Tuesday 18 September 2018 - People's Vote

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Morning Briefing: Migration matters - apprentices back People's Vote - EU says no to Gove

More than anything else, the EU referendum was fought on the issue of migration. It’s astonishing then that, six months before we’re due to Brexit, the UK public and businesses still have little idea what our migration policy will look like if we leave.

Today was meant to shed some light on the matter, with a report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) laying out the role of EU migration in the UK. Promised and delayed for months now, this document was expected to inform any future government policy.

It seems, however, like some ministers have made up their minds already. Home secretary Sajid Javid wants a “global” migration system where the same criteria are applied to EU citizens as are currently used for non-EU migration, according to reports in The Times. Theresa May hinted that she supports something along similar lines in an interview with the BBC, saying 2016 showed UK voters didn’t want to “see people coming from the EU having those automatic rights in terms of coming here to the UK, and a set of rules for people outside the European Union.”

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It’s not clear whether Javid will get his way. But the MAC report is likely to highlight the downside of clamping down on EU migration. The work of EU citizens makes our economy hum: providing a reliable workforce for several industries; creating businesses and new jobs; and paying much more in taxes than they take out in welfare. Workers from further afield, with more immigration hoops to jump through, wouldn’t be able to fulfil the same role.

If Javid gets his way, we could also expect tit-for-tat retaliation from EU countries. That’s bad news for Brits who want to work abroad. Far from making Britain more “global”, a lot of people - especially young people - could see their horizons narrowed.

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Graphic of the day

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Apprentices back People’s Vote

Such a narrowing of horizons is one reason young people support a People’s Vote in huge numbers. The National Society of Apprentices (NSOA) - representing 300,000 apprentices across all sectors and every part of the UK - has today joined forces with For our Future’s Sake (FFS) to campaign for a public vote on Brexit.

Young people who couldn’t vote in 2016 are overwhelmingly against Brexit and now much more engaged and likely to vote, according to new YouGov research. Polling also shows that - even if nobody changed their minds on Brexit - the demographic shift as young people reach voting age and older people pass away will make the UK an anti-Brexit country by January 2019, two months before we are due to leave.


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Video of the day

WATCH: OFOC co-founder Femi Oluwole explains why young people don’t want Brexit.


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Putting May in a bind

Our negotiating partners across Europe are becoming suspicious of the UK’s long-term commitment to any deal that is struck in the next few months, reports The Times. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is preparing to insist on “credible” assurances that any political declaration agreed with Theresa May also binds her successor, according to reports of a senior EU meeting last week.

The French president also wants to nail down the key terms of the future Brexit deal now, rather than allow any ambiguous drift on the major issues after 29 March 2019, according to the Guardian. EU diplomats apparently expect the UK government to experience its “darkest hour” and stare into the abyss of a no-deal Brexit before it agrees to what the EU wants.

Comments by Michael Gove over the weekend that a new prime minister could “always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union” will have done nothing to reassure our EU partners that we can be trusted. They also mean the British people cannot trust what the government is up to. As Nick Kent wrote for InFacts yesterday, they could make Parliament’s promised “meaningful” vote at the end of the Brexit talks meaningless, reinforcing the case for a People’s Vote.


Quote of the day

“For the ‘true believers’ - the fundamentalists - the costs of Brexit have always been irrelevant. Years of economic pain justified by the erotic spasm of leaving the European Union. Economic pain felt - of course - not by them by those least able to afford it."

Vince Cable, speaking at the Liberal Democrat annual conference


Jaguar Land Rover cuts back production

Jaguar Land Rover has moved staff at its Solihull plant to a three-day week, after a cut in production due to “headwinds impacting the car industry”, reports Sky. Brexit is the dominant factor here, alongside a fall in sales of diesel cars.

Local MP Jack Dromey blames the decision on “Brexit chaos”, saying “Brexit now threatens the jewel in the crown on British manufacturing excellence”. The more than 3,000 workers at the Castle Bromwich plant will retain pay and benefit levels during the scheduled cut, which begins in October. But big question marks remain over the UK’s car industry after Brexit.


Tweet of the day

NUS Wales throws its support behind a vote on Theresa May's Brexit.


More Brexit news…

Only a quarter of Mail readers think UK will get good Brexit deal (Guardian)

Hammond support for IMF’s Brexit warning risks No 10 rift (FT £)

Tory Eurosceptics divided after report warns of no‑deal Brexit chaos (Times £)

Concern over EU 'talent loss' in Scotland post-Brexit, BBC research finds (BBC)

Defra’s future of farming after Brexit looks a lot like Slovenia (Times £)


Top Brexit comment

Ellie Keiller: Let’s turn the tide on Labour’s Brexit strategy (Times £)

Chuka Umunna: I've spent the last week speaking to 10 EU diplomats about Brexit. As a patriotic Brit, I found their words painful to hear (Independent)

Rachel Sylvester: Politicians are conditioned to lie about Brexit (Times £)


Looking forward...

Today, Tuesday 18th September

- Parliament in recess for conference season
- Liberal Democrat autumn conference
10:00 Migration Advisory Committee report on EU migration post-Brexit Published

Tomorrow, Wednesday 18th September

- Parliament in recess for conference season
- Theresa May goes to Salzburg to convince EU27 leaders of her Brexit Strategy
09:30 ONS: Consumer price inflation
09:30 ONS: House prices