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Welcome to 2018 – New Year, New Resolution

Welcome back! We hope you were able to eat, drink and be merry over the break, and managed to avoid any Brexit-related family fall-outs around the Christmas Turkey (or whatever you tucked into with your loved ones).

You could say, that while it can occasionally be difficult to feel goodwill to all mankind when Uncle Peter is saying how much he looks forward to the UK ‘taking back control’, this year finding common ground and embracing the spirit of cooperation is more important than ever. In that light we’ve been having some great gatherings with our extended ‘family’ of pro-EU campaigners, and we’re launching into 2018 with a serious bang. We look forward to sharing our forthcoming plans and projects with you over the next days, weeks and months.

In the meantime here’s a bit of a ‘To Do’ list to keep you occupied and make sure that you’re starting your Brexit Battling year in fighting form.

1) Read these great pieces in the Sunday Times and Independent from our Chairman Mark Malloch-Brown and our CEO Eloise Todd:

Lord Malloch Brown is here to coax us back to Brussels

This is how Brexit can be stopped in 2018

2) Do these Social Media bits:

If you’re on Twitter, find fellow Remainers and show you’re against leaving the EU by adding the #FBPE (‘follow back, Pro-European’) hashtag to your handle.

Encourage a converted Leaver friend to go public and join fellow converts via the #RemainerNow movement that kicked-off in fine style in December.

And if you’re on Facebook, join your local BfB group to get active locally (find the list here), and if you’re into your numbers, or would self-describe as a Creative Type – please consider joining our Data Team, and/or our Creative Hackers group to lend your talents to the cause.

3) Activate your political power:

If you’re a Labour voter or member, get involved with these two great in-party pushback movements:

Labour against Brexit – Facebook and Twitter

Remain Labour – Website and Twitter

If you’re a Conservative then show your support for their pro-EU MPs by following them on social media, or writing them a letter of thanks, even if they aren’t your local MP. Or join a EU-supporting Conservative group such as Citizens for Britain, or follow Tories Against Brexit on Twitter.

And if you’re a Lib Dem voter, or SNP, you’re pretty much set, but it won’t hurt to follow the official party accounts on Twitter and Facebook, if you haven’t already.

We’ll be back soon with more ways and means to help you get active and make your voices heard! But if you have any suggestions, please let us know via info@bestforbritain.org.

Thank You for Supporting Lucky 7

On Wednesday 13th December, the Government suffered its first (and potentially only) defeat by Parliamentary vote in the EU Withdrawal Bill committee stages. Amendment 7 to Clause 9 passed by 309 votes for, to 305 votes against. And every one of you who sent an email to their MP via our campaign or those of other organisations, or who wrote a letter, or who Tweeted their MP support, can and should feel like you played a vitally important part in achieving this.

When a vote is this close, you can be sure that every single contact counts. And several MPs who voted in favour of the Amendment 7 change have already fed back to us about how much the public showing of support meant, and how unprecedented the level of it has been.

The amendment, which secured MPs a statutory (official) vote on whatever final Brexit Deal Theresa May and her negotiating team bring back in the 2nd half of next year, was the first vital step in stopping the Brexit runaway train and making a Hard Brexit an almost unthinkable outcome. This was the country and Parliament saying no to a harmful ploy of brinkmanship that could only result in a bad outcome and bad blood between all parties involved.

So, what’s next?

Well, there’s potentially a vote on Amendment 381, a Government-inserted change that looks to enshrine the exact time and date of exiting the EU as March 2019. This is proving equally, if not more unpopular than the wording that incited the so-called ‘Tory Rebellion’ which saw long-standing and loyal Conservative MPs table the changes to the bill that became Amendment 7. However, eager to avoid the blow of another defeat in the Commons, another amendment has been tabled by Government supporters, that could head this off by offering a ‘get out’ clause for this date, if more time is needed for negotiations.

It’s yet to be seen if this measure, Amendment 400, will be accepted by the Government, or if a vote on 381 will still be needed to avoid a No Deal outcome if the clock runs out in the Article 50 two-year countdown period – as it seems it likely will.

But, if nothing else, this ‘Meaningful’ statutory vote, demanded to occur in ‘good time’ before the exit date–whatever that ends up being–is now a huge opportunity. Parliament now have a say on how and even if we leave the EU. All that’s now required is for UK citizens to decide this isn’t the path they wish to take, and for us to help MPs hear the voices of their constituents, whatever they may be, and act in the best interests of the country (and all Unions) when the time is right.

