Wednesday 3 July 2019 - People's Vote

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Morning Briefing: Destructive No Deal could cost £90 billion a year

In three weeks' time, on July 23, the new Conservative leader and probable Prime Minister will finally be announced after 0.25% of the population - the 160,000 party members - have voted. For the rest of us, who are being told we will have no further say over Brexit, that's three more weeks listening to yet more "unicorn" Brexit proposals and dangerous No Deal rhetoric. Proposed changes at the top of the European institutions, announced last night, will make little difference to the prospect of delivering on these promises. The real choice facing MPs is between a destructive No Deal, a reckless hard Brexit or a People's Vote.

It is going to be a long, hot summer and the People's Vote campaign is giving voice to millions at 15 Let Us Be Heard rallies in towns and cities across the UK before we come together for another historic march in London on October 12. Make your voice heard in Sunderland on Sunday.

No Deal could cost £90 billion a year - but Chancellor Hammond is not going quietly

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, may well lose his job when either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt becomes Prime Minister at the end of this leadership election.

If so, he is not going quietly – and is becoming a powerful enemy of the architects behind a destructive Brexit. Yesterday, he revealed No Deal would blow a staggering £90 billion hole in the UK’s public finances over the next 15 years which makes all those claims from Johnson about £350 million extra a week for the NHS look ever more dishonest. 

Hammond also dropped a heavy hint that he would potentially line up with Opposition parties to block No Deal, saying he had been consistently clear that such a departure from the EU would be “bad for the UK, bad for the British economy, bad for the British people”. He suggested that it would be down to the House of Commons to block it and he was ready to be counted.

With Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Trade Secretary Rory Stewart also heading to the backbenches, there is a seriously heavyweight look to opponents of No Deal as Johnson and Hammond continue to vie against each other for who can come up with the more masochistic form of Brexit.

The two contenders were in Northern Ireland yesterday at hustings for the 500 Conservative members there. Northern Ireland voted 56% Remain at the 2016 referendum. They continued talking up about various “unicorn” deals such as using non-existent technology to get past the backstop issue over the Irish border.

Later, they were asked about which character they would be in Game of Thrones or Star Wars on the grounds that both were filmed in Northern Ireland. They weren’t asked if their idea of using magic technology to create an invisible border might be more suitable for TV fantasy or science fiction than the grim reality of Brexit.

UK can't even do a Canada-style deal - with Canada

The focus in Westminster will move to trade deals today as it has emerged that we can’t even do a Canada-style deal – with Canada.

Officials are said to be “furious” at the Commonwealth member’s refusal to roll over the current much-lauded EU deal with the UK due to concerns over a potential No Deal.

International trade secretary Liam Fox promised in 2017 that up to 40 EU trade deals would be replicated by March 2019, but by last month only 11 had been signed, including Switzerland, Israel and the Faroe Islands.

Today the House of Commons International Trade Committee, who are deeply concerned at the lack of progress, will quiz Dr Fox on the situation.

Canada not only accounts for 1.6% of UK’s exports, but has been symbolic for the likes of Boris Johnson, who have hailed the EU's free trade deal with the country as an ideal for us to follow.

Once again, No Deal rhetoric fails at any scrutiny: it is time to Let Us Be Heard.

No change in changing of the guard in the EU

If a new UK prime minister is hoping to get an easier ride from the changing of the guard in the EU, it seems unlikely to happen.

The newly-nominated EU commission president is German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen who is likely to replace Jean-Claude Juncker – and holds a consistently realistic and negative view of Brexit. A “burst bubble of hollow promises… inflated by populists” is a pretty good assessment of where we are, whoever says it.

The German politician, who studied at the London School of Economics, has her position yet to be confirmed. She said last year: “They had promised that Britain would benefit from Brexit. The fact is today that Brexit is a loss for everyone.”

She sees No Deal as “the worst possible start” and has backed the EU position on the Irish backstop. Outgoing European council president Donald Tusk said: “I am absolutely sure that the new leaders of our institutions will be as consistent as we are today when it comes to the withdrawal agreement and our readiness to discuss our future relationship with the UK”.

Boris Johnson has kept saying in recent weeks that the EU would roll over if and when he goes back to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement. Once again, it seems he may be wrong.

Let Us Be Heard in Sunderland on Sunday

Sunday is the day when People's Vote campaigners in the North East get the chance to Let Us Be Heard at the Beacon of Light. Former Sunderland manager and England star Peter Reid urged people to come along to our Sunderland event to Let Us Be Heard. Local MP Bridget Phillipson and People's Vote campaigner David Lammy MP will be there. You can get your tickets here.

For a great report on our event in Cheltenham last weekend, see this from Gloucestershire Live: 5 things we learned from the Let Us Be Heard rally in Cheltenham.


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

“It is an outrage against democracy that the 500 members of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland have a bigger say than the other 1.9 million people who live there. The only solution is to hand this decision back to the public in a People’s Vote on any form of Brexit.”

People's Vote campaigner Ian Murray MP questions the "unicorn' fantasies of Conservative contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt over the Irish border.

Video of the Day 

Our Future Our Choice's Femi Oluwole gives his views on the Conservative hustings in Northern Ireland.

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People's Vote campaign news

More Brexit news

Canada is refusing to roll over its EU deal with UK due to No Deal uncertainty (Buzzfeed)

UK seeks training for civil servants in post-Brexit diplomacy (Politico)

EU warns Johnson and Hunt not to expect Brexit shift after choosing first woman president (Politics Home)

Vague solutions to Irish backstop offered at NI hustings (Sky News)

Dominic Grieve vows to keep fighting to stop No Deal (Politics Home)

5 things we learned at the Let Us Be Heard rally in Cheltenham (Gloucestershire Live)

Hunt admits No Deal could be as damaging as 2008 financial crisis - but will still do it (Independent)

Top Brexit comment...

Patrick Maguire: The Tories have drawn the wrong conclusions from the European elections (New Statesman)