Wednesday 18 September 2019 - People's Vote

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Morning Briefing: Corbyn backs People's Vote, but hints he may stay neutral

First the good news: there won’t be a champagne crisis at Christmas, thanks to booze importers stockpiling early to avoid a destructive No Deal. However, this does not mean that food, medicines and other vital supplies will get through the predicted chaos at Britain’s ports.

With politics stymied by the Parliamentary shutdown and the main parties jockeying for new positions to try and set themselves up for a possible election, it becomes ever clearer that only a People’s Vote can resolve the crisis.

Join us on October 19 in London for what will be one of the biggest and most important demonstrations this country has ever seen as we demand to Let Us Be Heard.

Corbyn promises a People's Vote, but risks more rows over hints that he will stay neutral

Jeremy Corbyn is now promising to back a People's Vote in all circumstances, even if Labour wins the election.

But his aides are also hinting - in the spin around his Guardian piece if not the text of the article today - that he might stay neutral in such a final say referendum. Ahead of Labour's conference next week, this puts him at odds with Shadow Cabinet colleagues such as Tom Watson, John McDonnell, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry - all of whom would campaign to stay in the EU.

Corbyn may be thinking he can take a leaf out of Harold Wilson's book who took a back seat in the 1975 referendum. But Wilson still made it clear he supported staying in Europe and, given the position of the overwhelming majority of Labour's MPs, members and voters - not to mention the party's internationalist values - few people will believe that Corbyn's position will survive contact with reality.

Writing in The Guardian this morning, he said: "A Labour government would secure a sensible deal based on the terms we have long advocated, including a new customs union with the EU; a close single market relationship; and guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections.” 

"We would then put that to a public vote alongside Remain. I pledge to carry out whatever the people decide, as a Labour prime minister."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the weekend described Labour as “the party of Remain”, while the Lib Dems have caused controversy by vowing to scrap Article 50 if they win an election - a shifting of party positions as the crisis continues to engulf the UK.

Mr Corbyn claimed: “Labour is the only party determined to bring people together. Only a vote for Labour will deliver a public vote on Brexit. Only a Labour government will put the power back into the hands of the people. Let’s stop a no-deal Brexit – and let the people decide."

Tom Watson last week called for the party to push for a People’s Vote before agreeing to an election. This view is likely to be another battleground at the party’s Brighton conference.

Join us on Saturday for our Trust the People march and rally in Brighton where leading Labour politicians will call for a People’s Vote. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

And download the For our Future's Sake (FFS) Labour conference "Together against Brexit" app

Parliament shutdown was "worst abuse of power in 50 years", Supreme Court hears

Boris Johnson suspended parliament in order to “silence” MPs who wanted to block his Brexit plans, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Lawyers challenging the Prime Minister’s decision to “prorogue” Parliament for five weeks said there was "strong evidence" that he saw the Commons as "as an obstacle" to his plans to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October.

It was described as the “worst abuse of power in 50 years” by Lord Pannick, representing anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

The move is being challenged in the highest court in the land before 11 judges after Scottish and English courts gave contradictory judgments on the issue earlier this month.

Boris Johnson warned the Court that judges have no jurisdiction over his decision to suspend parliament and that they risk “entering the political arena”.

In a written submission with Lord Keen, the advocate general, the prime minister said it would be “constitutionally inappropriate” for the courts to intervene.

He said the government is entitled to prorogue parliament for its own “political advantage”, adding that suspension is a matter of convention, not the rule of law.

With the hearing being streamed, it is scheduled to end tomorrow with a judgement likely to be reserved.

Boris Johnson has promised to stand by the ruling that comes from the Supreme Court, but his Justice Secretary Robert Buckland yesterday refused to rule out a further prorogation in order to force through No Deal.

All of the UK’s institutions are enveloped in the Brexit crisis. It is only a People’s Vote that can resolve it. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

Wholesalers stockpiling booze early to avoid Christmas shortages

Companies across Britain have begun stockpiling beer, wine and spirits to ensure Christmas alcohol flows as concerns grow that Brexit could disrupt supplies.

Firms have been rushing to bring forward imports with the October 31 deadline clashing with their busiest time of the year when import volumes rise, temporary staff are employed and more warehouse space required.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply analyst John Glen said: “Companies have bought well ahead of Christmas this year, due to potential disruption at the ports and to try and avoid depreciation in the value of sterling against the euro.”

Join our Trust the People march in Brighton on Saturday

At the start of the Labour Party conference, the People's Vote campaign will be holding a major march in Brighton on Saturday. Come and join us, assembling at 1pm before the march at 2pm and speeches from leading Labour politicians at Hove Lawns. for more information, click 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

“I lived through Suez, the miners’ strike, I lived through the poll tax debate and the trouble then. I lived through the Iraq demonstrations — I’ve never seen the country so divided as this. The next six weeks are clearly critical. I’ve never known the country so seriously riven by argument.”

“The prime minister is accused of lying to the Queen - let’s put it bluntly - and getting parliament suspended without good reason and that’s big potatoes, it has to be.”

Broadcaster David Dimbleby speaking yesterday to protesters outside the Supreme Court on the importance of the prorogation hearings.

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More Brexit news...

Activists deploy mobile phone app to mobilise against Brexit at Labour conference (HuffPost)

Johnson's Brexit officials are "deliberately holding back papers from the EU" (Mirror)

Johnson suspended Parliament to "silence" MPs opposed to No Deal, Supreme Court told (Politics Home)

Coveney in informal talks over alternatives to backstop (Irish Times)

Brexit has divided the country like never before, says David Dimbleby (Jersey Evening Post)

Importers stockpile alcohol for Christmas to avoid Brexit drought (Guardian)

More Brexit comment...

Jeremy Corbyn: Only Labour will give people the final say on Brexit (Guardian)

Robert Peston: The Brexit deal Johnson wants and why its success all hinges on Dublin (ITV News)

Tom Peck: Johnson makes his case to the Supreme Court - you should never believe a word I say (Independent)