And while we all wait to see what happens next, you can read about our plans for the coming year, from our current Chairman, Lord Malloch-Brown – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/17/senior-ex-diplomat-to-advise-pro-eu-campaigns-before-brexit-deal-vote?CMP=share_btn_tw

5 Days to Ensure a Meaningful Vote on the Brexit Deal

We’re just days away from the most important point of the Withdrawal Bill Committee stages – 8 days of debate that are shaping the way the Government tackles the legal side of the Brexit process. And on Wednesday 13th December, it’s the turn of the vitally important Amendment 7 to take the floor.

You’re here reading this, so we hope you’re interested and ready to take action in what could be the biggest week in Brexit so far.

Quickly, first, have you signed our Lucky7 petition already? If not you can do that here.

If you’ve already done this, then why not:

1. Call your MP? Ask them to: uphold Parliamentary sovereignty, take back control and support Amendment 7 to Clause 9 of the EU Withdrawal Bill. You can find your MP’s contact information here.

2. Write a letter to your local paper? 17% of people get all or almost all of their news from local news sources! Today I have written to local papers across the country. Here is what I’ve said for some inspiration:

Dear Sir/Madam,
When people voted in the EU referendum last year, little was known about what a future deal with the European Union would look like. 16 months on, it is now very unlikely that any deal will be able to provide the same easy terms of trade and commerce with our most prosperous neighbour.

This is why I believe Joe Bloggs, as Anytown’s MP, should have a meaningful vote on the deal struck with the EU and why everyone in the country should also then be entitled to a Vote on the Deal.

I urge you therefore, by December 13th, to add your name to this amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

* Amendment 7: ensures that Parliament has a vote on the Deal. This is an amendment tabled by your colleague Conservative MP Dominic Grieve. It has cross-party support. The referendum was about ‘taking back control’ and giving it to Parliament. This amendment does just that.

People in Anytown are asking you to trust them.

Yours sincerely,
Eloise Todd
CEO Best for Britain

3. Take the campaign to the streets in your local area. We’ve done a great print-ready, A5, flyer template that you can use. Download the pdf here!

Brexit Reports – The Revenge

Last month, we started our #BREXITREPORTS campaign in support of a group of over 120 cross-party MPs who had joined forces in calling for the release of the 58 long-awaited Brexit economic impact studies, promised by DExEU.

A trending hashtag, thousands of tweets, and almost 10,000 messages to MPs was the direct result of your backing. Thank you.

But, what’s been the impact in terms of real world results?

Well the pressure paid off, with an additional 54 MPs (see the list here) adding their voices to the demands that Parliament get to know what these Brexit Reports contained. And that, at the very least, the Select Committee for Exiting the EU get full view of all the analysis produced.

This demand for Government transparency received a big boost when it gained Shadow Cabinet backing, with Labour’s Keir Starmer taking up the charge. A riveting Commons debate and binding resolution followed – requiring the Government to produce the reports, or risk being held in contempt of Parliament (read the transcript here).

The Department for Exiting the EU’s repeated failure to produce the documents (despite issuing public statements that listed the industry sectors they covered, as well as announcing that the Prime Minister had read Summary Briefs of them) led to yet more backing for the movement, this time with Conservative MPs also pushing for publication.

Even Jacob Rees-Mogg–thanks to his deep love of parliamentary procedure and history–became an unlikely ally.

David Davis, and his extensive team, were then given a seven-day deadline by Speaker of the House John Bercow, to handover the reports described by their creators as ‘being in excruciating detail’, or explain why they could not.

The response was baffling. Suddenly the sector reports weren’t reports at all, merely a collection of information that the department would need ‘more time’ to transform into an acceptable format for handover.

Rumours that these documents (originally due for completion in February 2017) didn’t actually exist, suddenly seemed to have some grounds in reality. DExEU asked Hilary Benn and his Select Committee for more time, and were charitably granted it. They were given a new deadline – 3 weeks, or suffer the consequences.

This brings us to Tuesday 28th November. 850 pages of analysis were finally handed-over to the Commons Select Committee for Exiting the EU, as well as The Lords Committee, and representatives of the devolved parliaments. Barely two ring-binders full. MPs were astounded. Keir Starmer tabled an urgent question in Parliament to find out where the rest of the information was, and why it hadn’t been included in the dossier.

