Wednesday 26 September 2018 - People's Vote

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Morning Briefing: Labour approves Brexit motion - Theresa May, tax slasher - Next's no-deal nightmare

Last night Labour delegates approved a motion at party conference that would keep all options, including a People’s Vote with the chance to stay in the EU, on the table after the Brexit talks. The move has proven hugely popular with Labour members, passed by a show of hands with only a small number against. Earlier in the day, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer received a standing ovation for his speech insisting that “no one is ruling out Remain” in a public vote.

It’s obviously a big step forward for the People’s Vote campaign. But it can also be a huge boost for Labour, if fully embraced. It offers the party a clear, strong and popular message on the Brexit mess Theresa May’s government has landed us in. It would help protect jobs in Labour’s heartlands from race-to-the-bottom Tory Brextremists. And it’s extremely popular with the young people at the core of Jeremy Corbyn’s support.

Polling has shown that 86% of Labour members want a People’s Vote, and that backing the policy could deliver Labour 1.5 million extra voters, and a potential 60 extra seats, in a new general election. That’s the difference between opposition and power.


There is, however, still plenty of work to be done to ensure the Labour leadership embrace a People's Vote as the best way out of the mess. In an interview with the BBC yesterday Corbyn insisted the outcome of May’s deal being overturned in Parliament was returning to the EU negotiating table to secure a Brexit that “protects jobs and living standards”. When pressed on a public vote, he was more enigmatic: "We haven't said there's going to be anything yet.” He would not reveal how he might vote in such scenario, writing it off as a “hypothetical question”.

So there’s still much to do ahead if Labour is to lend its full-hearted support to a People’s Vote. Any new shift will probably require a further breakdown between May and the EU. But Labour is now on track, and that is thanks to the tireless work of many activists desperate to see their party protect the country from a ruinous Brexit and, in doing so, take the fight to the government.


Tweet of the day

Reaction from For our Future's Sake to Labour conference passing its motion on a People's Vote. A real win for young people.


Quote of the day 

“If a general election is not possible then other options must be kept open. That includes campaigning for a public vote.

“It is right for Parliament to have the first say but if we need to break the impasse, Labour campaigning for a public vote must be an option.

“And no-one is ruling out remain as an option.”

Keir Starmer before receiving a standing ovation for his speech at Labour party conference

Video of the day

WATCH: Here's the video of Starmer's standing ovation.


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May’s tax plans could alarm EU

Theresa May will today announce in New York that she wants the UK to have “the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20” after Brexit, making it “one of the most business-friendly economies in the world”, reports the Telegraph.

Her comments could set alarm bells ringing for her EU negotiating partners, who are worried about the UK turning itself into some kind of giant, deregulated Singapore-style economy after Brexit. Feeding these fears will make a Brexit deal less likely, inviting chaos for UK businesses.

The uncertainty looks set to continue, with May clinging to her dead Chequers deal - which France’s finance minister said yesterday would mean “the end of Europe”. The prime minister has resurrected her “no deal is better than a bad deal” motto, using it to reject hard-Brexiters’ Canada-style alternative proposal - unworkable because it doesn’t solve the Irish border. But let’s be clear: no deal is the worst deal, and the UK public must have the chance to reject it.

Video of the day 2

Sometimes you just don’t get what you expect.  If Brexit isn’t turning out the way you wanted it to there's nothing wrong with thinking again.

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Supply chain chaos

There were new warnings from business leaders today, as a survey of 1,300 supply chain managers revealed that customs delays of just 30 minutes after Brexit could send one in 10 firms bankrupt. Bosses are worried this is becoming a real possibility, especially if we crash out of the EU with no deal.

Even the chief exec of Next, Simon Wolfson, called on ministers to give urgent clarity for businesses. He said severe border disruption in March would be the biggest Brexit risk facing his high street chain. And Wolfson actually backed Leave, giving £100,000 to the Vote Leave campaign before the 2016 referendum.

Graphic of the day

Javid feeling insecure

Home secretary Sajid Javid has said he wants a more “ambitious” plan for UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit, in an interview with Politico’s Playbook. He talks about being happy to “abide by the rules” of EU initiatives such as Europol or the European Arrest Warrant. It begs the question: if he wants these things so badly, and is willing to follow the EU’s rules, surely the most effective solution would be to stay in?

More Brexit news…

Next establishes Irish subsidiary as part of no-deal Brexit plan (RTE)

Ex-CBI boss warns on Brexit ‘constitutional and economic crisis’ (FT £)

Brexit transition period too short unless deal on table soon, says Merkel (Guardian)

Trump’s trade demands add to May’s Brexit woes (Politico)

Top Brexit comment

Zoe Williams: Labour backing a second referendum shows democracy is working beautifully (Guardian)

Jeremy Warner: It's becoming ever clearer; the Tories are incapable of delivering Brexit (Telegraph £)

Robert Shrimsley: John McDonnell’s vision highlights Labour’s Brexit cynicism (FT £)

Looking forward...

Today, Wednesday 26th September

- Parliament in recess for conference season
12:15 Labour Party Annual Conference: Jeremy Corbyn's speech
13:30 Theresa May speech to Bloomberg business forum
19:30 Theresa May speech to UN General Assembly
20:30 Theresa May meets Donald Trump

Tomorrow, Thursday 27th September

-    Parliament in recess for conference season