Morning Briefing: Business bashes May's second-rate deal
Business leaders past, present and future - from former City grandees to apprentices beginning their careers - have been speaking out against Theresa May’s dodgy Brexit deal. The prime minister’s plan risks gutting key sectors, particularly our services industries which account for 80% of the economy. It will be bad for jobs and drag out business uncertainty for years to come.
In a letter to the FT, close to thirty City of London figures have condemned the “second-rate regime” May is promising for the financial services sector. That matters to everyone, the letter explains, because financial services “provided £72 billion in tax in the last financial year, 11% of total government receipts”.
The “equivalence” arrangement being offered is “not equivalent to the passporting arrangement we now enjoy” in the EU, the business leaders write. “What’s more, there’s no guarantee that we will even get this second-rate regime. The government will first have to negotiate a trade deal, which may take many years.” In the meantime, we could be stuck in the bare-bones customs union of the “backstop” arrangement, which does nothing at all for services.
And all the while the EU is “moving full steam” ahead with its Capital Markets Union project which will be a huge boost to financial services. “If the UK was staying a member, our industry would be well placed to win the lion’s share of the new business,” the signatories argue.
At the other end of the career ladder, apprentices are equally frustrated by May’s “shoddy” Brexit deal. “Low-paid (and often young) learners will be hit the hardest, for the longest by Brexit,” a letter from the National Society of Apprentices says.
In particular, apprentices are dismayed at the CBI - the body which represents employers - buying May’s my-deal-or-no-deal scare tactics and backing her plan earlier this week. Apprentices urge the CBI to instead “listen to the overwhelming majority opinion of businesses, their workers and apprentices - and back a People’s Vote.”
Quote of the Day
“It is not too late to change course. We believe the final say over whether to take the prime minister’s deal or stay in the EU should be given to the public in a People’s Vote.”
Business leaders speak out against May’s deal and in support of a People’s Vote
Video of the Day
WATCH: Jo Johnson’s speech in Parliament last night on Amendment 14, forcing the government to publish analysis comparing its dodgy deal to our current deal in the EU. MPs and the public must make an informed decision.
As she heads to Brussels to discuss the EU-UK future relationship with Jean Claude-Juncker today, Theresa May will be relieved to have weathered the Tory Brextremist revolt over her Brexit deal. Jacob Rees-Mogg and his “motley crew” (that’s the Express’s description) are now seriously on the backfoot, being portrayed as the cast of Dad’s Army across today’s front pages.
But May isn’t out of the woods. Her real problem is now with the DUP, who have been firing warning shots in Parliament by abstaining or voting against the government it agreed to support. The big test will be the parliamentary vote on May’s Brexit deal, if she gets it signed off by the EU at a summit this Sunday. The government will be hoping the DUP at least abstain, rather than actively voting against the deal. But that looks increasingly unlikely, with DUP Brexit lead Sammy Wilson telling the FT his party would “of course” oppose the draft treaty.
May’s deal damned by Lords
And the DUP isn’t May’s only parliamentary hurdle. Hostility to her deal is rife. This was clear during a fiery Commons debate last week, and repeated again yesterday in the House of Lords. The marathon five-hour Lords debate was damning of the PM’s position on Brexit. Only eight out of 60 speakers backed her proposal, with many Conservative pro-Brexit peers speaking out against it. All three DUP peers also went in hard on May’s Brexit “betrayal”, watched from the sidelines by some of their Commons colleagues. May’s deal looks set to be trashed. But where next? The best solution - as many parliamentarians have now pointed out - is to hand the decision back to the public in a People’s Vote.
Video of the Day 2
WATCH: Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru leader in Westminster, on Sky News explaining how the Government’s dodgy deal is “little better” than having a “no deal” Brexit. It’s not what the people voted for. A People’s Vote is the best way out of this problem. Write to you MP HERE and tell them you're not buying it.
182 EU rules we won’t get a say on
One of the main reasons May’s deal is so hated is that it turns us into a rule-taker on a massive scale, following what the EU decides without a say at the top table. New research by the People’s Vote campaign has detailed 182 rules that will be decided with no UK input during the 21-month Brexit transition period. These range from how taxpayers money is spent in the next EU budget to new regulations on road signs and drinking water. And the rule-taking is likely to continue, if the transition period is extended or we end up triggering the “backstop” mechanism. Even a new trade deal with the EU is likely to see us agreeing to follow “level playing field” rules devised in Brussels.
Patriotic pro-Europeans have little problem with EU regulations now - the UK has, after all, been instrumental in creating them over the last 40+ years. But most will be as outraged as any Brexiter that May’s deal would see rules handed down to us without any influence over them.
Tweet of the Day
Norway still a blind alley
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, was in London yesterday talking to other opposition leaders including Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable about what they should do if MPs reject the government’s Brexit deal. She mentioned two options: permanent membership of the single market and customs union; and a People’s Vote.
Permanent membership of the single market and customs union is a political blind alley. The Labour Party is against it because it wants to remove bits of the single market and customs union it doesn’t like - something the EU will never agree. The Lib Dems are against it because they wish to stay in the EU. And the Conservative party committed to pull out of both the single market and customs union in its manifesto. Although some of its MPs are toying with the so-called Norway model, they see this as a temporary arrangement not the permanent one the SNP seeks.
If MPs reject the government’s deal, a People’s Vote will be the main game in town. Scotland’s First Minister and her party can play a huge role in getting it over the line and delivering the best outcome of all for her country.
More Brexit news…
74% of students want another say on Brexit (Yahoo News)
Nick Kent: May could become most powerful convert to People’s Vote (InFacts)
Editorial: Burning injustices fanning Brexit’s flames (Guardian)
Daniel Finkelstein: Brexiteers have left the road without a map (Times £)
Today, Wednesday 21st November
|09.30||ONS: Public sector finances|
|-||Theresa May to meet Jean-Claude Juncker|
|12.00||Prime Ministers Questions|
|13.30||Home Affairs committee evidence on hate crime and violence|
Defence committee evidence on European Defence Industrial development program
Tomorrow, Thursday 22nd November
|-||Theresa May to meet Northern Irish business leaders|