Tuesday 4 September 2018 - People's Vote

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Morning briefing: 'More unpopular than poll tax' - mums back People's Vote - France fears blind Brexit

With Theresa May holding her first Cabinet meeting after MPs’ summer break, it’s looking like a warzone in the Conservative party, and the prime minister’s miserable Chequers proposal is under fire from all sides.

Number 10 batted away another vitriolic attack column from Boris Johnson in the Telegraph yesterday, in which the erstwhile foreign secretary claimed Chequers would mean we’re still in the EU taxi but now “locked in the boot”. A spokesperson for the PM dismissed Johnson’s diatribe, saying there were “no new ideas in his article to respond to”. Nevertheless, the pro-Brexit press are pitching it as another sign of an imminent leadership challenge from the former Vote Leave frontman.

Meanwhile Jacob Rees-Mogg, ringleader of the Tory Brextremists, has been meeting Michel Barnier in Brussels. He claims he and the EU’s “extraordinarily charming” chief negotiator bonded over their shared assessment that May’s offer was “complete rubbish”. Could the sheer awfulness of Chequers be helping forge Brexit’s most unlikely bromance?

The pro-European wing of her party is proving no more amenable towards the prime minister’s proposal. May’s former education secretary, Justine Greening, told the BBC’s World At One that Chequers was now “more unpopular with the British people than the poll tax” and government shouldn’t be wasting two vital months pursuing it. Greening’s comments are backed up by a new survey for pro-Brexit group Global Britain, showing that three-quarters of voters in the Conservatives' 44 most marginal seats are "dissatisfied" with how the government is handling Brexit.


Of course none of these Conservative bigwigs will actually be at the Cabinet meeting today. May’s ministers remain supportive of her strategy, though how fulsome that support is isn’t clear. Take home secretary, and reluctant Remain-backer, Sajid Javid’s non-committal comments yesterday. “Right now, this is a plan that has been put forward by the UK government, and it is still being considered by all the different bits that make up the EU. Let’s see what they say.”

It is now 26 months since the referendum – and the Tories still don’t have a clue what to do. The prime minister’s Chequers’ proposal is virtually dead. But those who brought us Brexit - neither Boris Johnson nor Michael Gove - haven’t got a viable plan either, as was explored by InFacts yesterday. The only sensible solution is to ask the people if they are still willing to stomach this blind Brexit.

Quote of the day

“Chequers is now dead and there’s no point having a government spending two vital months working on that when what it needs to do is start working on an alternative route for us.

“The Chequers deal is now more unpopular with the British people than the poll tax was and that is why it’s untenable to take forward.”

Former education secretary Justine Greening on the BBC’s World At One

Do you work for the NHS or know someone who does? Sign our letter here, to warn the government that Brexit is bad for the UK's health.

Video of the day

WATCH: This video from For our Future's Sake - in collaboration with Women for a People's Vote - on why young women across the country deserve a final say on Brexit.


And even though she couldn't be there in person... R&B superstar Jamelia has come out in support of a People's Vote.


Please share on Facebook and Twitter.

Mums back People’s Vote

The launch of the Women for a People’s Vote campaign yesterday was a huge success, with a flurry of support from politicians, magazines, newspaper columns and beyond. Support also came from Mumsnet, with a survey of 2,000 users showing 71% backing a public vote on Brexit. Comments from survey respondents called the government’s handling of Brexit a “mess” and “ridiculous miscalculation”. Others voiced concerns about food and medicine shortages if there’s no deal, unemployment and the threat to the NHS, with one saying “our future is being sold up the river”.

Graphic of the day


Tweet of the day

This round-up from Caroline Criado Perez, one of the many voices backing the Women for a People's Vote campaign.



France says ‘non’ to blind Brexit

France is worried about a blind Brexit. French president Emmanuel Macron is leading the push among the other 27 EU countries to stop Theresa May from fudging her way out of the EU, according to the Guardian. One French diplomat called for “clarity and precision”. “Two years would not be long enough to have a wider internal discussion and negotiate with the Brits. The transition would need to be extended. France has had enough.”

For Macron a blind Brexit would be an irritating distraction. But for the UK it could be catastrophic. Without a clear plan, there’s every chance that negotiations over our future relationship with the EU breaks down in the 21-month transition period. Brexiters would have the chaotic no-deal they crave. May cannot be allowed to tee up the country for such a disaster.


Video of the day 2

ICYMI: hundreds of people packed out the Cambridge Junction on Sunday in our People's Vote East rally.


Please share on Facebook and Twitter.

More evidence of Labour voters turning against Brexit

With the Labour party conference days away, new pressure has been piled on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership with new analysis suggesting 2.6 million Leave voters have now changed their mind - the majority of them Labour voters in constituencies currently held by the party.

In total, the study by Focaldata on behalf of Best for Britain concluded that 2.6 million Leave voters have switched, while 970,000 have moved the other way – a net gain for the pro-EU side of 1.6 million. The margin between Remain and Leave voters was 1.3 million back in 2016.

More Brexit news…

Bring back work visas for overseas graduates, say UK universities (Guardian)

End ‘extreme’ Brexit uncertainty for citizens, say rights groups (Politico)

Brexit could drive up energy bills, say power firms (Guardian)

These young women want a ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit and say it’s all about our rights (Rights Info)

Brexit has already cost UK more than 2% of GDP, UBS estimates (Bloomberg)

Top Brexit comment

Rachel Sylvester: Brexit divisions are getting bigger not smaller (Times £)

David Miliband: The real Brexit choice lies ahead this autumn: a bad deal or a people’s vote (Evening Standard)

Antonia Cundy: Brexit will make the arts even more London-centric (Politics.co.uk)

Richard Corbett: Don’t fall for the decoy!

Looking forward...

Today, Tuesday 4th September

- Parliament returns
- ERG meeting to agree plan to kill off Chequers
- Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill second reading in Lords
- Labour's NEC votes on whether to accept international definition of anti-semitism
- Green Party leadership election results
09:30 Cabinet meeting
10:15 Brexit department permanent secretary gives evidence to Commons Brexit committee
13:15 Bank of England governor Mark Carney gives evidence to Treasury committee
14:30 Jeremy Hunt answers Foreign Office questions in Commons
14:30 Trade minister gives evidence to international trade committee on trade in developing countries
15:30 Dominic Raab to update Commons on Brexit negotiations (likely to be delayed)

Tomorrow, Wednesday 5th September

09:30 ONS: Overseas travel and tourism Jan-March 2018 published 
10:40 Former top civil servants Martin Donelly and Simon Fraser give evidence to Lords international relations committee 
12:00 Prime Minister's Questions
14:30 Top Brexit civil servant Olly Robbins gives evidence to EU scrutiny committee 
15:30 MEP Claude Moraes gives evidence to Lords EU Home Affairs sub-committee