That is the power that this bill currently gives her. For all her talk about parliamentary sovereignty, this bill is designed to by-pass Parliament. It’s a monstrosity that represents the single largest power grab by a government in modern political history.
We believe that we live in a Parliamentary Democracy and such decisions must be taken by parliament – not Mrs May.
The good news is that this bill has NOT YET been passed. It is at the Committee stage where the bill can be amended to make it reasonable. Approximately 150 amendments have been tabled that address the issues that you will be concerned about – including a very important one by Conservative and former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. It stipulates that there must be an Act of Parliament to approve the terms of the UK’s exit before we can leave the EU.
Parliament returns in the second week of October and we are organising people to lobby their MPs to support these amendments so that the Government stays accountable, and Parliament has to approve any exit deal – including leaving without a deal.
That’s what Represent Us is now campaigning for.
Much has happened this week; and you may think most of what you have heard has been bad. But this is far from the full picture!
Read on to see how you can help Represent Us fight to keep our EU options open, and maintain Parliamentary control….
In its current form the EU withdrawal bill is indeed a monstrosity that represents the biggest power grab by a government in modern political history. It is a badly worded, open-ended Enabling Act allowing the government to do pretty much whatever it wants to virtually anything that is covered by current European legislation without Parliament’s permission – including altering the Act itself!
It would also allow the government to walk out of talks and then take us out of the European Union with no trade deal and no alternative arrangements in place on a ministerial whim. So it is pretty awful.
But the thing to remember at this point is that it has NOT been passed; and most of Parliament – including a significant number of Conservatives – are fully aware of how awful the bill is and have explicitly said that they will not pass it in its current form.
The vote on Monday was merely the second reading – a stage where Parliament is effectively saying “do we need a law on this subject”? On that question, it is hard to say no if you are planning to leave the European Union; and that is why it was passed at that stage.
The next stage is key because this is where the bill can be amended to make it reasonable. Many – including some very significant Conservatives such as the former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, have put down amendments to address all of the issues that you will be concerned about. This includes stipulating that there must be an Act of Parliament approving the terms of the UK’s exit. They have also said that they will NOT support the bill unless it is amended.
The initial vote on these amendments will probably be in October. In that time we should all be campaigning and lobbying our MPs to support these amendments so that the government stays accountable and Parliament has the final say on any deal or on leaving without a deal.
That’s what we should be doing and it is what Represent Us is now campaigning for. Please join us to help ensure that Parliament retains control and we will send you more details of how best you can help.
We’re delighted to be able to tell you about our new Tactical Voting website!
The site launched last Wednesday just in time to boost tactical voting in the critical final week.
We’ve been working on this with our partners Remain Strategic – the digital communications people who brought you the StopTheSilence campaign. They’ve been helping us with some highly sophisticated targeting!
We hope this will help people make sense of the various tactical voting sites – where possible we have given an overview of what recommendations are out there for each seat.
Please share widely!
And if you’d like to help us reach more people, please contribute to our Crowdfunder!
It was a sad day that many never wanted to see; but the messages from across Europe have been the most positive thing to come from Wednesday’s events. “We already miss you,” said Donald Tusk as he acknowledged that the EU does not want the UK to go and that he knows that nor does half of the UK. He – and plenty others across Europe – made it very clear that the door is open and that we are welcome to change our mind whenever.
Our Prime Minister, of course, seeks to dismiss that out of hand; but perhaps she protests too much. After all, If the Leavers were right and there is a glorious future of milk and honey for all, why would anyone want to? Why would we not unite behind our leader in a brave new chapter? (I think we all know the answer to that!)
So what happens now? More importantly, what should we all be doing?
We do what we were set up to do – make our politicians represent us.
People have been promised much, told that everything is going to be great, so great. Perhaps it will be; but if it isn’t, and if our politicians are taking us down a path that hurts more and more people every day, then they need to be told that. If people change their minds, they need to know that too. And if promises and pledges become dust, then they need to be told that we won’t forget.
Ultimately, politicians will listen; but we have to speak up and be heard. And it can’t be in general terms or in statistics as they are too easily brushed away (“we’ve had enough of experts” after all). So we quote the things that can’t be dismissed: a local factory closes down and moves to Europe; crops can’t be gathered because there’s no workers; hospital cancels operations because staff have gone back to Europe; local projects shelved because EU money pulled: academic collaboration abandoned because we’re no longer part of European schemes: and so on.
Find them all; and then tell your MP (and us).
