Wednesday 28 November 2018 - People's Vote

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Morning Briefing: Hammond: staying in EU 'better for economy' - Mail 'bombshell' poll backs People's - small town revival

Staying in the EU would be "a better outcome for the economy", the chancellor admitted today ahead of the government's publication of economic analysis on several Brexit scenarios. He tried to play this awkward fact down by insisting May's deal was "very close" to the economic benefits of being in the EU. But that's stretching the truth. The deal on the table will still see our economy 3.9% smaller by 2030, costing £1,090 per person, according to independent analysis by NIESR.

And for all the government's spin about this being better than a chaotic "no deal" departure from the EU, ministers know they can’t look voters in the eye and say anyone will be better off under this Brexit. Contrary to the prime minister's claims, her deal will do nothing for jobs or the economy. It will make our country poorer, squeeze families’ living standards and deprive public services of the resources they need.

There seems to be another government tactic at play too: when spin won't work, why publish bad news at all? Both its legal advice on May’s withdrawal agreement and the long-awaited immigration white paper now appear to be being held back until after MPs vote on December 11.


The legal advice on the deal, shown to cabinet ministers, was the focus of a unanimous vote to publish it in full, forced through Parliament by Labour last week. But the government is now only prepared to publish a “position statement”. Why? The legal advice shows May’s deal could see us stuck in a customs union permanently with the EU, according to the Telegraph. If that was spelled out, Tory Brexiters would become more mutinous than ever.

Finally, the government’s long-awaited white paper on post-Brexit immigration plans, which was scheduled for next week, is now expected to be delayed until after the vote. This is thought to be a ploy to keep Cabinet calm, with Philip Hammond agitated about the damage to the economy of clamping down on low-skilled EU workers.

Attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of MPs isn’t going to make them more keen to vote for the government’s deal. But worse, such tactics show a contempt for the people of the UK. May is trying to push through a miserable Brexit without even giving us all the facts. Her offer is a million miles from what was promised, is far worse than the deal we’ve already got in the EU and is so vague that it guarantees only that the debate about Brexit will go on forever. If the public and MPs don’t like that, they should demand a People’s Vote with all information on the table and the option to stay in the EU.

Quote of the day

“Parliament was very clear in what it was demanding - and that view was shared by MPs from all sides of the House. The Government didn’t oppose what it knew to be a binding motion.

"If ministers continue to dig in, then Labour will use all the mechanisms available to force this information to be published.”

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer on the government’s refusal to publish full legal analysis of the Brexit deal.

Video of the Day

WATCH: Donald Trump has admitted that a trade deal with the UK won’t be possible under this botched Brexit deal. Another broken promise by Brexiters.

Mail’s ‘bombshell poll’ shows big People’s Vote support

For anyone puzzled by the “exclusive bombshell poll” on the Daily Mail’s front page this morning - claiming to show broad public support for May’s deal - the details of the survey give a different picture. Popular backing for the deal was all based on what was “on the table” and “the best on offer”. But the Survation poll also found that people backed a People’s Vote by 48% to 34%. And that they would rather stay in the EU than have May’s deal by 45% to 37%. The point is that all these options are still on the table. In the likely scenario May’s deal is defeated, MPs must push for what the people now want - and that is clearly a People’s Vote.

Tweet of the Day

OFOC launched a parliamentary takeover yesterday, with young constituents from all over the country coming to  Westminster to lobby their MPs for a People’s Vote. Tell your MP that you want a People’s Vote HERE.

Smaller towns can’t keep getting left behind

The UK’s smaller towns have missed out on a huge surge in foreign direct investment over the last 20 years, figures from EY reported in the FT show. While there has been a drop in projects in smaller towns, large cities have grown by 167%. These so-called “left behind” towns were one of the causes of the anger at the heart of the Brexit vote two years ago. If we want to address this national division by investing in medium-sized communities, that’s going to be harder under any of the Brexit scenarios. All forms of Brexit will hit the economy and mean less money to spend on new projects. Now that’s clear, the public should get a People’s Vote on the kind of future they really want for their country.

More Brexit news…

Brussels buoyed by built-in advantage in future Brexit talks (FT £)

Report reveals Foreign Office shortage of trained Brexit trade negotiators (Guardian)

Donald Trump offered Theresa May trade deal four months ago, but she rejected him, former minister claims (Telegraph)

Corbyn wants Brexit TV debate with May before I'm a Celebrity finale (Guardian)

Britons rush for EU passports as departure date draws closer (Times £)

Top Brexit comment

Michael Fallon: It's time to admit we made mistakes in the Cabinet, and this deal simply isn't good enough (Telegraph)

Peter Mandelson: Yes, Donald Trump is talking perfect sense on May’s Brexit deal (Guardian)

Looking forward…

Today, Wednesday 28th November

- Theresa May in Scotland to sell Brexit deal
09.30 Michael Gove evidence to EFRA committee on Brexit
12.00 Prime Minister's Questions

Tomorrow, Thursday 29th November

09.30 ONS: Migration stats
09.00 Theresa May gives evidence to the liaison committee