Tuesday 17 September 2019 - People's Vote

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Morning Briefing: "Unlawful" Parliament shutdown case heads to Supreme Court

Here is a simple guide on how to rile people that you want to impress and influence. Day one: compare yourself to an angry Incredible Hulk, shaking off the “manacles” of the EU.

Day two: go to Luxembourg, flee very publicly from a press conference due to a few protesters shouting at you and get “empty-podiumed” by your rather angry host. Even the seemingly humourless Guy Verhofstadt felt moved to join the multitudes tweeting the obvious joke about Johnson becoming the “Incredible Sulk”.

Some called it an "ambush", others a "cock-up", but it is clear that Boris Johnson is damaging Britain's influence and reputation abroad and nobody trusts him at home or in the capitals of Europe. Given that Brexit negotiations will last for years, if not decades, this damage will get worse and worse. There is only one solution to this debacle: we call for a People's Vote to Let Us Be Heard. People from all over the country will be marching for a People's Vote in central London on October 19. Make sure you are signed up here

No workable solutions emerge at Luxembourg lunch

Mr Johnson’s first-ever meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker was cordial, but with no concrete proposals from the UK side and little progress to avoiding a disastrous No Deal.

Number 10 claimed the government has come up with “a number of workable solutions” to break the deadlock, but the European Commission disagreed, saying in a statement: "President Juncker underlined the Commission's continued willingness and openness to examine whether such proposals meet the objectives of the backstop. Such proposals have not yet been made."

Until there is anything real from Mr Johnson, all claims of progress are nothing more than hot air. And Europe are totally aware of how hard it is going to be for the British prime minister to politically sell any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement back in London.

The public outburst from Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel was unusual, saying that Johnson’s vow to break the law rather than ask for a Brexit extension “wouldn’t happen in Luxembourg” and that “you can’t hold the future hostage for party political gain.”

But it illustrates how European politicians are becoming increasingly frustrated by the gulf between Johnson rhetoric and real legally-binding proposals to avoid a destructive No Deal.

There remains only one solution: the British people must be trusted to resolve Brexit with a People’s Vote.

Supreme Court judges to hear if Parliament shutdown is unlawful

Eleven Supreme Court judges will hear whether the shutdown - proroguing - of Parliament was “unlawful” today.

The UK’s highest court will hear two appeals that will determine whether the prime minister acted lawfully in suspending Parliament for five weeks. Edinburgh's Court of Session said the shutdown was illegal and London's High Court said it was not a court matter.

For true Brexit addicts, livestreaming of the Supreme Court case will take place. On Thursday, there will be the astonishing moment when former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major goes in the box to accuse Johnson of breaking the law.

Boris Johnson has said he will “wait and see” what the outcome will be before deciding whether to recall Parliament, after the shutdown caused outrage up and down the country. Three days have been allocated for legal argument and judgement could well be reserved. Another case on whether the prorogation was legal will be brought on Thursday in Northern Ireland.

Former Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption told BBC Newsnight last night he thinks the government ought to win - but that judges may have been so outraged by the PM’s behaviour that anything is possible. “My own view is that the orthodox opinion is the one held by the English courts [which dismissed the Gina Miller case],” he said.

“But one has to accept that if you behave outrageously and defy the political culture upon which our constitution depends, a lot of judges are going to be tempted to push the limits. And the trouble is Boris Johnson has taken a hammer and sickle to our political culture in a way that is profoundly provocative to people who believe that there ought to be solutions consistent with our traditions.”

Big payouts for consultants giving advice on Brexit

Where there’s muck, there’s brass, as they say in Yorkshire, but it seems to be true for the big consultancy firms advising on Brexit.

Partners at the accountancy and consultancy firm PwC will be paid an average of £765,000 after profits soared to more than £1 billion, at least partly due to the call for Brexit advice. It’s their biggest payday in a decade and comes after rivals Deloitte last month said they had paid their partners £822,000. 

Meanwhile house prices have fallen in September for the first time since 2010, according to online estate agency Rightmove. The traditional “autumn bounce” in the market have not happened this year as sellers wait to see the outcome of Brexit.

Rightmove’s director and housing analyst Miles Shipside said: “As the deadline gets closer and tensions heighten, there has been a big swing the other way with sales agreed numbers now over 5% below those of a year ago.” 

The FT reports this morning that the UK has been accused of playing down the disruption expected at ports after a destructive No Deal. The Operation Yellowhammer documents on post-Brexit preparedness were "misleading" in not outlining that tens of thousands of lorries could be turned away for being 'non-compliant" before getting to ports, according to Department of Transport papers.

Join our Trust the People march in Brighton on Saturday

At the start of the Labour Party conference, the People's Vote campaign will be holding a major march in Brighton on Saturday. Come and join us, assembling at 1pm before the march at 2pm before speeches from leading Labour politicians at Hove Lawns. for more information, click here.

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

“What is very clear is that Boris Johnson is not approaching the negotiations seriously. He has not come forward with concrete proposals, and it looks very much like patience with his antics is wearing thin across the EU. What little trust there was is draining away.

“We cannot trust him on Brexit. Let us instead trust the people to have the final say in a new referendum. That is the only democratic and patriotic way out of this mess.”

Leading People's Vote campaigner Ian Murray MP comments on Boris Johnson failed trip to Luxembourg yesterday.

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More Brexit news...

Fears No Deal could disrupt child cancer medicines supply and research (Mirror)

How fears of No Deal are already impacting some of Britain's poorest communities (HuffPost)

Juncker says EU has still not seen Johnson's plan for scrapping backstop (PoliticsHome)

UK accused of "misleading" over No Deal ports disruption (FT)

A million texts to be sent by Government warning of passport validity after Brexit (Gov.UK)

More Brexit comment...

Neale Richmond: It's not up to pull Britain out of Brexit mess (Politico)

Abhinay Muthoo: Random acts of madness - how Cummings got game theory wrong (Independent)