Tuesday 1 October 2019 - People's Vote

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Morning Briefing: Johnson's Irish hard border proposals dismissed as "non-starter"

It is reported this morning that Boris Johnson has a plan and he will try and force the EU to agree to it and refuse to give an extension to Article 50. But his plan includes a string of custom posts on both sides of the Irish border, which has caused a furore this morning from Dublin to Belfast.

A People’s Vote is the only solution to the crisis as more and more MPs are recognising and we are determined to make our case with one of the most significant political events in history on Saturday October 19 in London. Already more than 170 coaches have been booked around the country and you can sign up to join one here.

Johnson's Irish hard border proposals dismissed as "non-starter"

The results of Boris Johnson’s war-gaming sessions with Dominic Cummings are expected to emerge before the end of the week with new proposals for a Withdrawal Agreement. The fix for the Irish backstop is a string of custom posts on either side of the border, but located five to ten miles back, according to RTE News.

Equally controversial is a proposal that the goods moving from a so-called "customs clearance site" on the northern side of the border to a similar site on the southern side would be monitored in real time using GPS via mobile phone data, or tracking devices placed on trucks or vans.

The proposals, which came from one of the UK’s “non-papers” sent to the EU, were immediately condemned by Irish politicians, with Fianna Fail’s deputy leader Dara Calleary saying: “A hard border, with its infrastructure, is something which we cannot tolerate on our island.” And Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney dismissed the proposal as a “non-starter” and called for a “serious proposal” from the UK.

A spokesman for the Irish government told RTE:  "Ireland's priorities are protecting the Good Friday Agreement, avoiding a hard border and protecting the all-island economy, and protecting the EU single market and its benefits for Irish businesses and consumers. We have yet to see any credible alternatives to the backstop." 

Boris Johnson said, on the BBC's Today programme this morning, that this is not what he is proposing but refused to go into details. He did, however, confirm that some form of customs checks will be required. It is hard to see how serious Johnson is about negotiating with the EU when he blames them for any leaks and doesn't release any hard information as the clock runs down.

Johnson trying to get EU to refuse Article 50 extension

The second part of Boris Johnson’s current Brexit plan is to endeavour to force EU leaders to refuse to grant an extension to Article 50. His intention is to circumvent Parliament’s Safeguard Act by making any potential deal locked into a cliff-edge exit on October 31.

The Times reports that Boris Johnson is also seeking to persuade EU leaders to refuse to grant an extension to Article 50. His intention appears to be to try to circumvent Parliament's Safeguard Act by any means possible, The report says his hope is to confront MPs in parliament with a binary choice of whatever form of Brexit he has negotiated - or failed to negotiate - and falling out of the EU with No Deal on October 31. 

The cross-party group opposed to No Deal continue to look at ways to ensure Johnson follows the law to the letter as they fear, as Jo Swinson told the BBC's Today programme this morning, the prime minister is much more interested in working out how he might break the law than what he must do to uphold it.

Former Justice Minister David Gauke, who was kicked out of the Conservatives, yesterday warned the prime minister that the UK is unlikely to leave on October 31 and that Johnson will take the blame.

Writing in Conservative Home, he said: “At some point, I hope that the Prime Minister can show that leadership, persuade Leave voters – as only he can – that Brexit should be done in a responsible way and get a deal with the EU. Without that leadership, the Conservative Party will become the Party for a No Deal Brexit. It will not be a position that history will judge kindly.”

Meanwhile, at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting last night in the Commons, there was strong support for a People's Vote ahead of an election with approval from a number of MPs from the left wing of the party and nodding agreement from senior MPs such as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow International Trade secretary Barry Gardiner. More and more MPs from all parties are coming to the conclusion that an election will not solve the Brexit nightmare and that only a People's Vote can sort it out.

As we head into the final month of this Brexit standoff, the pressure is building on all sides. Only a People’s Vote can take the heat out of this situation and resolve the crisis. Join our massive London march and make sure your voice is heard.

Optimism from British business falls to new low

The number of British businesses worried about Brexit has reached its highest level on record, while optimism about the economy has fallen to its lowest level since the EU referendum in 2016, according to a new survey.

The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer showed greater concerns about a destructive No Deal with the latest September survey showing the balance of firms optimistic about Brexit plummeting five points to -10%. Firms in Scotland and Northern Ireland were the least optimistic.

Hann-Ju Ho, a senior economist at Lloyds’ commercial banking division, said: “This month we are also seeing firms’ concerns about leaving the EU intensify against the backdrop of ongoing economic uncertainty.”

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

"Sajid Javid’s announcement that he intends to scrap EU regulations he claims ‘burden business’ is a further sign that any Brexit under this Government will be a project by the right for the right.

 “Right-wing ideologues have spent thirty years and more looking for ways to attack European regulations that protect workers’ rights, that defend safety in the workplace and that stop the worst employers discriminating on grounds of sex and race. Brexit gives them the means and the opportunity to attack workers’ rights on a broad front."

Leading People's Vote supporter Alex Sobel MP reacts to Chancellor Sajid Javid's speech at the Conservative conference.

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More Brexit news...

Politicians condemn UK "non-paper"proposals on Irish border (RTE News)

Block Brexit delay, Johnson urges EU (The Times)

Brexit: Government to reveal detailed plan for EU negotiations (BBC News)

UK firms' optimism falls to three years low ahead of Brexit (Yahoo News)

A Cabinet divide is opening up over whether Johnson can delay Brexit (Buzzfeed)

Johnson's plan to sort Brexit flops as Ireland dismiss it within minutes (Mirror)

More Brexit comment...

The UK won't leave the EU on October 31 and Johnson will be blamed (Conservative Home)

Patrick Maguire: Plans for customs posts near the Irish border are bad news for a Brexit deal (New Statesman)