We need now what only you can provide. Find out what the EU has done for your area and how leaving will hurt. Find out and report it to us; but bring it to local press attention as well if you can. The more everyone can see what Brexit really means, day to day, then the more likely they are to change their mind.
We’re facing an 18 month clash of fantasy meeting reality. Our job – all of us – is make sure MPs represent the ever increasing number of us who are suffering as a result of this. This is the campaign we all need to be a part of; and we hope you’ll join us.
We will be in touch again very soon with more detailed plans, taking into account the very useful feedback we have had from some of you (for which many thanks).
Richard, Charles & Sue
Whilst the vote on 13th March did not go the way we wanted, this was always going to be unlikely given the Government’s determination to ram things through. But we have made an impact and moved the debate; and there are good reasons to believe that we can still achieve our overall aim, which is to ensure that Parliament has to approve the terms before we leave the European Union.
First of all, this issue is now at the very centre of the debate – and our campaign definitely helped put it there. What is more, it is not going to go away. As David Davis admitted, Parliament will find a way of asserting its power over this decision. There may be a successful court case, there may be further opportunities to pass legislation, and there may be procedural or political opportunities we cannot now foresee. We will be active at every point to continue to press the argument.
Secondly, we are well placed to build on what we have already done and create an even more effective campaigning operation – one that is well co-ordinated with other groups campaigning on different aspects of the wider anti-Brexit and anti-hard Brexit cause. We have experience now and the beginnings of a target constituency network that will be really powerful. So now we take stock, learn the lessons and work with others to make a more effective national campaign.
Finally, a small point but one worth bearing in mind. The result in the Commons is actually not as bad as it seems. The Conservative rebels abstained rather than voting against the government – not because they couldn’t make up their minds, but because they knew they didn’t have the numbers to win. Over time we may get those numbers. We now have the right contacts and structure to keep the campaign going until we can win; and all of you will be able to play your part in making that happen.
So to develop and move forward to the next stage, we’d like to hear your ideas of extra things we can do as well as feedback on what we could do better next time. Because there will be a next time. The die-hard Brexiteers out there thought that this referendum would be the end of the debate and kill off any discussion on the merits of the EU and the Single Market. We would say the exact opposite is true. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and the referendum – and the way things have been handled since – have shown us all what could be lost and galvanised us to action.
So sign up for campaign updates and we will take your ideas and comments and work with the others out there to keep the debate alive.
Very best wishes,
Sue, Richard and Charles
Labour would save 25 seats by supporting Parliamentary control of the Brexit process
Two weeks ago the Prime Minister said that Parliament will have a vote on the Brexit terms negotiated by the Government – but that whatever the result, the UK will leave the European Union. The Labour Party has a choice: will it accept this, or press for an amendment to the Bill about to be laid before Parliament to stipulate that the UK will not leave the European Union until Parliament has approved the terms?
Represent Us commissioned ICM to conduct a poll in Labour held constituencies last weekend to test the different impacts on Labour in a 2017 election of these two positions. It found that there are 25 seats that Labour will lose if it accepts the Prime Minister’s position. However, if Labour voted for an amendment such as NC99 that enables Parliament to keep all options open until it knows the deal, it would keep those seats. Similarly, there are 5 seats that it will lose if it votes for such amendment that it would retain if it accepted the Prime Minister’s position. There are also 68 seats that it will lose either way. In vote share terms, Labour achieves 36% of the vote in Labour held constituencies if it accepts the Prime Minister’s position and 41% of the vote if it votes for an amendment. It had just over 50% of the vote in these constituencies at the General Election.
One explanation of these figures is that Labour has already lost the support of many potential UKIP voters. On the other hand the poll suggests c. 18% of its current supporters voted Lib Dem in 2010 and that just over half of them are likely to go back to the Lib Dems if Labour supports the Government. This group exists in the North of England as well as the South.
Please note that these figures are exaggerated – but the relative impact of calling for remaining as an alternative to a bad deal and accepting that we leave whatever the deal is very clear indeed.
The seat projections are not based on a uniform national swing but on local conditions. For more on the methodology, see below. If you have any questions, please call or email Charles Seaford. firstname.lastname@example.org 0780 3086546.
The seats lost
The following are the 25 seats that Labour would lose if it accepts the Prime Minister’s position that the UK will leave the EU whatever the result of Parliament’s vote on the exit terms. That is, Labour would retain these seats if it supported an amendment such as NC99 that placed Parliament in control and to kept all options open.
