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News | Published November 08 2018

Brexit Update: Raab faces derision, Davis predicts defeat and "People's Vote" wins Holyrood's support

A roundup of Brexit news from the last two days, including warnings from David Davis that MPs will reject May's deal, Dominc Raab mocked for admission about the Dover-Calais crossing and Holyrood's support for a "People's Vote."

David Davis says Commons defeat on Brexit bill is “looking like a probability”

In an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme, the former Brexit Secretary David Davis stated that May’s Brexit deal is likely to be rejected by MPs when debated in the House of Commons. Davis, who quit as Brexit secretary in July, struck an optimistic tone however, and stated that this rejection would lead to a “better deal” between the UK and the EU. In response to claims that the UK may run out of medical supplies in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit, he described this as “nonsense,” adding that the UK was a “big country” and that we can “look after ourselves.”

Key Facts
  • David Davis warns that defeat on Brexit bill is "looking like a probability"
  • Raab criticised for his admission that he hadn't quite understood the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing
  • Holyrood votes 60-35 to support a second referendum on the terms of Brexit

Davis said that the likelihood of defeat will increase if MPs are not given the full details of the legal advice given to Theresa May by the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. This echoes calls from Michael Gove and a cross-party collection of MPs who have been pressing for its full release. Davis described the need for MPs to see “complete legal advice, not a summary.” He also argued that crucial elements, such as our future relationship with the EU and the Northern Ireland backstop, need to be addressed before Parliament votes, saying “I suspect they have not pinned down any of these issues and they need to be pinned down before Parliament votes.”

Davis said that the likelihood of defeat will increase if MPs are not given the full details of the legal advice given to Theresa May by the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. This echoes calls from Michael Gove and a cross-party collection of MPs who have been pressing for its full release. Davis described the need for MPs to see “complete legal advice, not a summary.” 

Dominc Raab ridiculed for comments on the importance of Dover-Calais

The current Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, has come under attack for his admission that “I hadn’t quite understood” the country’s reliance on goods transferred between Dover to Calais.

Speaking at a technology conference on Wednesday, Raab stated that “We want a bespoke arrangement in goods which recognises the peculiar, frankly, geographic, economic entity that is the United Kingdom. We are, and I hadn't quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.” He went on to argue that this reliance was the basis for the need of a “very specific and very proximate relationship with the EU to ensure frictionless trade.”

A report published by the Institute for Government states that Dover is a “key artery for UK trade heading to continental Europe.” According to its findings, 2.5 million heavy goods vehicles pass through the area annually and £119 billion's worth of goods made the crossing in 2015. This constituted around “17 per cent of the UK’s entire trade in goods by value.”

 Raab stated that “We want a bespoke arrangement in goods which recognises the peculiar, frankly, geographic, economic entity that is the United Kingdom. We are, and I hadn't quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.”

MSPs vote to support “People’s Vote”

During a debate in Holyrood tabled by the Lib Dems yesterday, the Scottish Parliament voted by 65-30 in favour of a referendum on the details of the Brexit deal. The debate on “safeguarding Scotland's international research collaborations and reputation for scientific excellence from the threat of Brexit” had an amendment inserted by the Liberal Democrats which urged members to support a “People’s Vote.”

The move was supported by SNP, Green and Lib Dem MSPs, who were joined by two Scottish Labour MSPs with the larger Labour group abstaining from the vote. The entirety of the Scottish Conservative delegation voted against the proposition.