Give us a 'people's vote' on Brexit deal: Labour's Chuka Umunna and Tory Anna Soubry launch all-party alliance to challenge May's EU plan: Brexit News for Sunday 15 April

Give us a 'people's vote' on Brexit deal: Labour's Chuka Umunna and Tory Anna Soubry launch all-party alliance to challenge May's EU plan: Brexit News for Sunday 15 April
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Give us a ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit deal: Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Tory Anna Soubry launch all-party alliance to challenge May’s EU plan

A new cross-party campaign to give the nation a chance to accept or reject Theresa May’s final Brexit deal will be launched by Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Tory Anna Soubry today. They will team up with fellow pro-Europe supporters at a rally in London aimed at stopping what they say is the threat of a disastrous ‘hard Brexit’ being forced on the people of the UK. Umunna and Soubry’s shared opposition to Brexit has seen them emerge as an unlikely Labour-Conservative double act. – Daily Mail

The alliance brings together Open Britain, the group that emerged from the official “remain” campaign during the referendum, plus the European Movement and another seven organisations that collectively boast that they have more than 700,000 supporters, 20,000 activists, and more than 1m followers on social media. But their polling suggests references to another “referendum” is off-putting to some voters, hence the focus on a “people’s vote”. When asked in those terms, the pollsters Opinium found that 52% of voters wanted the public to have a vote on the final deal, with 31% against. – Times (£)

Ministers get ready for defeats in the House of Lords on key piece of EU withdrawal legislation

The government is bracing itself for defeats in parliament on Brexit this week, including over its plans to take the UK out of a customs union with the EU. Ministers have resigned themselves to the fact that the House of Lords will almost certainly pass amendments backed by Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat peers aimed at forcing Theresa May to rethink her position. Sources in the upper house told The Independent the only way she can realistically avoid a defeat is by making significant concessions, including one softening her approach to an EU customs union that is likely to enrage Tory Brexiteer MPs. – Independent

> Jonathan Isaby on BrexitCentral: What to expect from the Report Stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords

UKIP names new party leader

Britain’s eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) named a new leader on Saturday as it seeks to draw a line under recent turmoil. UKIP was influential under former leader Nigel Farage in bringing about a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in 2016, but has struggled to maintain its relevance since the country voted to leave the bloc. UKIP said the appointment of Gerard Batten as leader was uncontested. Batten, a member of the European Parliament for London and the party’s former Brexit spokesman, had been serving as interim leader. – Reuters

Britain’s ‘blue economy’: Why Brexit is a perfect opportunity to build on the UK’s seafaring heritage

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, took to social media last week to say: “As an island nation with a proud seafaring history it is only right that the UK calls for an ambitious and credible agreement to make shipping cleaner and greener.”  Although the cuts fall short of the EU’s calls for a 70pc reduction it is still a goal that will require the industry to completely redesign their fleets around new types of fuel. It’s a challenging shake up for one of the world’s oldest industries, but one that Britain is prepared to lead.  It is little surprise then that the UK is pushing for a “zero-carbon” shipping industry as soon as possible. Nusrat Ghani, the shipping minister, urged others to join the UK in calling for an ambitious strategy “that will open new opportunities in green technologies and fuels, and ensure shipping plays its full part in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.” Britain’s blue economy is more than just fish and ships. – Telegraph (£)

A ‘huge argument’ within May’s government is delaying her decision on post-Brexit immigration

A row within Cabinet over how Britain should tackle immigration in negotiations with the European Union is preventing the government from deciding what it wants from post-Brexit immigration. Two weeks ago Amber Rudd revealed to the Home Affairs Select Committee that the Home Office had not yet reached a position on what it believed the best post-Brexit immigration system for Britain would be. To committee chair Yvette Cooper’s visible astonishment, Rudd said that 21 months on from the 2016 Brexit referendum, the government had not decided what migration model it wants to work towards. – Business Insider

Labour council candidates standing for election with ‘stop Brexit’ pledge

Labour councillors standing for election next month are pledging to help “stop Brexit”, despite Jeremy Corbyn’s insistence that the party will honour the Leave vote, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. In a move that raises fresh questions over the party’s stance on Brexit, Stephen Cowan, the Labour leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council in west London, has written to voters in the pro-Remain borough telling them that May’s local elections are an opportunity for them “to say no to Brexit”. A letter also signed by two other Labour council candidates states: “You have the chance to vote Labour in the local council elections to send a clear message that you, like us, are against Brexit and the lack of certainty about the rights of EU citizens.” – Telegraph (£)

Michel Barnier predicts UK will cave in to EU’s demands over Gibraltar

Michel Barnier said the EU could use the “lever of unanimous solidarity” from the remaining countries in the bloc to get the access Spain wanted from Gibraltar. Madrid has already demanded joint control of Gibraltar’s airport, cross-border cooperation on smuggling and an end to what Spain sees as the Rock’s tax haven status. “This lever is there and the British know it well,” Mr Barnier said, “and I think that the lever of solidarity which we have given to Spain will be effective.” Relations between Britain and the EU became strained after Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK’s access to the single market and customs union would also apply to Gibraltar at a press conference. – PoliticsHome

Phillip Inman: Beware bribery and corruption in Brexit’s new world

As Britain bids farewell to the single market, plenty of businesses are looking further afield for export opportunities. Some are jumping aboard the trade missions organised by Liam Fox’s department for international trade, while others look to their local chambers of commerce to take them on visits to the far-flung nations trumpeted by Fox as among the fastest growing on the planet. It is an exciting prospect and one that holds out the prospect of replacing lost trade with the EU. Unfortunately it means these businesses could also be preparing, however unwittingly, to pay bribes and enter corrupt dealings with public officials – if not directly, then through the intermediaries that provide links in the chain between themselves and foreign consumers. – Phillip Inman for the Observer

Brexit in brief

  • The EU nationals earning three times as much on UK benefits as working at home – Express
  • David Mundell chats Brexit with farming bosses – Peeblesshire News