Tuesday 31 July 2018 - People's Vote

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Morning briefing: Corbyn under pressure - time to talk immigration - a humble address

It's time for Jeremy Corbyn to back a People's Vote. Pressure from multiple sources is building on the Labour leader to back a People’s Vote at Labour’s conference this autumn, the Guardian writes.

  • More than 150 constituency Labour parties are considering a motion urging Corbyn to oppose any deal that fails the party’s so-called six tests and then “call for an immediate general election and make a manifesto commitment to call a public vote on the deal with an option to remain in the EU”, adding: “If we cannot get a general election, still campaign for a public vote, and call for a general election following a government defeat in that vote.”
  • Momentum, the Corbyn-supporting grassroots group which stopped debate on Brexit at last year’s conference, is warming to the idea of a People’s Vote. A petition of Momentum members calling for a public vote has almost reached 4,000 signatories. It needs 4,400, or 10% of the group’s membership, to force a vote of all members. An unnamed Momentum source told the Guardian: “There’s definitely a view that there should be a debate on it at conference.”
  • The mood is shifting within the shadow Cabinet. Some of the Labour leader’s closest political allies, including John McDonnell, are understood to have advised him to leave the prospect of a second referendum “on the table”, although they have said they would prefer a general election. One shadow cabinet minister told the paper: “We’re not there yet but there’s been a very definite shift internally over the last few weeks in support of a public vote.”

A spokesman for Corbyn reiterated his standard line that a People’s Vote is “not our policy and we are not arguing for one.” That’s not good enough. It's time the People’s Party backed a People’s Vote.



Video of the day 

"Momentum is moving in favour of a People's Vote." OFOC's Lara Spirit is absolutely right - every day, more and more people are demanding a People's Vote on Brexit.



We need to talk about immigration

That’s the message coming out of a report by MPs today, which stresses how we can already reform our immigration system from inside the EU.

For too long the Brexit debate has centred on a false choice: economic access to our largest trading partner versus controlling European immigration into the country. The Home Affairs Committee’s report picks out several things we can do to control migration without quitting: registering EU workers who arrive in the UK; better exit checks; better enforcement to tackle unscrupulous employers.

Other EU countries do these things much better than the UK. A properly regulated system would address key concerns held by the British public, such as having no idea who’s actually in the country and the belief that cheap EU labour is undercutting the local workforce.

The MPs are also demanding that Theresa May spells out her policy for migration from the EU. All she has said is that she wants a “mobility framework” without saying what that means. A White Paper on the topic that has been promised since last year is now supposed to be published in the autumn. More than two years after the referendum, in which migration was the most important issue, this is not good enough. What is she trying to hide?

Graphic of the day 


Tweet of the day

Creator of The Thick of It Armando Iannucci has joined the campaign for a People's Vote. All this Brexit chaos has probably given the Scottish satirist enough material for a new series!



One way to stop “no deal”

Theresa May has identified one way that Parliament might derail her threat to crash out of the EU with no deal if she can’t get her way in the Brexit talks, according to the FT. MPs could use a “humble address” to request the Queen delay our exit from the EU. The humble address is an ancient procedure revived by Labour in recent months. The FT says ministers have been instructed to highlight this possibility to put pressure on hardline Tory Brexiters to fall in behind the prime minister’s unloved Chequers plan. Will this threat really be enough to get Jacob Rees-Mogg and his gang to sign up to a deal which they say could turn us into a “vassal state”? Watch this space.

Tweet of the day 2

Looks like Cher won't be backing a no-deal Brexit.


Trading with China

Jeremy Hunt, the new foreign secretary, has announced the UK is to “open discussions about a possible free trade deal” with China. It sounds like a win for the Brexiters’ vision of “Global Britain” - but not so fast.

Trading with China is notoriously tricky, especially for a smaller economy like the UK’s. The best existing example is China’s deal with Switzerland. This is very much on China’s terms, with Switzerland agreeing to remove its tariffs on goods immediately while China is taking up to 15 years to remove its tariffs. That deal also left out cars and financial services, key sectors for the UK economy.

We don’t need to leave the EU to do more trade with China - as demonstrated by the fact that China is Germany’s largest trading partner.


Video of the day 2

A Sky News poll reveals a majority of the public now back a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal. So where does that leave the Brexiters' "will of the people" argument?


Quote of the day

“No one would profess to being Brexit-ready because there are too many variables in there. We need a deal. If we have no deal, there is no transition, there is no implementation period, that would kick in less than eight months away. You can operate on WTO trade rules but it would be at a significant extra cost and burden than we currently enjoy.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive

More Brexit news…

Carmakers not ready for Brexit, says SMMT as UK sales fall (Guardian)

Barnier warms to May’s Brexit plan after clarification over City (FT £)

EU piracy task force to leave UK post-Brexit (BBC)

MPs urge a rethink of UK devolution after Brexit (BBC)

Top Brexit comment

Looking forward...

Today, Tuesday 31 July

- Parliament in recess
- Jeremy Hunt visiting France
09:30 ONS: UK Balance of Payments: The Pink Book 2018
19:00 The Left Against Brexit event in Birmingham
19:00 The Left Against Brexit event in North London

Tomorrow, Wednesday 1 August

- Parliament in recess