Morning Briefing: Why won't May kill Chequers? - migration smoke and mirrors - Labour on People's Vote
The longer Theresa May spends flogging the dead horse of Chequers, the more damage she does to the country. Yesterday she managed to convince her cabinet to “hold their nerve” on her unworkable Brexit proposal, although ministers will have another attempt to kill it off in two weeks, according to The Sun.
The prime minister is presumably continuing robotically with her plan because all her other options are hopeless. The hard Brexiters’ preferred Canada-style free trade deal, for example, is a non-starter. The EU would never accept their proposal in its current form, not least because it fails to solve anything on the Irish border. I have looked at further gaping holes in the latest Brexiter-backed trade blueprint, as proposed by the Institute for Economic Affairs, for InFacts.
But merely soldiering on with a dead plan, which the EU said no to last week in Salzburg, is no good for anybody. May is wasting time we don’t have. Germany’s Angela Merkel wants a “fundamental vision” on Brexit agreed by November. France’s Emmanuel Macron insists he won’t even turn up to a November summit unless the UK proposes something workable on the Irish border issue.
As the uncertainty grinds on, UK business is being damaged. The latest batch of government no-deal Brexit warnings involves the prospect of flights being grounded and UK-made airplane parts not being accepted in the EU after we drop out of its aviation safety regime. Industries are concerned.
May’s dithering is also damaging our negotiating position. The closer we get to the precipice, the more concessions she’ll eventually be forced to make to the EU.
There is only one sensible way out of the mess: calling a People’s Vote and giving the public an opportunity to stay in the EU if they want.
HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION FOR A PEOPLE'S VOTE?
Video of the day
WATCH: Victor Meldrew orders the Brexit Special after being told how great it is. It doesn’t turn out quite how he expected it to though…
Labour rides People’s Vote see-saw
Yesterday - after many hours of confusion - Labour's front bench made it clear that today's vote on the main Brexit motion will be a vote to keep the option of a People's Vote and the chance to stay in the EU, if voters want that, very firmly on the table.
Yesterday morning shadow chancellor John McDonnell attempted to assert that any such public vote would be merely on the terms on which we left the EU, but by the afternoon he conceded that wouldn't be the case. After being rebuffed by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, the shadow chancellor ultimately conceded that all options were indeed still on the table - watch this video clip.
As Labour MP David Lammy put it, voters should not be offered “a farcical referendum on no deal or a bad deal. It absolutely must include the right to stay in the EU”.
Quote of the day
“If Theresa May brings back a deal that fails our tests — and that looks increasingly likely — Labour will vote against it. No ifs, no buts.
"And if the prime minister thinks we’ll wave through a vague deal asking us to jump blindfolded into the unknown, she can think again… We will vote down a blind Brexit.”
Excerpt from Keir Starmer's Labour party conference speech today
Tweet of the day
Andrew Lewin gives a first hand account of Labour’s motion in support of a People’s Vote.
Click here to see the full thread.
Smoke and mirrors on migration
The cabinet has agreed a migration plan - and it sounds tough, just what’s needed to win over members at next week’s Conservative conference. Sajid Javid has won backing for an immigration scheme that supposedly ends any differentiation between EU and non-EU migrants, and focuses on bringing in high-skilled workers while keeping a route open for industries such as construction, catering and hospitality to hire low-skilled workers from overseas, reports the FT.
Except it’s all just smoke and mirrors. The final terms of our migration policy will be thrashed out during the 21-month transition period. And if we reach trade deal with the EU (which is still what the government is shooting for), its workers will get preferential treatment after all. As things stand, we also don’t know key details about how many low-skilled workers will be exempt from the new controls or which industries they will work in. More than two years after the referendum, we still haven’t a clue how migration will look after Brexit.
Labour councillor and former mayor of Liverpool Malcolm Kennedy is supporting a People's Vote because he believes it is the best thing for the many.
More Brexit news…
Gideon Rachman: Brexit Britain sets itself up to learn the hard way (FT £)
David Hannay: PM takes another step deeper into the Irish quagmire (InFacts)
David Allen Green: Why Thatcher’s Bruges speech was not a first step towards Brexit (FT £)
Today, Tuesday 25th September
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|-||Labour Party Annual Conference: Keir Starmer speech and debate on Brexit|
|-||NI secretary Karen Bradley in US briefing on Ireland and Brexit|
Tomorrow, Wednesday 26th September
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|-||Labour Party Annual Conference concludes: Jeremy Corbyn speech|