The Speaker had, after all, been explicit in his instructions that all materials should be handed over to the Select Committee, and they should be the ones to make the decisions as to what ‘sensitive materials’, if any, should be withheld.

Again, David Davis was nowhere to be seen, leaving Department Minister, Robin Walker to once more be the de facto spokesperson for Government evasion. Their reply was that the Select Committee had failed to ‘give assurances’ about how the so-called ‘commercially sensitive’ material would be handled. The Speaker incredulously asked ‘what assurances had been sought, and when?’

Unable to provide an answer, DExEU Minister Walker was instructed that David Davis (his boss) needed to present himself before the committee and provide whatever materials they requested, as a matter of urgency.

Bercow’s exact words were, “When it is suggested that that meeting should be soon, it means soon; it does not mean weeks hence. It means very soon indeed. Nothing–no commitment, no other diarised engagement–is more important than respecting the House, and in this case, the Committee of the House that has ownership of this matter”.

The Government is now only a single mis-step from being held in contempt of Parliament, which (according to Wikipedia) would have the following result:

‘MPs accused of Contempt of Parliament may be suspended or expelled.[17] They may also be committed to the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster,[17] although this practice has not been used since Charles Bradlaugh was detained in 1880.’

I know a few people who might be in favour of bringing that last option back, chief among them the MPs whose open letter (and persistence) kicked all this off – Seema Malhotra and David Lammy.

We’ll let them have the final word (for now). We’re sure there’s still plenty more drama to come in the saga of the #BREXITREPORTS.



See the full thread from @DavidLammy here – https://twitter.com/DavidLammy/status/935437491691278337

It’s Far From Over: Article 50 Architect Lord Kerr Lays Out The Legal Case for No Brexit

With Mrs May’s Government falling over itself to provide the next moment of ineptitude and national shame, they’ve been astonishingly together when it comes to delivering their PR line of ‘Brexit is a done deal’.

It’s been enough to drive cross-bench peer, respected statesman and lawmaker, Lord John Kerr, into speaking out to clarify a few points and counteract this ‘misrepresentation of the law’. And he did it in front of the UK’s biggest press organisations.

As one of the creators of Article 50, he wanted it noted that he does know exactly what he’s talking about, and he wanted the public to know why the Government has got it wrong. The how, when they’ve apparently already received legal advice stating exactly that, is a question we’d like answered.

In the meantime, you can get super-informed by reading the full-text of Lord Kerr’s speech below. Then, TAKE ACTION by backing our #LUCKY7 campaign in support of of the ‘meaningful vote’ bill amendment here – https://bestforbritain.org/lucky7

 

The full text of Lord Kerr’s speech:

“Article 50 emerged 15 years ago, in a Convention of 200 Parliamentarians from all the countries who then were members of, or were then negotiating to join, the EU. I was their Secretary-General.

 

“One of their concerns was to demonstrate that the Union was a voluntary partnership of sovereign nation-states, based on treaties between states, not the incipient super-state of Eurosceptic nightmares. Including an Article setting out a procedure for orderly divorce was one of several ways of underlining the voluntary nature of the Union. Though we called our product a Constitutional treaty I can’t recall anyone suggesting adding any “We, the People…” claim to a legitimacy going over the heads of elected national governments.

 

“Nor do I remember any serious opposition to the idea, enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty in what became Article 50, that nation-states were entitled to change their minds, and leave if they so choose. Equally I’m certain no-one dreamed that in 2017 a member state would trigger the procedure, as Mrs. May did on 29 March.

 

“Now that we’re in the procedure, it’s important to understand it; and I am concerned that some aspects of the Article seem to me rather inadequately reflected, or indeed misinterpreted, in our current public debate.

 

“I want to highlight 4 points.

 

“First, while we’re in, we’re in. While the divorce talks proceed, the parties are still married. Reconciliation is still possible. The Article requires the parties to negotiate the “arrangements” for our withdrawal; but we are not required to withdraw just because Mrs. May sent her letter. We can change our minds at any stage during the process.

 

“Second, however, there is a time-limit. To reassure a member-state wishing to leave that it could not be trapped in endless fruitless negotiation, the Article is clear that after 2 years, one is out. But the time-limit can be extended if all parties consent: this could become important.

