Wednesday 5 September 2018 - People's Vote

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Morning briefing: 'Highest level of support' - Carney and King - desperately defending Chequers

If there was a People’s Vote, the public would vote by 54% to 46% to stay in the EU according to new analysis by NatCen, a leading research institute, trailed on Bloomberg. NatCen said this was "by far and away the highest level of support" for staying in the EU that it had recorded.

The NatCen study, led by the pollster John Curtice, is based on research in June before Theresa May’s disastrous Chequers proposal - since when public opinion has shifted further against Brexit, according to other surveys.

More highlights from the NatCen report, which is being launched this morning, are trailed in the Evening Standard:

  • 49% of those who didn’t vote in 2016 would vote against Brexit now, while only 23% would vote to leave if there was a People’s Vote.
  • Only 17% of voters expect May to secure a good deal, down from 33% last February.
  • Only 13% think the government has handled the talks well, while 64% think it has handled them badly.


NatCen’s research comes as pressure mounts on Labour to demand the people get a say on Brexit. The GMB union backed a new public vote after consulting its 620,000 members. Its general secretary Tim Roache said “false promises” had been made in the referendum and it was time to “let the people decide”.

Meanwhile, Andy Burnham is calling for a new vote if the alternative is to crash out of the EU with no deal at all - although he doesn’t want a People’s Vote in other circumstances. The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester’s partial endorsement is significant because he has hitherto been one of the party’s most vocal critics of a People’s Vote.


Quote of the day

“In trade union terms if we negotiate a pay deal for our members we put that deal back to the members and they decide whether that's acceptable or not.

“We have no faith given what's happened in the last few months in this government delivering a Brexit deal that works for working people.

“If the government are comfortable with that, well let's let the people decide then.”

GMB general secretary Tim Roache

Tweet of the day

Tim Roache's announcement today that the GMB's supports a public decision on the final Brexit deal has pleased many of its members. The Labour leadership should take note.


Bank governors past and present only see bad Brexit

Mark Carney is willing to stay as governor of the Bank of England past the end of his tenure next June, he confirmed yesterday. Why this extension, to which Number 10 has signalled its support? Because the turmoil after Brexit could be huge and government wants a steady hand on the economy’s tiller. Yesterday Bank officials told MPs that the chances of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit had risen, and that there could be a squeeze on households’ incomes for “a few years” plus a fall in the pound and a hike in interest rates.

Accusations of anti-Brexit bias have been repeatedly levelled at Carney by Brexiters. However his predecessor, Mervyn King, backed Brexit - but is equally gloomy about its current prospects. In a damning intervention, King slammed the “incompetence” of preparations for a no-deal scenario. He added that the government lacked a “credible bargaining position” or “any clear strategy”. With supposed allies like King, who needs enemies?


Desperate defence of Chequers

The government’s defence of its dead-in-the-water Chequers proposal is increasingly desperate. Dominic Raab told MPs yesterday that May’s flagship Brexit policy was receiving “positive and constructive feedback” in Brussels despite the EU’s chief negotiator recently calling it an “invitation to fraud”. Meanwhile, May is trying to convince her own ministers that all is well, by handing them a document quoting EU leaders’ lukewarm support, according to The Times. This included Angela Merkel saying “it’s a good thing that we have proposals on the table” and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar stating that Chequers could “input into the talks of the future relationship”.

May’s only comfort is that hard-Brexit foes like Boris Johnson don’t have a plan either. As I wrote for InFacts yesterday, they have three viable paths - but all are dreadful. With Chequers dead and no good alternative from the extremists, the only sensible option is to ask the people what they want.

Video of the day

WATCH: What do Conservative Brextremists, pro-European Conservatives and Labour MPs all have in common? Almost all of them hate the PM's Brexit plan.


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Spiralling Brexit immigration costs for NHS

The cost of hiring talented healthcare professionals from abroad could more than triple to £490 million a year if free movement doesn’t continue post-Brexit, the Royal College of Physicians has calculated.  That’s if they can get the staff at all, with figures showing the numbers of EU-born nurses leaving the NHS have shot up since the Brexit vote while those applying have dramatically reduced. No wonder so many who work in the NHS are now demanding a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

Do you work for the NHS or know someone who does? Sign our letter here, to warn the government that Brexit is bad for the UK's health.

Video of the day 2

Here's this week's FFS Awards, celebrating the dafter episodes of this Brexit mess - courtesy of For our Future's Sake. 


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More Brexit news…

Premier League wants Brexit exemption amid fears next N'Golo Kante would be denied work permit (Telegraph)

Angela Merkel admits collapse of Brexit talks cannot be ruled out (Guardian)

Northern UK ports prepare for freight boost after Brexit (FT £)

Brexit: sympathy without support from Europe's right (BBC)

Why Brexit is Jeremy Corbyn’s best hope (Politico)

Top Brexit comment

Luciana Berger: Women know they’ll suffer most from Brexit. So they’re going to fight it (New Statesman)

Max Hastings: Brexit will not help us curb immigration (Times £)

Dana Polatin-Reuben: Brexit will trash UK’s world-leading data sector (InFacts)

Looking forward...

Today, Wednesday 5th September

09:30 ONS: Overseas travel and tourism Jan-March 2018 published 
10:40 Former top civil servants Martin Donelly and Simon Fraser give evidence to Lords international relations committee 
12:00 Prime Minister's Questions
14:30 Dominic Raab and Olly Robbins give evidence to EU scrutiny committee 
14:30 HMRC boss Jon Thompson gives evidence to Public Accounts committee
14:45 Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan gives evidence on "Global Britain"
15:30 MEP Claude Moraes gives evidence to Lords EU Home Affairs sub-committee

Tomorrow, Thursday 6th September

- Backbench debate on Brexit, science and innovation