's rattled by the momentum growing behind the campaign.
Nissan warns against hard Brexit
In 2016 Vote Leave assured voters that all would be well with Brexit, saying that even Nissan wasn’t planning to up sticks if we left. Now the Japanese carmaker says hard Brexit would cause massive disruption to its Sunderland plant. Meanwhile, Japanese bank Nomura is looking to move a major chunk of its operations from London to Paris, according to the FT. No wonder the French government is mimicking May’s rhetoric that no deal is better than a bad deal.
More Brexit news…
Simon Kuper: Forget Brexit, we're headed for Brino (FT)
David Aaronovitch: May's festival of unity will open new wounds (Times)
Luke Lythgoe: Car plants and drug trials on hold (InFacts)
Today, Thursday 4th October
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|-||Leo Varadkar meets Michel Barnier and Donald Tusk in Brussels|
Tomorrow, Friday 5th October
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|09.30||ONS: Productivity stats published|