 

“Third, Article 50 is only about divorce. Any Agreement about future relationships, e.g. on trade, between us and the 27 would be negotiated under other Articles, with different voting rules; and could only be concluded after we had left; and, unlike an Art 50 Agreement, would probably require ratification in every member-state, which in some countries would require referendums.

 

“Fourth, once we’re out, we’re out. The Article is clear that there can be no keeping a back-door key. If, once we’d left, we were to change our mind, and want to go back in, we would have to go through the full Accession procedure, like any other candidate-country. That would entail paying a price.

 

“Taking these in turn…

 

“First, and crucially, as required by the Treaty, Mrs. May’s letter was only a notification of the UK’s “intention” to withdraw. Intentions can change. We still have all the rights of a member-state, including the right to change our minds and our votes, as member-states frequently do, for example after elections. The Article is about voluntary withdrawal, not about expulsion: we don’t have to go if at any stage, within the two years, we decide we don’t want to.

 

“The clause that says that “once we’re out, we’re out” says just that, and only that. If we had wanted declaring an intention to go to be the Rubicon moment, if we had wanted a notification letter to be irrevocable, we would have drafted the clause to say so. But we didn’t, and the clause doesn’t. So, the die is not cast irretrievably. The letter can be taken back.

 

“That has subsequently been confirmed by formidable legal experts. Let me cite just two. Jean-Claude Piris, Legal Counsel to the Council in my Convention days, is clear that “even after triggering Article 50, and notifying the EU of its intention to leave, there is no legal obstacle to the UK changing its mind.” Sir David Edward, UK Judge in the ECJ when the Article was drafted, says the same.

 

“The Government give the impression that the Rubicon has been crossed, but they currently refuse to publish their Law Officers’ Opinion: I think we know why. They have been careful not to say that we could not take back Mrs. May’s letter. During the Miller case, and at the Despatch Box in both Houses, Government spokesmen have consistently said only that “as a matter of firm policy “, we won’t take it back. That formula in itself confirms that we could take it back.

 

“The fact is that a political decision has been made, in this country, to maintain that there can be no going back. Actually, the country still has a free choice about whether to proceed. As new facts emerge, people are entitled to take a different view. And there’s nothing in Article 50 to stop them. I think the British people have the right to know this – they should not be misled.

 

“Supposing we were to exercise our right to withdraw Mrs. May’s letter, how would leaders across the Channel react? We know from what they have said: they would applaud. Let me cite a couple of Presidents…

 

“If the UK wanted to stay, everybody would be in favour. I would be very happy.”

That’s Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament.

“It is in fact up to London how this will end: with a good deal, no deal, or no Brexit.”

That’s Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

 

“Or take the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar … “The door remains open for the UK to stay in the EU.” Yes. It does.

And President Macron has said the same.

 

“Most EU leaders think Brexit would be a disaster, worst for us, but bad for all. Most believe that, in a world of Trump and Putin, of Daesh and Islamic State, of Asian competition, of climate change and migration misery, Europe should stick together and work together. They of course recognise that we have every right to take a different view, but they hope that in the end we won’t. They value our contribution to the Union’s vitality, remembering with respect how Mrs. Thatcher fought to create the Single Market, and John Major and Tony Blair insisted, when the Wall came down, that we must bring in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.

 

“They often find us difficult partners, annoyingly pragmatic and practical. But they now find us puzzlingly dogmatic and doctrinaire on Brexit. If we were to change our minds, Putin and Trump would be disappointed, but our near neighbours, and our true friends across the Atlantic and in the Commonwealth, would cheer. I think the country should know that.

 

“My second concern is less fundamental, but I am uneasy that the country isn’t being told much about the possibility of taking more time.

 

“I don’t know why Mrs. May was in such a rush to send her letter in March, before her Cabinet had an agreed plan. It was odd to start the clock and not start negotiating, instead calling an Election. And I don’t know why both Government and Opposition now seem to discount the possibility of our seeking an extension. Predicting how the 27 would react to such a request is harder than predicting how they would react to our withdrawing the letter, and if anyone refused there would be no extension. I believe much would depend on our perceived motive. If we were seen as simply wanting to take a deadlocked financial negotiation into Extra Time, I doubt if we could be sure of the necessary unanimous consent.

