Tuesday 18 December 2018 - People's Vote

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Morning Briefing: Running down the clock - #OnlyWayForward - business speaks out

Theresa May yesterday revealed there would be a vote on the government’s Brexit deal in the week of January 14. That’s more than a month after the original postponed vote on the deal.

Jeremy Corbyn’s response was to table a motion of no confidence in the prime minister. This is a two-bit, toothless version of a vote of confidence in the government as a whole, which Corbyn could have called for. Instead, the government has no obligation to make time for his vote, and it has been kicked beyond Christmas - if it happens at all.

It is a democratic outrage for our political leaders to be running down the clock on Brexit in this way. These parliamentary games show contempt for the families and businesses up and down the country who will now go into the Christmas period with no certainty whatsoever about the future.

By kicking the meaningful vote into the new year, the prime minister is yet again playing for time because she knows she doesn’t have support for her miserable plan. It can’t deliver what was promised in the last referendum. It’s a much worse deal than the one we’ve already got in the EU. And it will mean negotiations go on forever as successive governments try to make sense of something that makes no sense for the UK.


But the Opposition really needs to make a move soon too. “There is no excuse for any more dither or delay,” Corbyn told MPs yesterday. Well, exactly. Which is why Labour must get on with its policy of testing the will of the House of Commons for a general election. And then, if it fails in such an effort, it can get behind other ways of tackling the single biggest challenge facing our country today - including support for a People’s Vote.

Labour find themselves in a bit of a sticky situation after last night. Theresa May has called the Opposition’s bluff, daring them to call a real vote of confidence in the government - knowing the DUP and hardline Tory backbenchers will support her.

Corbyn can either go for the vote and lose, frustrating Labour’s chances at a general election. Or he can hold back. That would make Labour look weak and dilute any future no-confidence threats. But it would also raise questions about the leadership’s willingness to pursue other tactics against the government’s deal, specifically a People’s Vote. As recent polling shows, anything that looks like Labour helping May’s deal through will go down badly with the party’s supporters.

It looks increasingly like politicians are unwilling, perhaps unable, to make decisive moves to clear this mess up. That’s why the final decision should now be handed back to the people – because only they can sort this out. The only way forward is a People’s Vote.

Tweet of the Day

Sam Gyimah, who recently resigned as universities minister to oppose the government's Brexit deal, calls out the time wasting of Number 10.

#OnlyWayForward is a People’s Vote

The People’s Vote campaign yesterday launched the “Only Way Forward” tool across social media. This campaign is aiming to double the number of letters and messages written to MPs by constituents in the coming weeks. And the new site aims to make this lobby of MPs even more effective by allowing constituents to post personal video messages to MPs.

Since the People’s Vote March for the Future on October 20, a total of more than 150,000 letters, postcards and emails have been sent to MPs demanding that they oppose the government’s Brexit deal and hand the final decision back to the public. This concerted act of popular protest has been a key factor in persuading MPs to come out against the Brexit deal. Let your MP know the only way forward is a People’s Vote!

Video of the Day

WATCH: You wouldn't buy a house without checking the terms or getting a survey done - so why should we do it with Brexit, the biggest decision we've faced since the Second World War? Demand a People's Vote!


Business tells May ‘take deal to British people’

A group of 53 senior business figures - former FTSE chairmen, chief executives and entrepreneurs - have called on the prime minister to “take her deal to the British people”, in a letter to the Telegraph. The business leaders say May’s deal is bad for the economy and would put us in a poor negotiating position with the EU. They also talk of the “impossibility of resuscitating it” following the government’s decision to pull a vote by MPs.

The letter comes as UK businesses “hit pause” on growth plans and will not step up investment next year even if the government avoids a cliff edge Brexit, according to the British Chamber of Commerce in an FT report. “Businesses are having to take action, delaying or pulling hiring and investment plans and, in some cases, moving operations elsewhere in order to maintain hard-won supply chains,” said Adam Marshall, the BCC’s director-general.

It’s clear that Brexit uncertainty is stifling business and threatening livelihoods. A People’s Vote is now the only way forward.

Quote of the day

“The Government’s own figures show that the Prime Minister’s deal would be bad for the economy, jobs and business. It puts us in a weak position to negotiate a future trade pact with the EU and continues the uncertainty that has already made our economy weaker. Government figures also show that every version of Brexit will make us worse off.

“By contrast, our current deal inside the EU is good for enterprise and good for jobs – and means we are at the table making the rules. It also means we can generate the prosperity needed to pay for public services such as the NHS.”

Extract from a letter signed by 53 business leaders calling for a People’s Vote.


WATCH: Konnie Huq’s reason for supporting a People’s Vote: “It’s really important we check the terms and conditions of a contract before we sign on the dotted line and Brexit is no different.”

Beware “managed no deal”

Several senior Tory Brexiters are backing the idea of a “managed no deal” Brexit. This is another vague Brexit soundbite that means little in practice. There are different versions of “managed no deal” but, as I have explained for InFacts, none are good. One reason for that is the EU won’t want to give us a series of “mini deals” to help us avoid the chaos of crashing out of the bloc without a deal, as some Brexiters want to do. Instead the EU will take unilateral steps to protect its interests, as a person familiar with the bloc’s plans told Bloomberg.

So beware if you hear the apparently comforting phrase “managed no deal”. Leaving the EU without an overarching agreement will cut us off from many important parts of the European market. This will clobber our economy, causing international firms to shift operations and domestic traders to fold, with grim consequences for jobs and workers. Nobody voted for that in 2016. Foisting it upon an unwilling public is deeply irresponsible and a surefire way to worsen the wounds opened by Brexit.

More Brexit news…

The secret legal advice on extending Article 50 which ministers believe rules out second referendum (Telegraph)

Theresa May says David Cameron 'not advising her' (BBC)

Vote Leave chiefs confident they would win again (Times £)

Top Brexit comment

Caroline Criado Perez: Failing to call a People’s Vote now is a betrayal of democracy (Metro)

Jason Arthur: Theresa May is hitting out at a People’s Vote because she knows it's inevitable (HuffPost)

Looking forward…

Today, Tuesday 18th December

- Cabinet meeting to discuss no-deal preparations
- Labour MP Geraint Davies to present his EU (Revocation of  Notification of Withdrawal) ten minute rule bill

Tomorrow, Wednesday 19th December

- 100 days until UK is due to leave EU
- European Commission to publish its no-deal Brexit preparations
- Immigration White Paper expected
09.30 ONS: Consumer price inflation
09.30 ONS: House prices
12.00 Prime Minister's Questions
14.15 Michael Gove evidence to the environmental audit committee