- Bermondsey and Old Southwark – Neil Coyle
- Birmingham, Selly Oak – Steve McCabe
- Brent North – Barry Gardiner
- Bristol South – Karin Smyth
- Cambridge – Daniel Zeichner
- Cardiff Central – Jo Steves
- Cardiff South and Penarth – Stephen Doughty
- Cardiff West – Kevin Brennan
- Derby South – Margaret Beckett
- Erith and Thamesmead – Teresa Pearce
- Exeter – Ben Bradshaw
- Hammersmith – Andy Slaughter
- Hampstead and Kilburn – Tulip Siddiq
- Hornsey and Wood Green – Catherine West
- Huddersfield – Barry Sheerman
- Leeds North East – Fabian Hamilton
- Nottingham South – Lilian Greenwood
- Sefton Central – Bill Esterson
- Slough – Fiona Mactaggart
- Tooting – Rosena Allin-Khan
- Tynemouth – Alan Campbell
- Warrington North – Helen Jones
- West Lancashire – Rosie Cooper
- Westminster North – Karen Buck
- York Central – Rachael Maskell
The following are the 5 seats that Labour would lose if it calls for Parliament to have the option of deciding Britain should stay in the EU if the terms on offer are bad, but would retain if it accepts the Prime Minister’s position that the UK will leave the EU whatever the result of Parliament’s vote on the exit terms;
- Don Valley
- Stoke-On-Trent Central
- West Bromwich East
- West Bromwich West
More details on the methodology
These numbers are based on a sample of 1,343 voters in Labour held seats (this excludes ‘won’t votes’ and ‘don’t knows’). The seat projections do not assume a uniform national swing but take into account the proportion of remain and leave voters amongst supporters of each party in each constituency and the tendency of each of these groups to switch their votes in response to Labour’s stance.
Represent Us (who commissioned the poll) first estimated the number of leave and remain voters amongst the supporters of each party in each Labour constituency. This was done by taking the national proportions amongst the main parties (as calculated by YouGov – https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted/) and applying a local adjustment based on educational qualifications: the higher the proportion of the adult population with no qualifications the higher the leave vote amongst Labour and Lib Dem voters. The figures were further adjusted to ensure that the total leave and remain votes corresponded to the constituency by constituency estimates of total leave and remain votes made by Chris Hanretty – a Reader in Politics at the University of East Anglia.
The ICM poll then revealed the proportion of voters in each of these groups in all Labour constituencies that said they would change their votes if Labour and the Lib Dems called for a real choice for Parliament, if Labour supported the Government and the Lib Dems called for a real choice for Parliament, and if Labour supported the Government and the Lib Dems called for a referendum. The third scenario was very similar to the second, with a slightly stronger showing for the Lib Dems and worse results for Labour. These proportions were then applied to the current voting intentions amongst each group in each constituency and the result of the election calculated.
The following are the 68 seats that Labour loses under either option.
- Alyn and Deeside
- Barrow and Furness
- Batley and Spen
- Birmingham, Edgbaston
- Birmingham, Erdington
- Birmingham, Northfield
- Bishop Auckland
- Blackpool South
- Bolton North East
- Bradford South
- Brentford and Isleworth
- Bristol East
- Bury South
- City Of Chester
- Clwyd South
- Coventry North West
- Coventry South
- Dagenham and Rainham
- Dudley North
- Ealing Central and Acton
- Edinburgh South
- Ellesmere Port and Neston
- Enfield North
- Great Grimsby
- Harrow West
- Ilford North
- Lancaster and Fleetwood
- Luton South
- Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
- Newport East
- Newport West
- North East Derbyshire
- Oldham East and Saddleworth
- Penistone and Stocksbridge
- Rother Valley
- Southampton, Test
- Stalybridge and Hyde
- Stockton North
- Stoke-On-Trent North
- Stoke-On-Trent South
- Walsall North
- Walsall South
- Wirral South
- Wirral West
- Wolverhampton North East
- Wolverhampton South West
- Worsley and Eccles South
- Ynys Mon
An opinion poll to persuade MPs
Having already done some analysis, we are confident that Labour will not suffer electorally from supporting this amendment. Indeed, our figures show that Labour would likely gain support through backing this amendment.
A professionally conducted opinion poll would strengthen our case enormously.
We have approached a polling firm who have costed this at £12,000. We believe we can raise £8,000 of this via grant funding and a major donor.
So we are looking to raise pledges to the value of £4,000 as quickly as possible so that we can take this project forward.