 

“But if, for example, we were to need time for Parliament to consider a final deal, an Election, and/or to pass the legislation needed for a referendum giving the people the final say on this process, to check that the country, having seen the facts emerge during the negotiation process, still wanted to Leave, I do not see any of 27 democracies denying us the chance to consult the people. They would think we had every right to check that the country, by then aware of the facts, still wanted to Leave.  How the people should be consulted at the end of this negotiation process is an issue for the politicians not me, but the country is entitled to know that different options are open to it.

 

“My third concern is over confusion about “transitions”, “implementation periods”, “standstills”, and cliff-edges.

 

“I believe it was unwise of the 27 to insist on “sufficient progress” on money before turning to the future relationship. I think they were wrong to be misled by suggestions here that they could “go whistle”, and that we might refuse to honour our commitments: I’m sure we never would. And it would of course be self-defeating: lengthy arbitration or court proceedings about unpaid bills would severely complicate full WTO accession. I believe that there should now be parallel tracks, one looking back, on settling debts, one looking forward, on future partnership plans, everything on the understanding that nothing can be finally agreed on either until all is agreed on both. I hope that will now happen.

 

“But I am puzzled by UK suggestions that a fully comprehensive agreement about the future can be completed and initialed by this time next year. EU trade agreements with third countries come under Article 218, not Article 50. They take time, and Association agreements take longer. And getting widely-drawn agreements ratified can be tricky: the Canadian negotiations have taken 7 years, and I hope that a UK/EU agreement would go wider, extending beyond Goods into Services. And ratifying widely-drawn agreements can be problematic: the Canadian deal got stuck in the Wallonian parliament.

 

“But we, the Article 50 drafters, had thought of the timing problem: hence the stipulation in the Article that the divorce settlement must be drawn up “taking account of the framework for the future relationship with the Union.” When will we at last put forward a draft framework, a “Heads of Agreement ” text, the basis for an agreed outline, or set of principles, which would guide the subsequent detailed sectoral negotiations? And why do we insist that the ball is in the EU court? Having service is usually seen as conferring an advantage. The best time to submit our ideas for the framework might have been before starting the 2-year clock. But better late than never.

 

“And do we really envisage that by next October we shall have not only initialed a permanent agreement, but will have also, subsequently, reached agreement on a transitional regime to get us from here to there, so avoiding the cliff-edge in 2019? This seems no less puzzling. Since we won’t have a clear picture of the detail of future permanent arrangements, I don’t see how we could build a bridge to them. Without some framework, we risk having nothing to “transition” to, nothing to “implement”.

 

“In her Florence speech Mrs. May seemed to acknowledge this, and floated instead the idea of a standstill, for some two years, during which we would, after Leaving, continue to apply all EU rules and regulations. The 27 have in fact offered that from the start: their April Guidelines say that ” should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require all existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary, and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.” In Florence, it sounded as if Mrs. May might buy all that, for two or three years. But subsequent statements by Mr. Johnson, Dr. Fox and Mr. Gove suggest that they don’t.

 

“But the key point about such a standstill is that it doesn’t avoid the cliff-edge; It merely postpones it for a couple of years. That wouldn’t provide the certainty business so badly needs. And whether it’s called Transition, Implementation or Standstill, it would follow our Leaving. Once we’re out, say in March 2019, we’re out, with no votes, no judge, no commissioner, no MEPs, and no way back, other than an Accession negotiation, starting from scratch. Again, I think the country needs to know that.

 

“My last point can be briefly put.  I think the country should also be aware of one big difference between, on the one hand, negotiating for accession, and, on the other, drawing back from secession: in the former, there’s a price to pay; in the latter, there isn’t.

 

“If we were eventually to apply to re-join the EU, it might be rather difficult to persuade 27, or by then maybe more, member-states, many of them less wealthy, in per capita terms, than us, that we should have a budget rebate. Mrs. Thatcher secured it from inside, after quite a fight, and it isn’t universally popular. To sell the idea again, from outside, would not be possible.

 

“Conversely, while we’re in, we’re in; and there would be no price to pay if we were to decide to stay in.  The rebate is part of a legal text known as the Own Resources Decision, which can be amended only if all member-states agree. While we remain a member-state, we would not agree to drop the Rebate. and since we are entitled to remain a member-state, we could not be forced to do so.

 

“My conclusions are simple.

