Don’t despair, Donald! People’s Vote is alive and kicking

by Luke Lythgoe | 06.02.2019

Donald Tusk, never one to shy away from showing his emotions, let despair get the better of him today. But the European Council president should not give up hope of the UK staying in the EU. The People’s Vote is alive and kicking.

“I know that still a very great number of people in the UK, and on the continent, as well as in Ireland, wish for a reversal of [the Brexit] decision,” Tusk said. “I have always been with you, with all my heart. But the facts are unmistakable. At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question.”

The key phrase here is “at the moment”. Sure, there’s still no majority in Parliament for a People’s Vote. But there’s no majority for anything. Theresa May’s deal was rejected by 230 votes. And just last week a majority of MPs demanded that “no deal” be taken off the table.

Something has to give. The prime minister’s pursuit of fantasy alternatives to the backstop is unlikely to overturn opposition to her proposal – not least because hard Brexiters don’t just hate the deal for the backstop. Look at Boris Johnson’s Telegraph column this week attacking the divorce payment, transition and future relationship.

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When May’s deal fails, MPs must rapidly explore other Brexit proposals. All will be found unworkable or undesirable.

What then will be left? The deal we already have with the EU, which is much better than any Brexit alternative and which polls consistently show is preferred by the majority of the public.

Tusk lamented there is “no effective leadership” for staying in the EU. Perhaps that’s correct in Parliament. There are many dedicated backbenchers fighting hard against Brexit and thousands of passionate grassroots campaigners working tirelessly across the country. But neither is enough to break through our two-party political system and win a People’s Vote outright.

Standing in for Jeremy Corbyn at prime minister’s questions shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said today that the “sensible, cautious thing to do” was to ask the EU for extra time to see “if the negotiations succeed or, if they do not, to pursue a different plan.”

This is not good enough. Labour also needs to put its own Brexit policy – whatever that is – to a vote in Parliament. If it fails to get a majority, it then needs to back a People’s Vote – in line with its conference resolution last September.

If Corbyn does this, the path to staying in the EU will look much more open than the picture Tusk paints today. So don’t give up hope, Donald. Nothing much has changed. There’s a way out of this Brexit mess.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

9 Responses to “Don’t despair, Donald! People’s Vote is alive and kicking”

  • As you know we don’t have a cats chance in hell unless Labour comes out in support, and Corbyn is a Brexiteer so how is that going to happen exactly?

  • I’m afraid to say that whilst the People’s Vote continues to respect the Remain politicians allegiance to their Brexiteer Leaders then, as Donald Tusk commented;

    “there is no political force and no effective leadership for Remain”.

    There is no more time left; it is time to pick a side and the likes of Soubry and Lammy must take the difficult step away from their Brexit-committed parties.

    At the same time, you must stop spreading the myth that Eurosceptic Corbyn will ever work to stop Brexit.

  • How refreshing to hear a politician telling the truth for a change. When you look at his CV compared to May/Johnson/Davis etc etc the shallowness of our government’s skills become so evident.

  • I saw his other comment asking what place in hell looks like for the people who promoted Brexit without a plan. It was good and he was promptly attacked for bad behavior.
    I wish serious people would continue asking the underlying questions: who, why and how.

  • Tusk is right about the lack of a credible Brexit plan by those who orchestrated it by stirring up hate through lies and false propaganda. These are dangerous times, which put the shared democratic, social and humanitarian values of Europe under threat. Jobs and trade are vital but a shared continued peace is essential for everything. Brexit puts this at risk and it must be opposed until we can remain as a full co-operative member of the EU. It is time for Corbyn to take the lead and back another referendum which promotes the positive values of being in the EU and work to continue to improve and develop it while being in it. Be a rule maker not a rule taker!

  • I suspect that particular corner of Hell looks a lot like Sunderland the day after the Nissan factory closes. If that happens I would certainly wish all the Brexiteer liars there.

  • Donald Tusk’s frustrated episode of ‘satanic verses’ has graphically illustrated the truth more powerfully than months of futile debate…..and this truth has hit home to the usual bunch of aggressive extremists who have suddenly been transformed into snowflakes . The EU and the Irish Government will stand firm in the threat of a no deal Brexit. If you really want to know who is ahead in the preparation game, compare the level of readiness between the Irish Government website on Brexit to that of the UK Government.

  • Do you know what Donald, there are many of us here who want to stay in Europe. We are still trying, still hopeful. We put up stalls most Saturdays, wave EU flags outside our MPs surgeries, we talk to Leavers and try to bring some realism to their fantasy projections, we duck the abuse, hand out leaflets, march at Conferences and London gatherings, shout and sing and write postcards and emails to our MPs.
    Don’t lose hope. We are still working to stay. Stick to your guns when our ridiculous PM tries to move you away. Keep the faith and keep stating the obvious. It’s the truth.

  • I totally agree with Donald Tusk’s comments. He is absolutely right and we have to acknowledge that the campaigns for both leave & remain were biased in many respects and conducted with many untruths and, in many cases, were used as an opportunity for MPs to further their own careers. Therefore, I completely agree that their motivations were selfish ones and in no way were they thinking about or planning exactly how Brexit would be implemented, the enormity of what would be involved & the consequences it would bring. I think David Cameron and many other MPs should be ashamed of themselves for treating this fundamental issue, that could have an enormous impact on our Country, as if it were a game.