My People’s Vote Odyssey – An Update
We are now fast approaching the Brexit endgame in parliament and it is vital that supporters of a People’s Vote make their voices heard in every constituency. I am on a national People’s Vote odyssey to make this happen, travelling all over the country to rally the pro-European movement. This week I campaigned in Stafford, Leeds, Salisbury, Manchester, Belfast, Oldham, Cambridge and London, and by the end of the month I will have spoken at 28 different events ranging from Macclesfield to Penzance. On Friday I went on BBC Radio Foyle with Dominic Grieve MP before speaking alongside him at Queen’s University Belfast. Do come and join me if I am going to your area - details of upcoming events will be posted on Twitter and Facebook.
What I have seen at these events is a surge of support and momentum for a People’s Vote that is slowly but surely starting to filter through to Members of Parliament. Indeed, this week’s Channel 4’s poll found a majority in favour of a second referendum and 54% to 46% support for staying in the EU, showing that the tide of public opinion has shifted across the nation. However, until every MP has their inbox, newsfeed, and mentions filled with messages from constituents demanding a People’s Vote there is still more to do.
The saga of the BBC’s awful Brexit coverage has unfortunately continued. Last Sunday, it managed to reach a new low by inviting Arron Banks onto the Andrew Marr show. As I argue in the Guardian this week, the interview was a far cry from the promised forensic interrogation and instead provided Banks with a platform from which to attack his accusers and muddy the waters. The BBC has now rescinded their incredible further invitation for Banks to appear on Question Time, showing how important it is to call out such catastrophically bad decisions.
Elsewhere in the world, the United States had its mid-term elections this week, which saw the Democrats win back the House of Representatives, but the Republicans strengthen their hold on the Senate. In my New European column this week I note that the great oracle of the American electorate does not seem to like Donald Trump, but that it is still far from certain whether this marks the beginning of the end for his presidency.
Finally, this week saw the sad passing of Lord Jeremy Heywood of Whitehall. As I detail in my obituary in the Financial Times, he was the outstanding British civil servant of the past two generations and a dear friend. Milton’s words ring loud: “Lycidas is dead . . . and hath not left his peer.” Britain mourns a great servant of the state.