 

“The national debate about Brexit should take account of the facts that:

 

  1. our Article 50 letter could be withdrawn without cost or difficulty, legal or political;
  2. a standstill agreement is no panacea;
  3. once out, there is no easy way back in, and there would be a price to pay;
  4. but while still in, the option of stopping the clock, in order to consult the people again, is available.

 

“All four facts will still be relevant when Parliament next autumn gets the chance, as it must, to assess the outcome of the negotiations.”

The Brexit Reports: What Happened on Wednesday

The Wednesday that was. ‘Remember, remember the 1st November’ might be the new chant for Remain campaigners, on the back of a significant debate and unopposed vote that took place in the House of Commons yesterday.

Sir Keir Starmer, KCB, QC and Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, tabled an Opposition Day Motion that came right out of the Jacob Rees-Mogg playbook (i.e. one written a few hundred years ago), that even seemed to earn the respect of that ‘Right Honourable Gentleman’ for North East Somerset.

Sir Keir took the floor and tabled that a ‘humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that she will be graciously pleased to give directions that the list of sectors analysed under the instruction of Her Majesty’s Ministers, and referred to in the Answer of 26 June 2017 to Question 239, be laid before this House and that the impact assessments arising from those analyses be provided to the Committee on Exiting the European Union’. (You can read more here – http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8128

What this means is that HRH, The Queen, will now be asked to instruct the Government to release the Brexit Reports – exactly what we’ve been fighting for with our Let There Be Light campaign. Thanks to the support of Conservative MPs in the House during the debate – among them Anna Soubry, Dr Sarah Wollaston and Jacob Rees-Mogg – and that of MPs (and members of the public) who’ve backed our campaign and David Lammy and Seema Malhotra’s open letter, the motion was passed unopposed by the Government, making even a vote unnecessary in the end.

You can read the full debate transcript here (it’s a doozie!) – https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-11-01/debates/62139AE8-AA75-42F7-85D3-BB50087ACEFB/ExitingTheEUSectoralImpactAssessments#contribution-2D9800D0-D527-44DE-8CAF-1597A6B2F854

The Government now have 12 weeks to act, with Chris Heaton-Harris MP, being responsible for bringing the humble Address to royal attention.

So what’s this mean? Well, hopefully this will result in the Brexit Reports being released in some form to the Select Committee for leaving the EU, chaired by Hillary Ben MP. Or maybe to all Select Committee Chairs. This release might involve redactions. It might just be the Summary Outcomes that the Prime Minister has apparently reviewed.

Whatever the Government response, there’s still a way to go, and we still need the backing of the public and of as many MPs as possible to keep up the pressure and ensure the country knows what our impending post-Brexit future looks like and exactly what it will cost.

So, if you haven’t already, please check out our list of MPs backing the call for the reports to be released here – #BREXITREPORTS

And a huge thank you to those who’ve supported the campaign already. You really have made a difference. Here’s to more success to follow!

Campaign Trainings Launch Across The Country

It’s official – we’re taking our local campaign training on the road! Following our first event in London last month (over 150 people attended), we’ll be hosting nine events across the country in November and December (with even more coming in 2018!).

Our “barnstorm” training events are about practical steps you can take to make a difference. They are hands-on, interactive sessions driven by two key principles:

1. We must get out of the echo chamber and persuasively talk about a No Brexit option to expand our supporter base.

2. Our efforts have to go from mass rallies to direct action, to build the base  and apply constant pressure on MPs to sustain change.

Don’t worry – if we’re not in your area before new year, our goal is to get within 75 miles of almost every person in the UK in 2018!

Please join our experienced Field Campaigns Director who has worked on elections both in the UK and the USA and our growing field campaigns team for an interesting, fast-paced and exciting evening.

RSVP using the links below:

November 14th – Bridgend

November 15th – Bristol

November 21 – Portsmouth

November 22 – Southampton

November 28 – Richmond

November 29 – Barnet

December 4 – Norwich

December 5 – Doncaster

December 14 – Vauxhall

RSVP soon as places are limited!

Note: If we’re not yet coming to your area but you’d like us to, secure 50 people and a venue and we’ll aim to host a special event where you are!

Remain, Leave and the General Election: A Little More Insight

In case you missed it, last week we published a report we commissioned to investigate the voting behaviour of Leave and Remain voters. It yielded some pretty interesting results!

