Tuesday 24 September 2019 - People's Vote

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Morning Briefing: The 3 Brexit issues today that prove Boris Johnson can't be trusted

The Labour Conference, and how the party comes to major policy decisions, is an opaque mystery to everyone but true insiders. What voters want is a solution to this Brexit nightmare and yesterday was not a good look for Labour. But the fact is that the party is now fully committed to a People’s Vote in all circumstances.

This is a victory for our campaign, particularly when compared to last year when Labour was still being vague about whether it would even consider a final say referendum with an option to stay.

The policy is far from perfect because Labour’s leadership still won’t say which side it would be on in a referendum. But no-one really thinks this is sustainable in the white heat of an election campaign. It is a matter of when, not if, Labour’s leadership reconnects with the overwhelming majority of party members, trade unionists and above all its voters.

Our series of ‘Let Us Be Heard’ rallies over the summer has helped shift the political weather, as momentum builds behind calls for giving the people the final say. We are winning the fight. But the big event is still to come. Make sure you’re registered to march with us on Saturday October 19. Sign up here.

The three Brexit issues today that prove Boris Johnson can't be trusted

Boris Johnson has proven time and again that he cannot be trusted. This morning, there are three more reasons to believe he is driving us towards a destructive and undemocratic Brexit:

• He has refused to rule out shutting down Parliament again – even if he loses the historic Supreme Court judgement due today at 10.30am.
• His proposals for replacing the Irish backstop have been branded “unacceptable” by Michel Barnier as they wouldn’t “safeguard peace and stability in Ireland.”
• And speaking in New York, Johnson has declared his intention to move away from EU standards, rights and regulations.

It has been widely reported in recent days that Johnson’s chief negotiator in Brussels, David Frost, is seeking to scrap the U.K’s commitment to maintaining a level-playing with the EU on social and environmental standards. And sure enough, in pre-released extracts of a speech Johnson will give today in New York, he says “we are going to take advantage of all the freedoms that Brexit can give.” When pressed in an interview with Channel 4 on whether this meant a fundamental shift away from EU standards, he said “That’s a very good question and the clear answer must be ‘yes’.”

No one should trust Boris Johnson when he says he wants a Brexit deal. But nor should anyone trust him if he does eventually come back with some sort of deal. Indeed, any MP who might be tempted to back it needs to recognise the likelihood that a Johnson Brexit will destroy jobs, undermine public services and usher in a more deregulated and altogether different kind of future for our economy and our environment.

This is a million miles away from what was promised in 2016, when Johnson and other Leave campaigners promised Brexit would have no impact on workers’ rights, environmental standards or the border in Northern Ireland. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

Revealed: the long list of medicines at risk after No Deal

An online pharmacy has published a list of medicines that they say their suppliers are concerned about – whether over availability or price increases – as a result of No Deal. It is the first time a comprehensive list has been released and covers around 60 drugs vital to many patients with illnesses and conditions ranging from heart issues, diabetes, depression, menopause and others.

The Department of Health responded with a tweet, saying “we do not recognise this list”, but it immediately sparked panic on Twitter with comments from people worried that their medicines are on the list and could be in short supply.

In a statement on their website, e-Surgery wrote: “We don’t know yet exactly how this will pan out, although the likelihood of a no deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely. But how will this affect your prescriptions? There are already widespread reports of delays in Pharmacies due to unavailable medication, even for relatively common drugs. Many patients report being negatively affected by this, as drug shortages potentially endanger many.

“For your information, we can share with you the following medications which our suppliers have expressed concern about, either because there are worries around availability or because the prices are already rising as a result of stockpiling; leading to real concerns over post-Brexit costs and supply.” The company suggests that patients discuss their concerns with their local pharmacists.

Brexit windfall for freight companies shipping critical medicines

The shocking list of at-risk drugs comes as the Department for Transport announced that they are back in the freight procurement game – at a projected cost of £300 million over four years after No Deal.

Civil Service World revealed that a roster of eight successful bidders – five ferry operators, one rail company and an air charter firm – have been invited to bid for the first contracts to bring in critical medicine supplies after 31 October.

The companies include Brittany Ferries and DFDS, the two ferry operators given contracts at the end of last year in preparation for the UK’s planned exit from the EU on 29 March. The contracts were later scrapped and DfT was forced to pay the two firms a total of £51.4 million to cut them short.

The £300 million figure is based on the possible frequency of “disruption events” such as congested roads or terminals and delays from border checks, the department said. Imports using the framework will avoid the ports and airports where DfT has determined disruption is most likely to happen after No Deal, the department said.

It said the services would therefore not use the freight terminals of Dover, Folkestone or Barking in the UK, or Dunkirk, Calais, or Boulogne in France, blaming a “potential lack of trader readiness” for possible disruption.

Once again, it is clear that the government is not being open with the public about the real effects of No Deal. On the one hand, it claims that Operation Yellowhammer documents are a “worst case scenario”, but then separately reveal that key ports are certain to face major disruption.

Only a People’s Vote can resolve this crisis and stop a medical health crisis after No Deal.

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

“The new government of the UK wants us to get rid of this solution, the so-called backstop and wants … a regulatory and customs land border on the island of Ireland. The UK government also wants the EU to change the way the internal market and border control operates after Brexit.

This is unacceptable. My mandate is clear of the 27 leaders, the EU and the European parliament, safeguarding peace and stability in Ireland and protecting the integrity of the single market.”

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says the "ball is in the court of the British" as he rejects Boris Johnson's plans for the Irish backstop. 

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More Brexit news...

Boris Johnson's Brexit sock yarn unravels (Politico)

Johnson: From do or die, to deal or die (Channel 4 News)

DfT announces No Deal freight shortlist - and reveals ports most at risk of disruption (Civil Service World)

Might Brexit affect your prescriptions? (e-Surgery)

Johnson says he won't quit if Supreme Court rules against him (PoliticsHome)

Keir Starmer eyes anti-Brexit long game (Politico)