Morning Briefing: Birmingham raises the roof in call for People's Vote
We had a packed-out crowd last night in Birmingham for a raucous Let Us Be Heard rally as People’s Vote supporters demonstrated that the temperature is rising in the battle to stop a destructive No Deal.
Former deputy minister Lord Heseltine received a standing ovation as he told the 1,000-strong crowd: “The simplistic assertions of the new Prime Minister melt in the face of cold logic. There is no majority for no deal. There is no democratic mandate for no deal. There is no way that Boris Johnson can force his extreme Brexit on the British people without our permission.”
Local MP Jess Phillips made it personal “as a Brummie”, saying: "My youngest son Danny will turn 11 years old on the 30th of October this year. I cannot bear the thought that the very next day his future could radically change because some privileged egotists, made prime minister by less than 1% of the country, want to play a game of chicken with our lives.”
The event was the latest in a series of rallies nationwide that are building the clamour for a People’s Vote through to a massive march on Parliament on October 12. Sign up here to Let Us Be Heard.
Government planning for mass slaughter of animals after No Deal
It is impossible to imagine that this was ever the scenario that even the hardest of Brexiters thought might happen: a British government spending half a billion pounds to buy up slaughtered livestock that can no longer be sold to Europe.
If the UK leaves the EU in a No Deal scenario on October 31, farmers are likely to immediately face 40% tariffs and a collapse of sales to the EU which currently imports 92% of British lamb. With no other market to sell it to, Michael Gove is, according to The Times, working up a plan to create a hideous livestock slaughter in order to buy off angry farmers.
This shocking revelation came as Boris Johnson visited Wales and was warned by farmers to stop “playing Russian roulette” with the industry and as farmers' unions warned of the prospect of civil disobedience. Welsh secretary Alun Cairns suggested that British meat could be sold to Japan, which, for many reasons including its geographic distance from the UK, is the destination for just a fraction of our exports compared to the EU.
Yet more vague and unfunded spending promises gushed out of Johnson's high speed but increasingly shaky PR operation yesterday - this time promising billions to be spent on the NHS and social care, according to the FT, which raises the question of where the money will come from, post-Brexit.
New analysis by the Independent of Google search trends suggests a vanishingly low level of public awareness of the possibility of No Deal at the time of the EU referendum in 2016.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said earlier this week that campaigners for a Leave vote had made clear during the referendum that the UK would strive to reach a Brexit deal with the remaining EU, but would leave without one if necessary.
But records of terms entered in the internet search engine show no evidence whatsoever of Britons inquiring about a Brexit deal or a no-deal outcome at the time.
Johnson starts the No Deal blame game
Boris Johnson’s blame game has begun – it will be the EU’s fault if we fall into a destructive No Deal, not his. He made his comments after a brusque telephone call with Irish premier Leo Varadkar who rejected Johnson's extraordinary demand that the Irish backstop - the insurance policy for maintaining a frictionless border - be deleted.
Afterwards Johnson claimed he was not aiming for No Deal, but the situation was “very much up to our friends and partners across the Channel”.
As he urged once again for the UK to prepare for a cliff-edge exit, he said it was “up to the EU, this is their call if they want us to do this.”
As he prepares to meet all five political parties in Northern Ireland today, the question of Irish reunification could move further up the political agenda if the UK leaves the EU with No Deal as former Irish ambassador to the UK Bobby McDonagh warned on Newsnight last night - and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told the BBC's Today programme this morning.
Pressed on whether his party's support for Johnson's destructive drive for No Deal was actually likely to destroy the union, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was left telling the Today programme he didn't think there was a shift in opinion towards Irish unity. However, it is plain that many former unionists are at least now considering it as an option - the very last thing the DUP must want.
US congressman Richard Neal this morning warned Johnson that a transatlantic trade deal will not happen if the Good Friday Agreement is threatened, saying: "This is not a return to empire."
A blame game before the event is utterly pointless: the only solution to this political psychodrama is clearly a People’s Vote.
"Precipitous" decline in motoring industry investment due to No Deal fears
Investment in the UK motoring industry has suffered a "precipitous" decline with investment dropping from £370m last year to just £90m in the first six months of 2019. The Society for Motoring Manufacturers and Traders described No Deal as an "existential threat" to the previously-thriving sector.
Production fell by a fifth, while spending on No Deal stockpiling was a minimum of £330m. Chief executive Mike Hawes said this morning: "The fear of no-deal is causing investors to hold back and wait and see what's going to happen."
Chip in to combat Government No Deal propaganda
People's Vote campaigner Lord Heseltine yesterday called for People's Vote campaigners to fight back over the Government's plans to spend £100 million on No Deal propaganda. He urged supporters to chip in to help us battle against the state-funded propaganda machine. We're hugely grateful to everyone who has chipped in. If you haven't, but would like to, please click the button below.
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 isn’t just a temporary inconvenience for holiday makers, it is a sign that Boris Johnson’s Brexit is already making Britain poorer.
"Imposing his Brexit on the people without our consent is not only profoundly undemocratic, it is guaranteeing lower living standards and shrunken opportunities for a generation.”
People's Vote campaigner Paul Williams MP comments on the news that British holidaymakers have £77 less to spend when travelling abroad, thanks to the pound crashing on fears of a destructive No Deal.
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