Morning Briefing: No one voted for Brexit limbo - Dyson sucks up to Singapore - battling Big Tech
Reports from yesterday’s Cabinet meeting expose Theresa May’s preferred Brexit as a very miserable beast indeed.
The most striking admission in leaked papers, seen by The Times, was the prospect of a “long-running” multi-year transition period on a “rolling” basis with an “annual decision point” where any transition extension is reviewed. This is quite different from the few months of transition May has previously promised, and could see years of the UK following EU rules without a say on them and likely paying billions for the privilege. Even more worryingly, Michael Gove and other Brexiters have repeatedly made clear their intention to tear up any such deal as soon as we’re out.
While Number 10 “does not believe” any extension of the transition period “will be necessary”, examples from previous negotiations elsewhere suggest the kind of ambitious future relationship May wants will require a long and complicated process.
There is also no guarantee of a deal ever being reached after we’ve left the EU. The prime minister insists the UK cannot be “indefinitely locked” in a backstop arrangement with the EU. She was also under pressure yesterday from at least half a dozen ministers, including Jeremy Hunt and Liz Truss, to find a unilateral mechanism to escape the backstop - meaning we could pitch out of transition negotiations and into a no-deal scenario at any point. That pressure will no doubt be intensified during a planned meeting with her backbench MPs at the 1922 Committee today.
This means the grim possibility of crashing out with no deal would hang over us for years. The consequences of this for businesses and ordinary citizens are being reported widely today: stockpiling drugs; scrabbling to find routes other than Dover for bringing goods into the country; security risks at the border. No wonder investment has dried up and the firms that are able to do so have been looking to relocate elsewhere.
May has been trying to convince MPs and voters that Brexit is a straight choice between her deal or no deal. The choice she actually seems to be offering is either no deal now, or years of continued uncertainty with the possibility of no deal at the end of it.
There is, of course, a third option. If the public don’t like these choices they should be allowed to say so in a People’s Vote. That’s why it’s imperative that MPs vote down May’s miserable deal and give the final say on Brexit back to the public.
Whether it’s May’s bad deal or an immediate no-deal Brexit, it’s clear the UK is headed for a miserable disorderly departure from the EU that no one voted for. An extended period of limbo half-in and half-out of the EU will satisfy no one, including businesses who desperately need to plan ahead - or anyone worried such a blindfold Brexit would be just cover for Brexiters to push a harder Brexit through in future.
Video of the day
WATCH: 700,000 of us marched on Parliament on October 20 and now our message is being heard in the Commons. Help build cross party support by getting in touch with your MP so that they know how you feel by writing to them HERE.
Dyson sucks up to Singapore
James Dyson, Brexit-backing hot air magnate, has decided to produce his new electric vehicles in Singapore. His company insists Singapore has been a long-favoured option due to its proximity to major markets, rejecting cheap labour as a motivation, reports the FT.
It has long seemed easier for Dyson to support Brexit since his other Asia-based manufactures were already facing trade restrictions to enter the EU - unlike other, UK-based, job creators who are deeply integrated into EU supply chains. But here’s an interesting point: did the EU’s recent trade deal with Singapore sway Dyson’s choice? There’s now a chance that Dyson’s Singaporean products will actually have better access to the EU’s 440 million consumers than UK firms after the Brexit dust settles.
Tweet of the day
Standing up to Big Tech
Multinational tech giants including Facebook, Amazon and Uber have warned Philip Hammond that they will pull post-Brexit investment from the UK if he goes ahead with a tax on digital sales in next week’s budget, reports The Times. The story is in stark contrast to other reports that Emmanuel Macron will be ramping up his crusade against Big Tech’s tax practices and market dominance ahead of the EU parliamentary elections in six months time. It’s an example of how, as a mid-sized economy, the UK can be pushed around by these international titans. But as the largest collective economy on the planet, EU member states can stand up to unfairness in the system. In short, EU membership is good for UK consumers, global clout and our government’s coffers.
Graphic of the Day
More Brexit news…
Bercow’s job in doubt after resignations (Telegraph)
George Eaton: How Brexiteers are trying to escape the cost of Brexit (New Statesman)
Luke Lythgoe: May’s dismissal of People’s Vote looks desperate and patronising (InFacts)
Today, Wednesday 24th October
|-||1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs|
|09.30||ONS: Trade figures published|
|10.15||Leader of the Lords and Leader of Commons to give evidence to Lords’ Constitution Committee on Brexit Process|
|12.00||Prime Ministers Questions|
|14.15||Treasury permanent secretary to give evidence to Treasury committee|
|14.30||Dept for Transport permanent secretary to give evidence to Commons transport committee on Brexit|
Dominic Grieve to give evidence to Commons procedure committee on motions in EU (withdrawal) Act
Tomorrow, Thursday 25th October
|-||Inner 'Brexit Cabinet' meeting|
|09.30||ONS: GDP estimates|