Tuesday 22 October 2019 - People's Vote

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Morning Briefing: Boris Johnson condemned for attempt to block scrutiny of Brexit bill

Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill or "WAB" dropped last night: 110 pages with 124 pages of exploratory notes that could shape the future of UK for decades.

And this government is so untrustworthy and so averse to any scrutiny that they want to give MPs just three days to debate it. It is a Brexit that will trash worker, environmental and food standards, permanently realign Northern Ireland’s relationship within the UK and is a fast track to No Deal.

The self-imposed, unnecessary and entirely artificial October 31 deadline is being used as an excuse to avoid proper democracy and must be stopped.

More than 285,000 people have signed our letter from the People to the Powerful demanding a Final Say on Brexit. Please sign this online letter here – and share on Facebook, Twitter and social media.

Shock as Northern Ireland firms to face Brexit customs barriers and red tape 

The revelation that firms in Northern Ireland will be faced by customs barriers when they try to sell goods in Great Britain demonstrates the hypocrisy of Boris Johnson.

He consistently ruled out a border in the Irish Sea, but has now cut the Northern Ireland loose in a betrayal that is absolutely breathtaking, even for him.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay was caught out when asked about whether Northern Ireland companies would need to fill out customs forms when moving goods to Great Britain, in the House of Lords European Union committee, and after first denying it, was humiliatingly forced - apparently by Treasury officials - to correct himself and admit it would be legally required.

People’s Vote campaigner Ian Murray MP commented: “This is a shocking admission from the Brexit Secretary. We simply cannot trust Boris Johnson with an issue as big and important as Brexit.”

Johnson tries to block debate over Brexit deal

The Northern Ireland red tape revelation emphasises that the devil is in the detail with this duplicitous Prime Minister. The Shadow Brexit minister Keir Starmer accused the government of trying to “bounce” MPs into accepting flawed legislation by allowing just three days for debate.

In comparison, debates on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 took more than three weeks with many late-night sessions, while the Institute for Government's Joe Owen pointed out that the Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019 was given longer than is proposed for the WAB.

With Chancellor Sajid Javid refusing to provide an economic assessment of a deal that is worse than Theresa May’s and the prospect of ongoing trade deal negotiations for years, it is vital that MPs can scrutinise the bill properly. As Father of the House Ken Clarke said it is “daft” to rush through such important legislation to stick to the arbitrary Halloween date. There will be key votes on the second reading and the accelerated timetable this evening.

Angela Rayner MP told the BBC’s Today programme this morning that Johnson “doesn’t have respect for the rule of law” and wants a hard Brexit or No Deal. Calling for a People’s Vote, she said: “None of my constituents voted to be less well-off.”

Leading industrialists give stark warning to Gove over EU regulations

Leading figures from the aerospace, automotive, chemicals, food and life science sectors yesterday gave Michael Gove a stark warning over an EU regulatory breakaway.

Senior industry figures fear their concerns are being ignored in the pursuit of a “hard Brexit”. The FT reported that the “Eurosceptic Conservative dream of a post-Brexit age of homegrown regulation would be a nightmare for many companies”.

They quoted one senior business figure saying “businesses feel they have won the argument and provided the evidence that alignment is so critical for our economy, but it now feels like that evidence has been binned”.

More than 16 million apples left to rot due to EU worker crisis

More than 16 million apples have been left to rot at the peak of harvest season, thanks to a disastrous shortage of EU workers.

One hundred tonnes of fruit has gone unpicked already this season as European workers opt to work in the Netherlands, Denmark or Germany rather than the UK due to Brexit issues.

Farmers are seeing a 16% shortfall in the seasonal workforce and industry experts say the countryside needs 70,000 workers to plug the gap.

The National Farmers’ Union, who carried out the survey, warned that the run-up to Christmas could be hit with Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips and broccoli left unpicked.

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

Let’s end the repetition and disorder. We have had enough of Johnson’s Groundhog Day politics. The only fair and democratic way of ending this crisis is to hold a final say referendum and Parliament should take every opportunity to make that happen.”

Leading People's Vote campaigner Jess Phillips MP makes the case for a People's Vote to resolve the crisis

Video of the Day 

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Video of the Day 2


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Tweet of the Day

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Tweet of the Day

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady points out that there is nothing in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill that protects workers' rights, despite Boris Johnson's promises.

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More Brexit news...

Barrage of Brexit red tape exposed for British firms selling to Northern Ireland (Mirror)

Millions of apples left to rot as EU pickers stay away (The Times)

Brexit options: Extension, flextension or just more tension (Politico)

Stroud campaigners join People's Vote march (Stroud News)

More Brexit comment...

Rachel Sylvester: Boris Johnson may win this battle but lose the Brexit war (The Times)

Patrick Maguire: The chances of Brexit happening before an election are falling quickly (New Statesman)

Rachel Shabi: Labour has been united by an awful Brexit deal – not a ‘Stalinist purge’ in sight (Guardian)

Paul Waugh: Will Johnson's fast-tracked Brexit bill blow up in his face? (HuffPost)