Morning Briefing: Theresa May, rule taker - Labour jitters - emergency staff wanted
The prime minister is so desperate to get a deal that she is about to make another huge U-turn, according to two unnamed sources in The Times. She will agree to follow the EU’s social and environmental standards and maybe its labour rules too after Brexit, in the hope of persuading the bloc to agree to free movement of goods. This figures, since the EU won’t want the UK to get access to its market but undercut it with less stringent green and social policies.
There’s little wrong with the EU’s social and environmental standards. The UK, after all, has helped craft them for 45 years. But following them post-Brexit without a vote on them would not be taking back control. It would be losing control.
The rumoured new U-turn joins two other big concessions May is expected to make. She will try and solve the Irish border problem by keeping the whole UK in the customs union, until there is a “clear process” of steps to exit. That means following EU trade policies without a vote on them. The prime minister is also effectively going to give the European Court of Justice the final say in any dispute, according to Politico.
Again there is little wrong with either the EU’s trade policies or the ECJ. The UK has played a central role in both for over 45 years. But post-Brexit, we would no longer have the ability to make sure potential new trade deals with China and America worked in our interests; and we wouldn’t have a judge on the EU’s top court. That’s not taking back control.
May is expected to reveal these concessions to her Cabinet next Tuesday. All eyes will be on whether Cabinet “swing voters” like Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Dominic Raab swallow them. A big question mark also hangs over international development secretary Penny Mordaunt, who yesterday declined to give May’s proposals her explicit backing.
Outside government, other Tory Brexiters couldn’t be more explicit. Former Brexit secretary David Davis has warned the prime minister that any “rule-taking” would be “obvious” to the electorate - with dire electoral consequences. Meanwhile his former minister at the Brexit department, Steve Baker, has restated that 40 backbenchers are ready to oppose May’s plans. However, this number was said to be around 80 until recently - perhaps Baker’s ERG is not the parliamentary power he claims?
Either way, May’s Brexit route now leads to either a miserable rule-taking deal or parliamentary deadlock and chaos. What a mess.
Quote of the day
“We’ve been here before, many times ... It’s like Groundhog Day. We get the same old story. The secretary of state pretends everything is going according to plan.”
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer responding to Dominic Raab in Commons
Video of the day
WATCH: "Never has so much been lost by so many, to satisfy so few." Nicola Sturgeon addresses Brexit at her party conference, following the SNP's announcement it would support a People's Vote in Parliament.
Best way for Labour MPs to stop ‘no deal’? Back People’s Vote
There are a number of reports doing the rounds this week that several Labour MPs are considering backing Theresa May's Brexit because they fear unleashing "no deal" chaos or replacing May with a more hard-right prime minister, not believing that Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy of forcing a general election can work. None of the numbers are substantiated, and any MPs named and approached by reporters have denied this - for example Rachael Reeves in the Guardian today.
But for any Labour MPs potentially on the fence, it is important to recognise that this is not a case of “May’s deal or no deal”. There’s a third option: a People’s Vote. Any wavering Labour MPs need to throw their weight behind this, to find out if the public even want this dog’s dinner Brexit, and if not to give them the chance to stay in the EU.
Tweet of the day
Professor Brian Cox (off the TV) and People's Vote's Mike Galsworthy discussing "taking back control" for UK science.
Staff wanted for Brexit emergencies
Looking for post-Brexit employment? The government has put out job ads for a team of civil emergency workers to cope with the fallout from Brexit. The role pays around £50k and runs until June 2019 but “with the possibility of extension or permanency”.
Interestingly, these new staff - whose job it will be to “respond to and recover from civil emergencies of all types” - are deemed necessary “both in the case of a no-deal or negotiated exit”. That means even if May gets a deal, the government is worried about civil unrest. No wonder when the National Police Coordination Centre has warned that shortages of medicine could “feed civil disorder”, while price rises could prompt “widespread protest which could then escalate into disorder”.
Video of the day 2
Brexit will be catastrophic for Northern Ireland. Damien McGenity will be forced out of business without EU agricultural subsidies.
Deploying the Brexit airbags
The car manufacturers trade body has launched a new Brexit contingency package to help companies in the automotive supply chain if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, reports Autocar. While the headlines have been hogged by car giants like JLR and BMW warning of plant shutdowns and relocation, the bulk of firms in the supply chain are small businesses employing fewer than 10 workers. Enterprises like these can’t move to escape Brexit turmoil, they’ll just go to the wall - something the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is trying to stop from happening. If it does, our car manufacturing industry, which supports 82,000 jobs and contributes £4.9 billion to the economy, will be hollowed out.
More Brexit news…
Bella Frimpong: Young people must march for their future on October 20 (InFacts)
Editorial: Theresa May’s Tories: voters ignored by a party at war (Guardian)
Matthew Parris: This biblical prophecy is another Brexit lie (Times £)
Today, Wednesday 10th October
|-||EU ambassadors meet to set concrete plans on detail for October summit|
|-||Michel Barnier meets EU's College of Commissioners|
|09.30||ONS: UK GDP, trade, construction figures published|
|09.15||National Audit Office chair, Amyas Mores, and think tank chiefs give evidence to Brexit committee|
|10.00||Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen at House of Lords EU Financial Affairs sub-committee|
|12.00||Prime Minister's Questions|
|14.45||Brexit ministers at Commons procedure committee on scrutiny of delegated legislation|
|15.00||Pharmaceutical, haulage, retail and small business leaders at Commons Brexit sub-committee|
Tomorrow, Thursday 11th October
|-||House of Lords debate on Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement|