Wednesday 12 December 2018 - People's Vote

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Morning Briefing: 48 letters are in - deal can't be fixed - public pessimism rising

Theresa May will face a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party at 6pm today. The 48 letters needed for a leadership challenge have now gone in to the chair of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers.

This is a dramatic moment of high politics, no doubt, but in the long run it won’t change the big picture. The government’s Brexit deal has failed, none of the promises made in 2016 can be kept. The final decision should now be handed back to the public - because only the people can sort this out.

The important thing is that a People’s Vote is set in motion sooner rather than later. Politicians must not prolong the uncertainty that is hurting the economy.

This Tory leadership challenge could go either way: with May clinging on or voted out and a leadership contest triggered.

If May survives, it will become clear by the EU summit at the end of the week that she won’t get any new concessions on the government’s unpopular deal (see below). There will then be no excuse to delay a parliamentary vote on it further. If she tries to kick it into the New Year, it would be widely expected that Labour would call a vote of no confidence in the government itself - an option it is keeping open, according to the Guardian.


Note that we are talking about two votes of confidence here: an internal Conservative Party one today to determine whether May stays as its leader; and a potential vote among all MPs to determine whether there should be a general election.

A Tory leadership challenge will waste weeks of time with no chance of a more workable Brexit solution in the long run. There will presumably be a delay in presenting a Brexit plan to MPs. This could be used by Labour to delay its next move. Or it might call a no confidence vote before MPs break for Christmas next week, whether May is keeping the seat warm until a new prime minister is chosen or a caretaker has taken the job.

Labour may well say it should wait even longer. But the nation is crying out for leadership - and the party will suffer if it is seen to be conspiring with hard Brexiters to run down the clock under which we are due to quit the EU on March 29.

Labour will probably fail to secure a general election. But at that point it can move to the next logical step in its policy - backing a People’s Vote.

This country has been held to ransom for too long by Conservative infighting over Brexit. We no longer have time to waste on internal party politics. It’s time for this decision to be given back to the people.

Video of the Day

WATCH: Sarah Wollaston MP for Totnes: "I'm very worried about the fact that in 108 days, we run out of road."  She argues that the best solution is to have a People’s Vote so that the British people can decide if they accept the Brexit deal.

EU tour not going well

Theresa May’s tour of Europe to try and secure changes to the government’s Brexit deal is not going well. She has so far been rebuffed by German, Irish and Portuguese leaders as well as the EU’s two most senior officials, The Times reports. May also found herself temporarily locked in the back of a car as Angela Merkel looked on. “This has been difficult. I don’t think we’ve got the assurances that we need today and we are not going to get them at (the EU summit tomorrow),” a Downing Street source told the paper. Irish leader Leo Varadkar made clear there was another way forward yesterday: “The option is there to revoke Article 50.”

Tweet of the Day

Ben Bradshaw MP points out that a vote of no confidence in the Government should happen soon - not a surprise given that Parliament has been denied a chance to have a Meaningful Vote on the deal.  A People’s Vote could help resolve the crisis by letting the people tell MP’s what they think about the deal.

Public pessimism on Brexit growing

The British people are growing ever more pessimistic about Brexit, a new survey from Britain Thinks has found. The “Brexit Diaries” project, which has charted voters’ views since 2017, found the category of “diehard” Brexit supporters has shrunk from about a third to just over a quarter of participants. Meanwhile the “devastated pessimists”, who lament the effects of Brexit, have risen by 5%, becoming the largest group in the survey. People on both sides of the debate can see that nobody voted for the Brexit we’re actually getting. It’s time to ask the people whether this is what they really want.

Quote of the day

“I think another vote would be democratic. I think it is too simplistic to say that people voted to leave no matter what”

A former Leave voter responds to the latest Britain Thinks “Brexit Diaries” survey.

Video of the Day 2

WATCH:  If not now when?  The government is delaying the Brexit vote because they know they won’t win.  This is a failed Brexit Process. Students and young people have been clear: The solution is a People’s Vote.  Write to your MP and demand one here.


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More Brexit news…

Christmas coup - as Javid rebukes the PM on immigration (i)

John Major calls for Article 50 to be revoked so solution to Brexit crisis can be found (PoliticsHome)

Treasury’s view of leaving EU too optimistic, say MPs (Times £)

Pound sinks after no confidence report (BBC)

Top Brexit comment

Hugo Dixon: Remaining in the EU would save the UK billions – money that should go to Brexit voters who were left behind (Independent)

Editorial: MPs and Brexit: parliament must decide (Guardian)

Looking forward…

Today, Wednesday 12th December

09.30 ONS: Labour market stats
08.00 MEPs debating Brexit in European Parliament
09.50 Penny Mordaunt at women and equalities committee
11.30 Northern Ireland questions in Commons
12.00 Prime Minister's Questions
14.45 Fisheries minister George Eustice at EFRA committee
from 18:00 Conservative MPs vote of confidence in Theresa May

Tomorrow, Thursday 13th December

- European Council summit
09.30 Mark Sedwill, Cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, at public administration and constitutional affairs committee
13.00 EU summit: arrivals
18:00 EU summit: Donald Tusk & Jean-Claude Juncker press conference
18:30 EU summit: leaders' working dinner