Thursday 8 August 2019 - People's Vote

Thursday 8 August 2019

Morning Briefing: Food bills to rise by £190 a year with No Deal

A ham and cheese sandwich. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that brings home the reality of a destructive No Deal to the people of the UK. Amidst all the dire warnings of what will happen after October 31 –which this lying Boris Johnson government attempts to dismiss as Project Fear MkII – it looks like that lunchtime staple a ham and cheese sandwich – with a spread of butter – could go up in price by 30-50p, thanks to increased tariffs and shortages.

Boris Johnson and the Leave campaigners he has installed in Downing Street are ready to inflict No Deal on the rest of us when they sold Brexit on the basis they'd get a "great deal". But MPs are working on plans to block them forcing No Deal through on October 31. Because in a democracy, Prime Ministers - especially those with wafer-thin Commons majorities - cannot just do whatever they want.

People’s Vote supporter Peter Kyle said he is confident that No Deal can be blocked by Parliament, saying “if a government acts unconventionally and flouts the sovereign power of parliament, parliament will rise to the challenge and if they break the rules, we will make new rules.”

Food bills could rise by £190 a year with No Deal

Fears are growing about the true extent of the damage that a destructive No Deal will do to the food supply chain. A People’s Vote campaign analysis shows that food bills are likely to go up by £190 per person a year with many basics becoming premium products, butter a luxury item and even pasta disappearing from supermarket shelves.

With the government assuming that 50% of lorries are likely to be held up at the French border after October 31 (an improvement on earlier guesses), the Food and Drink Federation are pleading for competition rules to be ripped up so they can satisfy consumers and medicine suppliers are seeking emergency freight provision.

The BBC’s Newsnight last night even predicted that 45,000 dairy cattle in Northern Ireland could be culled as potential new tariffs kill the cross-border milk trade.

Our research showed that British importers should expect to pay £9.1 billion a year in new tariffs, EU food imports could cost £3.1 billion more due to the fall in the pound, non-EU food imports will cost £84 million a year more, while shortages and consumer panic anticipated by civil servants will add to any price spikes. Among the products that will be hit with increased tariffs are butter, cheese and pork.

Former Sainsbury’s chief executive and People’s Vote supporter Justin King warned that there is, at best, less than ten days of food in the system at any one time with warehouses full in October due to the build-up to Christmas.

“Farmers, processors and retailers are being asked to prepare for something which is absolutely unprecedented. It is clear No Deal and its consequences were not on the ballot in 2016 and there is absolutely no mandate for this.”

Concerns grow that UK faces another Winter of Discontent with rubbish piling up in the streets

There are serious concerns about Britain’s ability to export waste to Europe in the aftermath of No Deal. Councils, central government and waste companies are all worried that delays at ports, as well as possible regulatory changes, could make it difficult, or even impossible, to export waste to Europe, causing a pile-up of refuse on British streets. 

Earlier this year the government told companies in the UK that export waste to Europe to “review their contingency plans in case of disruption at ports, should the UK leave the European Union without a deal.”

Even though the government claimed they had “secured an agreement that all UK consents for shipments of notifiable waste that go beyond 31 October 2019 will be rolled over,” they also said that “in the event of No Deal, changes to border controls may impact on some waste exports.” 

The government have also told companies to “review your own capacity and how long you can store waste on your site” and to “identify alternative storage facilities that could accept your waste”

Emails from the Environment Agency, leaked to the Guardian, revealed that officials were preparing to deal with “[p]utrefying stockpiles” of rubbish after a No Deal crash out. An Environment Agency source, quoted in the piece, said, “It could all get very ugly, very quickly.”

The government has even said that businesses will be able to accumulate more radioactive waste than their permits allow after Brexit, due to fears that leaving the EU could make it harder to transfer such waste to facilities outside the UK.

People’s Vote supporter Mary Creagh MP reminds Boris Johnson that Margaret Thatcher understood a basic fact about politics: governments that cannot get the rubbish collected, get thrown out of office - she won power in 1979 following the Winter of Discontent when rubbish piled up in the streets.

She said: “Now we know so much more about what his Brexit would mean - whether you want stay in Europe or leave  – it’s only fair to demand that we all have our voice heard in a final say referendum. Anything else is just rubbish.”

Watch out for People's Vote campaign action on the waste threat at the Cabinet Office this morning.

MPs working on plans to block destructive No Deal

MPs are working on plans to block Boris Johnson bulldozing through a disastrous No Deal on October 31 amidst speculation that the prime minister could rush through an election in early November.

The cross-party group of MPs is examining legislative options, with three MPs telling the Guardian that one method under discussion is for members to amend the motion needed for parliament to break for party conferences in mid-September. This could give MPs another three weeks of sitting time to stop a no-deal and potentially open the door for more days to be set aside for anti-No Deal MPs to control parliamentary business.

Boris Johnson and his controversial advisor Dominic Cummings have told civil servants that the PM is ready to do whatever is necessary to bring about Brexit on Halloween – deal or no deal. This could include proroguing parliament, or ignoring the result of any no-confidence vote in Johnson and calling a shotgun general election – to be held after the UK had left the EU.

Trump is waiting "pen in hand" to sign a trade deal post-Brexit, according to Pompeo

Another gruesome Brexit image: Donald Trump “at the doorstep, pen in hand, ready to sign a new free trade agreement at the earliest possible time.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been in Washington DC and met the President on Tuesday night, while yesterday was glad-handed around the White House by the secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

The Americans know the UK will be in no position to negotiate and desperate for anything we can get, with a gushing Raab saying: “It was amazing to hear an American president talk about our country in such warm terms”. Like a pensioner being suckered into signing away life savings by slick timeshare salesmen, a transatlantic alliance is heading our way.

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

"If the Prime Minister refused to respect the normal consequence of losing a confidence vote and if he sought to prevent both Parliament and the electorate having a final say on no-deal, he would create the gravest constitutional crisis since the actions of Charles I led to the Civil War. 

"I have great confidence that the Prime Minister will ignore the advice of Dominic Cummings. King Charles lost his head by flouting the constitution. Mr Johnson will wish to keep his, while some around him are, clearly, losing theirs."

People's Vote supporter and former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind warns Boris Johnson not to flout the will of Parliament if he loses a vote of no confidence.


Video of the Day   

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Tweet of the Day 

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Tweet of the Day 2

Follow People's Vote and For our Future's Sake campaigner Liron Velleman's Twitter thread on his rollercoaster year working on our campaign!

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More Brexit news...

No deal risks cattle cull in Northern Ireland (BBC News)

These are the foods you might not be able to buy in No Deal Britain (HuffPost)

Tory grandee warns Johnson about constitutional crisis (PoliticsHome)

New bid to halt No Deal amid fury at Johnson's enforcer (Guardian)

Johnson plotting November 1 election so he can push through No Deal (Mirror)

No Deal: 10 ways it could affect you (BBC News)

More Brexit comment...

The battle between two Dominics lies at the heart of Britain's post-Brexit future (PoliticsHome)

David Henig: Free ports - the government's latest bright idea just distracts from more serious Brexit issues (Prospect)