Wednesday 21 August 2019 - People's Vote

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Morning Briefing: Fears that Russian imports could hit UK fuel industry after destructive No Deal

It may seem like there’s no fun in Brexit with constant warnings and concerns over what may happen after a destructive No Deal. There just haven’t been a lot of laughter and jokes around lately as Boris Johnson has bullied the UK along the road to a catastrophic exit.

But we are trying to provide at least a temporary respite to that: on Thursday we will hold a rally in Edinburgh, bringing great comedians such as Andrew Maxwell, Fred McCauley and Grace Campbell alongside People’s Vote supporting politicians such as Jess Phillips and Ian Murray. We’ve even got the now-famous "Graffiti Granny" Hazel Jones – and Alastair Campbell playing the bagpipes.

It promises to be a great event and a short antidote to some of the doom and gloom. Serious political messages for a People's Vote and some comedy. Get your tickets here and come along to Let Us Be Heard.

Fears that Russian imports could hit UK fuel industry after destructive No Deal

We know that President Trump is chomping at the bit to grab a cut-price slice of the UK economy with a post-No Deal transatlantic trade deal.

Now it seems that Russia could be able to flood the UK with fuel imports as the future of our fuel refineries come under threat.

They face a “danger to viability” from cheaper foreign imports, according to local authority documents, while exports to the EU are likely to be hit with tariffs.

The BBC revealed that concern is widespread in an industry deemed crucial for both economic and national security. Our six major petroleum refineries support around 120,000 jobs, contributing about £8.6 billion to the economy.

The revelation is the latest from the People’s Vote campaign's Freedom of Information requests to local authorities up and down the country on their No Deal planning, which show councils taking steps to ensure the supply of fuel after October 31.

Portsmouth Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson this morning condemned government “inaction and inefficiency” for doing “too little, too late” as he described potential chaos at Portsmouth Harbour and the nearby A27. Speaking on the BBC's Today programme this morning, he said his council had spent £4m to mitigate problems with predictions of an extra 2,000 lorries a day after October 31.

This is another example of the potential effects of a destructive No Deal for which Boris Johnson has no mandate. Only a People's Vote can resolve the political and social chaos.

Johnson flies to Berlin amidst Irish backstop wrangling

Boris Johnson heads out to Berlin today to have dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the aperitif being “the great flounce”of UK officials being withdrawn from most EU meetings next month.

The Prime Minister is drip-feeding bad news to “our European friends”, as he calls them, to demonstrate that No Deal is on the cards, even if he says he will "go at it with a lot of oomph” to find agreement.

Few can believe that his attempts to blame Europe – and Conservative rebels – are going to go down well with Mrs Merkel or French President Emmanuel Macron when he goes to Paris tomorrow.

Yesterday Mr Johnson accused European President Donald Tusk of a “lack of optimism” when he rejected his call for the Irish backstop to be dumped.

It is frightening that the Prime Minister is putting the Good Friday Agreement at the heart of his Brexit rhetoric, with all the risks to peace that entails.

Britain’s diplomats will be withdrawn from the majority of EU meetings from September 1. It demonstrates the true colours of a government with a narrow vision of the UK and its place in the world.

People's Vote supporter Martin Whitfield MP commented: “We have a Prime Minister who is prepared to play fast and loose with peace in Ireland and readily sacrifice businesses who rely on European trade or hard-working EU employees.

"And today brings us the great flounce, as UK ministers and officials are told to pack their bags, switch off their phones and stop talking to our EU colleagues. It is a pitiful retreat from our position at the heart of European decision-making.”

The clock is ticking. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

Farmers "must not be sacrificed" in US trade deal

Farmers leader Minette Batters called for UK farming to not “be sacrificed’ in any future trade deal with the US this morning. She warned that there are no animal welfare or environmental protection values enshrined in the US, unlike in the UK farming industry.

“We have a huge difference of opinion with the US,” said the NFU President on the BBC’s Today programme. “We need answers from the Prime Minister that we won’t be sacrificed in a future trade deal.”

Her comments come after a People’s Vote campaign report last week revealed that half of farms are at risk of going bust in the event of a disastrous No Deal.

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

"After I had picked my biscuit up off the floor, I said 'Mum, Leave is Boris Johnson. Leave is Rees-Mogg. Leave is Michael Gove and David Davis'. She nodded and said she had changed her mind."

Former England and Everton footballer Peter Reid describes his reaction when his mother told him she had voted Leave as he called for a People's Vote.

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More Brexit news...

No Deal threatens fuel industry (BBC News)

UK officials to withdraw from EU meetings on September 1 (Politico)

Fresh bid to avoid No Deal disruption as firms get auto-enrolled in customs system (PoliticsHome)

England star Peter Reid on why he backs a People's Vote (Manchester Evening News)

Johnson visit will not change German stance, says Merkel ally (Guardian)

Trade deal with Trump's US after No Deal could kill off NHS (Mirror)

More Brexit comment...

Daniel Finkelstein: Juggling Brexit and an election is reckless (The Times)

Michael H Fuchs: Trump's UK trade promises are hot air - his aim is Brexit chaos (Guardian)

Ed Davey: Patel's abrupt ending of freedom of movement would not only be morally wrong - it would cripple our NHS (Independent)