Wednesday 1 May 2019 - People's Vote

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Morning Briefing: Labour risks losing People's Vote supporters

Voters across much of England and Northern Ireland go to the polls tomorrow for local elections with Brexit still dominating the political discourse, but yesterday's drama focused around Labour's headquarters.

Labour risks losing People's Vote supporters

So, the Labour National Executive made their decision to go for a “bare minimum” commitment to a People’s Vote, leaving them hoping it will secure the support of millions of voters who want a final say on Brexit.

The party will continue to seek an alternative Brexit deal or a general election, but failing that, will "back the option of a public vote". In reality, there is no deal on the table other than the one negotiated by the Government, so the party will have little option but to support a confirmatory vote.

It became clear in the 24 hours or so before the meeting that this was likely to be the outcome: Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is keen to give the impression of being on the side of both Leave and Remain for as long as possible while only giving a new vote as an option at this stage. 

It meant that the Opposition leader failed to support his deputy Tom Watson, many MPs, MEP candidates and union leaders in their call for Labour to take a firm stance in favour of a new public vote on any Brexit deal.

There was support from a widening group of trade unionists and, for the first time, a significant number of grassroots activists from the Labour left; but when it came to the crunch few if any amongst the newly-installed party establishment were willing to back the party's membership over a conservative and cautious leadership fearful of taking a radical stance.

The National Executive Committee comfortably backed the status quo and refused to update the policy in line with events.

Certainly there were a number of Labour members on Twitter cutting up their membership cards and many calling out the challenges of the party remaining on the fence, while MEP candidates vowed to campaign on a commitment for a People’s Vote.

Bridget Phillipson, the Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign summed it up, saying:

“Labour has done the bare minimum needed and I can only hope it will be enough to secure the support of all those millions of our voters demanding the final say on Brexit.

“But the manifesto’s mealy-mouthed wording still maintains the fiction that there is a deal out there that can satisfy all the promises made three years ago, avoid real costs to jobs and living standards, or end the endless crisis around Brexit.”

A People’s Vote is still the only solution for the UK to get out of the political crisis that is holding the country back. It is still Labour policy to have a People’s Vote as an option if ‘no deal’ Brexit or a bad deal Brexit move forward.

To see all the parties’ positions on a People’s Vote in your Euro election region, visit the People’s Vote Test site here.

Theresa May to emerge from her bunker today

European Council President Donald Tusk famously said “his message to British friends” was “please do not waste this time” when Article 50 was extended to Halloween.

Yesterday, Parliament rose at 4.19pm on a Tuesday. No Brexit regulations or business has been laid down in the House for this week or next at this moment in time.

And Prime Minister May has herself said nothing in public for 20 days, according to the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn.

The HuffPost reports that Cabinet Brexiters are demanding that she speed up the stalled process but Mrs May is refusing to hurry up.

Therefore the only game in town right now is the negotiation between Conservative and Labour leadership teams to hammer out a compromise deal. No-one yet knows how this will play out.

Today, the Lesser Spotted Prime Minister May will be seen in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions, followed by a session in front of the Commons Liaison Committee, which is expected to focus on Brexit.

Given that there are local elections on Thursday and neither Mrs May or Mr Corbyn are keen to be nailed any more on Brexit and the need for a People’s Vote, expect it to pass relatively quietly.

Brexit risks exacerbating social care crisis

Four Seasons Health Care, one of the UK’s largest providers of social care has collapsed into administration. Four Seasons employs 20,000 people and provides care for 17,000.

The company has repeatedly cited Brexit, and a slump in recruitment from EU countries since 2016, as a contributor to its difficulties.

Commenting, Gareth Thomas MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “Britain’s social care sector is plunging into ever deeper crisis and the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, if ever passed, will only make that worse.

“Artificially restricting the supply of workers for social care will tip more and more social care providers towards administration or worse.

“Issues like this were barely discussed in 2016 and now that we know just what the costs and risks of Brexit are, and with Parliament in deadlock,  it is only fair and democratic that the public get to decide whether any Brexit deal is the right choice for our country’s future in a People’s Vote.”

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

"Now we know what Leave looks like, do you still want to go ahead with it?"

Labour's Phil Wilson and a supporter of the People's Vote makes the case on Sky News.

Video of the Day 

The Cheltenham for Europe cross-party campaign group is a big supporter of the People's Vote and has put together a series of videos where European nationals use their own language to urge their compatriots to register and vote in the EU elections. Here is Neira in Croatian.


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Tweet of the Day

A Conservative Party supporter from Southend-on-Sea in Essex tells how he has shifted from voting for Leave to demanding a People's Vote, tweeted by Conservatives For A People's Vote.

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More Brexit news…

What to look out for in the local elections (BBC News)

May blocks Cabinet demands to speed up Brexit process (HuffPost)

Stop stereotyping the North as Brexitland, say 4 MPs (Northern Echo)

Ladies Night out for Theresa May and colleagues with Russian oligarch's wife who paid £135,000 (Daily Mail)

Tories use "bob-a-job" Scouts to deliver election leaflets (Mirror)


Top Brexit comment...

Polly Toynbee: Labour needn't worry: in its Northern heartlands, Brexiters are not the only voices (Guardian)

Tom Peck: Labour's policy is as clear as the rules of Mornington Crescent (Independent)

Stephen Bush: While Brexit is ongoing, climate change will never get the attention it deserves (New Statesman)