‘A constituency by constituency analysis suggests that, while a significant number of leave voters appear to have switched to the Conservatives, many remain voters supported the party in their constituency most likely to beat the Conservatives (mostly Labour).’

You can read all about it in this 2-page summary, which highlights the key findings. GE2017 Post-EU-Referendum Tactical Voting Report 2-pager

And because (almost) everything is better with a picture, here’s a handy infographic.

Brexit and the 2017 General Election

Or in you’re a fan of crunching the numbers, you can find the analysis in full (and more) here – Best For Britain Tactical Voting Report.

Download the full size infographic here.

#StopTheWitchHunt. Stand up for academic freedom

Britain’s universities are a great success story. But now they’re under threat from the Brexit bullies – from extremist Brexiteers to the Daily Mail – and freedom of speech in our country is under threat again.

It’s time to stand up to the Brexit bullies and for everyone who values academic freedom to #StopTheWitchHunt – sign our petition here!

The UK’s universities earn billions for us in foreign exchange, deliver excellent education and make a world-leading contribution to research and development in countless fields.

Like much else they were already under threat from the economic impact of Brexit – potentially losing access to the EU’s research funding and discouraging the brightest and best from Europe and beyond to teach and study in the UK.

But what’s happening now goes beyond Brexit, and is about our ability as individuals, as academic institutions, to speak up for different points of view without being tracked or bullied by government. This attempt to suppress academic freedom has echoes of dark periods in history – and we don’t want the UK to go down that route.

Universities must be free to teach their curriculum and not have to run it by the most extreme anti-Brexiteers. It’s now time to #StopTheWitchHunt.

It started with a letter from Chris Heaton-Harris MP – a minister of the crown and number three in the government whip’s office – on official House of Commons stationery, asking for universities to report who was teaching European studies and to outline their syllabus.

That letter provoked outrage – as well as fear – and while the government has tried to brush off the controversy and thus far no action has been to rein him in.

But that letter was only the start. Now the real attack dogs of Brexit have joined in – with the Daily Mail attacking academic freedom on their front page and launching a dedicated email address on which non-compliant academics can be reported and – no doubt – lined up for future attack.

It’s time to stand up to the Brexit bullies and for everyone who values academic freedom to #StopTheWitchHunt.

That is why we are asking everyone to sign our petition to #StopTheWitchHunt and to write to their MP to demand they support academic freedom.

Sign our #StopTheWitchHunt petition now.

Show the Brexit bullies you won’t be intimidated.

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The Research Is In: Tactical Voting Works

The Conservatives cannot win an election by relying solely on supporters of Brexit, while Labour could get closer to its goal of majority government if it does more to peel off anti-Brexit voters who are still backing the Tories: these are two of the key conclusions of a new report we published on 24 October 2017.

The report – from independent data scientist Dr Abigail Lebrecht – shows that the Conservatives were successful in appealing for the votes of previous UKIP supporters and other leave voters but that was not enough to deliver victory in the face of a grassroots revolt by tactical voting supporters of remain.

Dr Lebrecht states that the evidence shows “the Conservatives cannot win on a leave only platform” and “we can say with some confidence that the grassroots anti-Brexit tactical vote denied Theresa May her majority.”

Her work shows that the Conservative’s vote rose in proportion to support for leave in each constituency but also fell in proportion to remain voters. Labour’s vote rose in proportion to the remain vote, but there was no clear relationship with leave votes.

In 2017, The Tories went for ‘peak Brexit’ and yet lost their majority – strongly suggesting that they cannot win by travelling further in that direction. Labour said little about Brexit during the campaign but were big beneficiaries of grassroots-organised tactical voting campaigns – including that organised by Best for Britain. B4B’s ‘tactical voting dashboard’ was visited over one million times during the course of the campaign – particularly in marginal constituencies.

Eloise Todd, CEO of Best for Britain, added:  “We did not issue a blanket call for Labour votes, but we did back Labour in many of the key marginals where Dr Lebrecht’s work suggests the outcome was determined by tactical, anti-Brexit, voting – such as Bristol North West and Kensington.

“We also endorsed Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru candidates in seats in which they were most likely to win and advised supporters where the Conservative candidate was likely oppose an extreme Brexit.

“The electorate has understood the power of their vote, the remain vote swung the 2017 election and both main parties will need to attract more of that floating vote if they want to get ahead and break the UK’s Brexit stalemate.”

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