Wednesday 26 June 2019 - People's Vote

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Morning Briefing: The madness of a "do or die" destructive No Deal

Even shadow chancellor John McDonnell was stunned yesterday by Jeremy Corbyn's failure to reach a decision over Labour's Brexit policy following a meeting of the shadow cabinet. Meanwhile, Tory candidate Boris Johnson has pledged to leave the EU with "do or die" rhetoric. The stakes could not be higher. Never has it been more important to Let Us Be Heard.

"Do or die" pledge from Johnson but only 28% want a destructive No Deal

The frontrunner to be the next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson emerged from hiding yesterday to pledge to leave the EU by Halloween “do or die”.

It’s not the most auspicious phrase given that it was coined to describe the charge of the Light Brigade into the Valley of Death but no doubt it works with some of the 160,000 Conservative members who will pick their new leader.

His sole opponent, Jeremy Hunt, called October 31 a “fake deadline”, but both continue to peddle the option of a destructive No Deal if they can’t browbeat Brussels into re-writing the Withdrawal Agreement.

A YouGov poll in the Times showed that only 28% of people questioned want a No Deal departure and five times as many people think they will be worse off after Brexit as think they will be better off.

Both Hunt and Johnson  are now claiming that new border technology could make the difference to the Irish backstop issue, despite this being rejected out of hand by European leaders and the Home Office saying such technology won’t be ready until 2030 at the earliest.

Johnson continues to peddle his widely-ridiculed view that the UK could avoid EU tariffs in a No Deal scenario with international trade secretary Liam Fox joining the chorus of criticism.

Johnson did a few media sessions, including one where he talked about making model buses (presumably plastered with lies about extra money for the NHS), but he still refused to face Mr Hunt at a Sky TV debate. 

Former Civil Service head Lord Kerslake was scathing in a speech last night: “Boris has placed at the very centre of his campaign the commitment that we will leave the EU on 31 October, deal or no deal. This a complete hostage to fortune. At the same time parliament has been clear, rightly in my view, that it will not countenance leaving the EU without a deal. It is always a good maxim in politics not to enter a room unless you know that you can get out of it … Boris Johnson has not only entered the room but he has put on the straitjacket, padlocked the door and started the tap running.”

With his campaign wavering, Johnson has brought in former leader and fellow arch-Brexiter Iain Duncan Smith as his new campaign manager.

“Ours not to reason why,
Ours but to do or die,
Into the Valley of Death 
“Rode the 600...” as Tennyson might have described the scene.

The Corbyn supporters who "don't give a toss" for Britain's interests

And still there is no shift in Labour’s policy on backing a People’s Vote. “Like a slow moving car crash” is how Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell described the tortuous inability to move forward at a fractious Shadow Cabinet meeting yesterday.

He had been talking cheerfully the day before about “white smoke” emerging and a proper decision being made, so was bemused by the way Jeremy Corbyn decided to delay it for a fortnight while he talked to more trade unions.

Unite and the CWU are still refusing to back a People’s Vote although other unions support it.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told Mr Corbyn a decision needed to be taken immediately and that this was about leadership. She was supported by deputy leader Tom Watson and Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, while Shadow Home secretary Diane Abbott told him how much discontent there was out in the party.

The delay and continual prevarication is becoming increasingly damaging to the Labour Party with a need to get off the fence and provide fully-throated backing for a People’s Vote.

Dame Margarett Beckett accused a group in the leader’s office who she said are “completely opposed” and want to get out of the EU “no matter what”. She said they “don’t give a toss” for what is in Britain’s interests and are prepared to over-ride the views of party members.

Shock as it emerges that disabled people forgotten over Brexit

Fears are growing for how disabled people will fare after Brexit when it was revealed that there has been no formal impact assessment by the Department for Health and Social Care.

Labour MP Jo Stevens discovered the blunder in a response to a written question and was “astonished”, saying it showed how “unprepared the Tory government is for leaving the EU without a deal, and how reckless the Tory leadership candidates have been in advocating one.”

People with disabilities could be affected by disruption to the medicines supply chain and any staff shortages as a result of a destructive No Deal.

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Disability Dr Lisa Cameron also weighed in, saying: “It is further evidence that people with disabilities have been excluded by Government in the planning for Brexit."

As we continually say, it is time to Let Us Be Heard to stop this Brexit madness.

Join us in Cheltenham and Let Us Be Heard

The People's Vote roadshow moves to the West Country on Saturday with a massive rally in the Town Hall in Cheltenham. Join us and an array of stars and politicians to protest against a destructive No Deal. It is time to Let Us Be Heard.

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

"This is the biggest decision facing our country for a generation and Labour voters, Labour members and Labour MP’s expect our party to have a clear policy that reflects our values. Instead, we have to listen to muddle, confusion and the sound of the can being kicked listlessly down a never-ending road.

"The longer this dithering goes on, the more damage will be done to our party."

Labour MP and People's Vote supporter Phil Wilson attacks the delays by the Shadow Cabinet in providing full-throated support for a People's Vote.

Video of the Day 1 

Young entrepreneur Josh Babarinde calls for a People's Vote.

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Video of the Day 2

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Tweet of the Day

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People's Vote campaign news

More Brexit news

McDonnell hits out at Labour's "slow car crash" (PoliticsHome)

Johnson pledges to leave EU: "do or die" (Times £)

Johnson as PM could be "opportunity for disaster", says Kerslake (Independent)

Ministers accused of ignoring disabled people over Brexit (PoliticsHome)

The race to be Boris Johnson's No. 2 (Politico)

Has Boris Johnson only got one pair of socks? (Mail)

Top Brexit comment...

Peter Hain: Johnson doesn't care about Northern Ireland (Independent)

Kira Lewis: Labour members want a People's Vote - what is Jeremy Corbyn waiting for? (HuffPost)

Are the wheels coming off Johnson's bus? (Guardian)

Gordon Brown: Brexit threatens the Union (BBC)