Wednesday 11 September 2019 - People's Vote

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Morning Briefing: Tom Watson to make dramatic call for Labour to back People's Vote ahead of election

Boris Johnson’s chief apparatchik Dominic Cummings deigned to pop out of his London townhouse yesterday morning to tell reporters they should “get out of London and go to talk to people who are not rich Remainers.”

Well we don't need to get out of London because we're already rooted in communities right across the country. Throughout the summer, our campaign has been holding our Let Us Be Heard rallies which have been standing room only from Edinburgh to Cheltenham, Sunderland to Birmingham. Every weekend, an army of unpaid volunteers from all walks of life give up their time to take to the streets of towns and villages. And all the time we’re making the case for a democratic final say referendum so that the people - rich and poor, young and old - can solve the Brexit crisis. That’s because we know that while the likes of Johnson and Cummings will always be alright, it is the people who will pay the price for their Brexit games.

Our next rally is on Friday in Newport and the day after that Belfast will raise the roof for a People's Vote. Get your free tickets to give full-throated support and Let Us Be Heard.

Tom Watson declares that a People's Vote should happen before any election

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson will today call on Jeremy Corbyn to help secure  a People’s Vote before - not after - a general election.

He will echo the view of a growing number of MPs from all parties that an election is no way to settle a crisis like this, before ripping into Boris Johnson for “his naked contempt for democratic institutions – not just the EU, but the UK Parliament, the British constitution, the Conservative party - he’s trying to trash them all.”

Although Labour’s policy on Brexit has moved a long way so that it now backs a final say referendum with an option to stay in all circumstances, it still includes the increasingly far-fetched idea that a Labour government (in the unlikely event that the party could win an outright majority) might try to negotiate its own version of a Deal before holding a referendum.

Watson will say that a Brexit election “might at this moment seem inevitable, but that doesn’t make it desirable.

“Boris Johnson has already conceded that the Brexit crisis can only be solved by the British people. But the only way to break the Brexit deadlock once and for all is a public vote in a referendum. A general election might well fail to solve this Brexit chaos.”

The speech at Somerset House comes just 24 hours after Corbyn insisted that Labour will back a general election as soon as No Deal is completely off the table, a view backed yesterday by the leaders of Britain’s biggest unions.

There was some polling evidence to support the idea that an election is looking increasingly unattractive to Conservatives this morning with a ComRes poll showing that the Conservatives have dropped one point to 30%, Labour up two to 29%, while the Lib Dems drop three points to 17% and the Brexit Party remains static at 13%, with a majority for parties that back a People's Vote.

MPs working on plan to bring in People's Vote to resolve Brexit crisis

A cross-party group of MPs are discussing bringing back a version of the Withdrawal Agreement in the final two weeks of October – but, crucially, with a People’s Vote attached, in a bid to block a destructive No Deal.

MPs working behind the scenes on a resolution say more Conservatives and former Conservatives are open to the idea of a People’s Vote, bringing a majority ever closer.

With Parliament shutdown until October 14 and no scrutiny on government affairs, MPs don’t trust Boris Johnson to deliver a deal with the EU, so are working on different options to avoid crashing out.

The Guardian quoted a former Conservative saying:  “There is an element of seeing what the next step is from No 10. A lot would be pretty hesitant about backing a referendum until all other options have been tried. But, more attractive, is a way of bringing a deal back on to the table – a version of what was agreed between May and Corbyn. And then have a confirmatory vote attached to it, or someone amends one on.”

The discussions were revealed after Sir Oliver Letwin MP, who has never previously backed a People’s Vote, told the BBC’s Today programme on Tuesday: “If [Boris Johnson] can’t get a deal that he can bring to the House of Commons and get a majority for, there’s another option of course, which is to bring back a deal and ensure a majority for it by attaching it to a referendum.”

MPs who have been locked out of working at Parliament are seeing that a People’s Vote gives them the chance to end the political chaos.

Student campaigns for a People's Vote set to spark wave of campus activism

A wave of student activism is predicted on campuses around the country for a People’s Vote and against Brexit, according to the Guardian.

This term sees the arrival at university of three years worth of students who were too young to vote in the 2016 referendum – and are now fed up with the turmoil around Brexit. It comes as the Government reversed rules kicking international students out of the country after four months - changing Theresa May's restrictive rules to allow them to stay for two years after graduation. 

With universities now legally obliged to encourage voter registration, groups such as our own For our Future’s Sake (FFS) are mounting massive campaigns during fresher weeks for a People’s Vote.

A successful People’s Vote rally was held at Edinburgh University Students' Association this week and more rallies and debates are scheduled in the coming weeks as campuses open up.

Andrew Wilson, Edinburgh University Students' Association President and an organiser of the rally, says: “There is a growing anger among young people that they haven’t had a say on Brexit. While MPs argue in Westminster it’s us who will lose. This is our future.”

Richard Brooks, a co-founder of FFS, says it is struggling to keep on top of all the activist events scheduled in UK universities and colleges. “In 2016 it felt like Brexit happened to young people and we should have been more engaged. But polling is showing that young people who didn’t get to vote are one of the most exercised groups in terms of Brexit. This generation has had enough of the political chaos.”

FFS are planning around 15 events in the next 7 days, including at Bedfordshire University, Newcastle College, City Norwich College and Edge Hill University. For more information, contact FFS here.

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

“No deal would mean that, most likely, World Trade Organisation tariffs would be imposed from 1 November onwards. This would mean that we would most likely have to raise the prices of the products produced in the UK and shipped to other markets [in the EU]. The increase in price means an impact on the volume you sell, and would eventually lead to a reduction of produced cars in Oxford.”

“This is exactly why we urge the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit solution.”

BMW's finance boss Nicolas Peter warns that No Deal will result in MINI factory closures and job losses, while at the Frankfurt Motor Show yesterday.

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More Brexit news...

Tom Watson to call for People's Vote before election (PoliticsHome)

Universities brace for Brexit protests as students flex muscles (Guardian)

Johnson secretly asked for massive amount of user data to be tracked (Buzzfeed)

MPs look to bring back May's Brexit deal with vote on referendum (Guardian)

Corbyn: Labour manifesto to offer People's Vote (BBC News)

Ireland and Boris Johnson both eye return to EU's original Brexit backstop (Independent)

More Brexit comment...

Guardian Editorial: Brexit UK economy risks recession (Guardian)

Paul Waugh: Will Johnson now skewer his Brexit spartans (HuffPost)