Morning briefing: 'Not the end of the world' - Labour pressure points - May's Brexit clock broken
A no-deal Brexit would “not be a walk in the park, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world”, Theresa May told journalists as she set off on a three-day tour of Africa. Now, “not the end of the world” is the very definition of setting the bar low - and no-deal remains a real prospect because May can’t put forward a Brexit proposal that satisfies anyone.
Emmanuel Macron has written off May’s Chequers proposal this weekend, saying: “France wants to maintain a strong, special relationship with London but not if the cost is the European Union's unravelling.” Meanwhile, Brexiters in May’s own party are ramping up calls to “chuck Chequers”, with Boris Johnson penning a Telegraph column yesterday saying it would be a national humiliation on par with what happened to Greece during the eurozone crisis.
No wonder Japanese companies are increasingly frustrated about Brexit. “We just can’t do anything,” said the head of Japan’s biggest business lobby. “We’re now in a situation where we have to consider what to do in all [Brexit scenarios].” That muddle means lost investment for the UK and uncertainty over big employers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan staying in the country.
A fresh slew of no-deal warnings came in over the bank holiday weekend. If we crashed out of the EU with no deal there would be an “unsustainable legal vacuum” and a race to pass a huge heap of new legislation, said Labour’s Keir Starmer. Other warnings ranged from rising energy prices and planes being grounded to the impact on the Grand National.
On top of all that, government sluggishness looks set to exacerbate the situation, with still not enough Whitehall staff working on no-deal preparations, senior government figures have told The Times.
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Quote of the day
“We just can’t do anything. Everyone is seriously concerned. Various scenarios get discussed, from no Brexit to plunging into Brexit without any kind of deal at all. We’re now in a situation where we have to consider what to do in all of them.”
Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Keidanren, Japan’s biggest business lobby, in an interview with the FT
Labour pressure points
The Labour leadership is coming under pressure from all sides to back a People’s Vote. Two trade unions will be calling for such a vote at next month’s TUC Congress, the Telegraph reports. Momentum - the faction of Labour activists supportive of Corbyn - will also consult its members on its Brexit stance, after 4,000 of them signed a petition calling for a People’s Vote. On top of this, 59% of Labour’s target voters - those who do not back the party now but say they “might” or “would seriously consider” it - want a vote on Brexit once the talks with the EU are concluded, according to the latest YouGov poll for the People’s Vote campaign.
So come on Jeremy Corbyn, make a move that’s both good for Labour and good for democracy and the country.
Tweet of the day
Audio of the day
May’s Brexit clock running fast
Does Theresa May know when she’s expecting a Brexit deal? “We are all working to the October deadline,” she told with journalists. But that’s not what Michel Barnier thinks. He suggested last week that an agreement might slip to November. May’s own deputy, David Lidington, noted Barnier’s suggestion “with interest” and said a November summit was “manageable”. The Brexit clock is ticking, but May’s seems to be running faster than everyone else’s.
Tweet of the day 2
The official figures are in - and it was a cracking turnout for the North East People's Vote rally on Saturday!
Calls for Mueller-style probe in UK
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has called for a Mueller-style investigation into whether there was Russian interference in the referendum unless the National Crime Agency (NCA) is already investigating the matter. Robert Mueller is investigating Russian interference into the 2016 US presidential election.
At the same conference, Damian Collins, the Conservative MP who chairs the culture, media and sport committee, also called for a Mueller-style investigation: “We need investigators to go into Facebook and take a full and detailed look at what happened on social media and in terms of individuals like Arron Banks.”
Banks, who funded Leave.EU, published a letter from the NCA that says the crime agency has not itself launched an investigation though it is helping the police and Electoral Commission with their investigations and is keeping the matter under review.
Video of the day
WATCH: It's this week's FFS Awards - celebrating the week's most ridiculous Brexiters.
More Brexit news…
Top Brexit comment
Rafael Behr: Brexiteers have lost sight of the greatest free trade prize of all (Guardian)
Suzanne Moore: Buy extra tuna if you’re worried about Brexit - but we can’t prepare for the deeper fear (Guardian)
Today, Tuesday 28 August
|-||Parliament in recess|
|-||Theresa May in South Africa|
Tomorrow, Wednesday 29 August
|-||Parliament in recess|
|-||Theresa May in Nigeria|
|09:30||ONS: UK national balance sheet: 2018 estimates|
|13:45||Dominic Raab gives evidence to Lords EU committee|