Tuesday 6 August 2019 - People's Vote

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Morning Briefing: It's time to fight back against No Deal

Boris Johnson's determination to force the most destructive Brexit possible on the country knows no bounds. Splashed across today's papers, briefed by Downing Street, are stories showing plans to ignore a no confidence motion in parliament in order to impose a destructive No Deal.

Yesterday, People's Vote supporter Jess Phillips MP emailed our supporters saying "Boris Johnson, elected by barely 0.1% of the population, has not got the permission of the people to do this" and calling on all who care about our country to fight back.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to fund our summer campaign of protest. If you haven't, but would like to, follow the link below.

Brexit impasse as "no ifs no buts" Johnson blocks progress with EU

The Brexit impasse between a recalcitrant Boris Johnson and shocked EU is getting worse, with a destructive No Deal becoming more likely, according to officials.

The EU see no basis for more talks, after Johnson’s new envoy David Frost reiterated the public message that the Irish backstop needed to be removed before any talks could take place.

According to the Guardian, a diplomat told EU leaders that No Deal had become Britain’s “central scenario”, saying it was clear the “UK does not have another plan. No intention to negotiate, which would require a plan”.

Back in No. 10 yesterday, the prime minister’s spokesman was emphatic that the UK would leave the EU “no ifs no buts” on October 31, while health secretary Matt Hancock claimed No Deal “cannot be stopped”.

Given that Johnson has gone nowhere near Europe or its leaders since becoming prime minister, there was this morning a classic piece of spin from his spokesman. Responding to the EU’s view that the UK government is taking us over a cliff, he said the EU “needed to change its stance” and that “we will throw ourselves into negotiations with the greatest energy and spirit of friendship”.

The Times this morning reported that Johnson may even refuse to resign if he lost a no confidence vote in Parliament, an action that risks the Queen being dragged into a constitutional crisis and another sign of his and his government's arrogant disdain for democracy.

And Johnson's right-hand man Dominic Cummings reportedly launched a vicious attack on former chancellor Philip Hammond, accusing him of not spending money on No Deal preparation, "for political purposes": an accusation strenuously denied.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, will begin a tour of Canada, the US and Mexico today as part of a bid to "fire up" the UK's trade relationships with countries outside the EU.

However, the former US treasury secretary, Larry Summers, says he thinks the UK is now too weak to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Britain has no leverage, Britain is desperate... it needs an agreement very soon. When you have a desperate partner, that's when you strike the hardest bargain."

Another Boris Johnson NHS promise unravels

No-one will ever forget the Leave campaign’s bus and the “£350 million for the NHS” lie that influenced so many people. It seems that Boris Johnson hasn’t forgotten it either.

With the economy having in fact lost £500m a week in lower growth since the 2016 referendum (with much worse still to come, particularly if we leave with No Deal), Johnson faces a challenge to prove that he can deliver significantly more money for the health service. Yesterday he pledged to spend a one-off £1.8 billion on hospital projects, saying it would provide “more beds, new wards and extra life-saving equipment”.

Like most of Boris Johnson’s promises, it unraveled very quickly as it emerged that at least £1 billion of the money was “old money” – cash that health trusts already had but which they had been forbidden to spend.

Senior policy analyst from the Nuffield Trust Sally Gainsbury tweeted: “There’s a catch”. The hospitals and trusts had “earned” the money in incentive payments for cutting their costs, but been “forbidden” to spend it.

People’s Vote supporter and GP Dr Paul Williams MP warned that Johnson’s “biggest problem is that no-one trusts a word he says about anything. On Brexit that is rooted in his promise to spend £350 million extra a week on the NHS financed by Brexit. It was never an honest pledge, but Boris Johnson has never cared much for honesty, only for whatever will get him through the next political or personal crisis.”

He said this latest promise has fallen apart in record time “just as all his other pledges, predictions and promises on Brexit are also crumbling to dust – some slowly, some quickly, but all inevitably.”

Pressure grows for Labour to campaign harder against destructive No Deal

Labour is coming under increasing pressure from activists demanding more vigorous campaigning against a destructive No Deal.

With Boris Johnson’s Conservatives making all the noise and spraying electioneering promises around like confetti, Labour’s grassroots members are agitating for a full-throated backing of a People’s Vote.

Youth group For our Future’s Sake (FFS), which is linked to the People’s Vote campaign, and Another Europe Is Possible (AEIP) are pressing local Labour parties to back motions at the Brighton conference in September, with multiple local groups calling for the party to back staying in the EU.

With the conference taking place “on the edge of a cliff”, according to AEIP’s Michael Chessum and stronger union backing, there is a demand for the party to come out battling to block a catastrophic No Deal.

FFS seeks pledges that “Labour will now throw the full weight of our movement behind efforts to secure a confirmatory vote. If a general election is held, the Labour manifesto must include a commitment to a confirmatory referendum with remain on the ballot.”

And shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis said: “Either we can disappoint our leave voters on Brexit and win them back with a radical domestic programme, or we can fudge the issue, lose our base and watch as the free-market Brexit dream becomes a reality and demolishes the welfare state.” 

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

“This Brexit crisis has now come down to a simple question about whether we live in a democracy: can we allow Boris Johnson to force No Deal - or another vicious form of Brexit - on our country, without all of us having our voice heard? The only way to resolve this crisis is to give the public the final say.”

Leading People's Vote campaigner Anna McMorrin MP hits back at health secretary Matt Hancock's change of heart over No Deal. 

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More Brexit news...

Europe's workers live in fear of a chaotic departure (The Times £)

Johnson has no intention of renegotiating Brexit deal, EU told (Guardian)

Johnson accused of "misleading" the public over NHS pledge (PoliticsHome)

Activists push Labour to campaign against Brexit (Guardian)

More Brexit comment...

James Kirkup: Leaving on October 31 won't be the end of this. Brexit will never be over (Standard)

Polly Toynbee: Only a government of national unity can deliver us from No Deal (Guardian)

Robert Peston: Who's bluffing? Johnson or the EU? (Spectator)