This is a Labour leaflet being delivered in Stoke. Here they are, trying to out-UKIP UKIP.
“Every major party except the Lib Dems are supporting Brexit here in Stoke”
They are doing our job for us! It certainly gives voters who don’t want the Government given a blank cheque over Brexit a clear direction about who will stand up for them. That would be only the Lib Dems.
Why does this matter? I mean, the Article 50 vote is done and dusted, isn’t it? Well, no. If the Lords does it job properly and adorns the Bill with helpful amendments like securing the rights of EU nationals, staying in the single market and the Lib Dems’ major amendment securing a referendum on the final deal, the new MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central will have to vote on whether to accept those amendments.
Labour’s Gareth Snell has said that he wouldn’t frustrate Article 50. Liberal Democrat Zulfiqar Ali would vote for the people to have a final say on the deal. The choice is clear.
All this comes at a time when there are signs that the public mood is starting to turn against Theresa May’s strategy.
The Guardian reports on a poll which shows that barely a third of those asked favour a hard Brexit.
The survey – conducted by ICM for the online campaigning organisation Avaaz on the day the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to trigger article 50 – suggests May would face a considerable backlash if Britain crashed out of the EU on WTO terms. In a welcome boost for soft Brexit campaigners, over half (54%) of those surveyed backed either extending negotiations if a satisfactory deal could not be reached, or halting the process altogether while the public was consulted for a second time.
The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Tom Brake, said the findings proved the government’s position was indefensible.
Of the 54% of people who opposed the government’s position, 34% said May should continue negotiating. A further 20% backed halting the process pending a second referendum on the terms of the deal, an option backed by the Lib Dems and a cross-party group of MPs including the Labour MPs David Lammy, Heidi Alexander and Ben Bradshaw, as well as the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas.
While we’re on the subject of all things Stoke-related, you might be interested in this story on Conservative Home. “Labour will win in Stoke, the Lib Dems will come second” File this predication away for use on the night. Highlighting an article in today’s Observer in which our campaign manager Chris Lovell talks up our chances of unifying the Remain vote, Con Home says:
One further point: ConservativeHome has spoken to a lot of Conservative MPs and others, and they are almost unanimous in saying that the Party is not investing as much manpower in Stoke-on-Trent Central as it is in Copeland.
All of the above gives us many reasons to do all we can to help Zulfiqar Ali get the best possible result in Stoke. Let’s not put any limit on our ambitions. Sign up here to help or here to donate. If you need any extra incentive, word has it that the candidate’s brother makes the most excellent samosas. With those and Sara Bedford’s cakes, this army is definitely marching on its stomach.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings