Liberal Leave campaign

LiberalLeave

We’ve been asked about the Liberal Leave campaign, which is working for a “No” vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.

The campaign has a Facebook page, a website and a Twitter feed.

The Facebook page features a couple of pieces of literature being given out by supporters at the York conference. One of them is on the right and, together with the Liberal Leave website, tells us about some of the people supporting the campaign:

  • Paul Keetch, former MP for Hereford
  • Anne Cremin, student in Oxford
  • Charles Anglin, former Parliamentary Candidate for Vauxhall
  • Luis Lopez, student in London
  • Councillor Charles Shaw, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Lincolnshire
  • Mark Pursey, a former councillor and member of the (then) Young Liberal Democrats national executive.
  • Councillor Mark Wyatt, a councillor in Leicestershire
  • Torrin Wilkins, a Lib Dem member in Hertfordshire

Last Monday, Paul Keetch wrote an article for the Independent entitled: “Think that if you are liberal you should vote to stay in the EU? Think again“, which included this:

At the core of our principles lies the belief that power should be held as close as possible to individuals and their communities and that those who wield that power should be accountable to it.

In the European Union, true power is held behind closed doors in the Council of Ministers, who make decisions away from the cameras and above the heads of voters. How can I continually advocate the devolution of power from Whitehall to local government, while applauding the transfer of power from our flawed but elected parliament to an unelected and unaccountable EU bureaucracy?

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. As part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team he helps with photos and moderation on the site, as well as occsionally contributing articles. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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54 Comments

  • Alex Woodman 12th Mar '16 - 7:11pm

    “our flawed but elected parliament”? How strange. I must have missed the election for the House of Lords.

  • Alex Wasyliw 12th Mar '16 - 7:21pm

    What this council of ministers where “All discussions & votes take place in public.”
    http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/council-eu/index_en.htm

  • Peter Watson 12th Mar '16 - 8:55pm

    @John Marriott “It’s pointless arguing with outers. … We should not waste our ammunition on trying to convert the inconvertible”
    To be fair, I’m sure the outers feel the same about the inners!
    I think that publicising the “Liberal Leave” campaign is important. If the party is entirely associated with one side of the debate it risks alienating half of the electorate without attracting the other half who still have a place in the other divided parties.

  • This just highlights how the LibDems seem to pick up some people who just shouldn’t be in the party, but think it’ll get them on the council. Calling it ‘Liberal’, (what I understand is known in other contexts nowadays as ‘deadnaming), and not Liberal Democrat, probably shows how in touch they are.

  • Chris,

    Are you saying Outers have no place in the party?

  • Mark Raybould 12th Mar '16 - 9:52pm

    As a Liberal Democrat supporter who’s come to the decision I will likely vote Leave in this EU referendum, I’m relieved to see this. I am rather frustrated with our party’s blanket message that we are wholly for remain, which isn’t true. I except we’re in a minority but we do exist. Normally we do everything in our power to be inclusive, but apparently not when it comes to the EU within the party itself. Debate is quickly shot down and it’s very disappointing. Good on you all for getting a stall together, not easy in such an environment.

  • Peter Watson 12th Mar '16 - 9:53pm

    @Chris “This just highlights how the LibDems seem to pick up some people who just shouldn’t be in the party”
    Why?
    I can understand some of the arguments for in and for out, and I can understand why the country is divided and why many people (myself included) are uncertain. But I cannot understand why “In” should be a fundamental principle of being a Lib Dem.

  • I recall that a group was formed to campaign for a no vote by Liberals in the referendum on membership of the Common Market in 1975, so nothing new here.

  • The name “Lincolnshire” rings a bell. When I briefly lived nearby, I stumbled upon Boston. It was a delight for me to speak Lithuanian (at stock up) in the Lithuanian grocery, Polish in a Polish one (there are several), and Russian in the Latvian shop. However, I understand that becoming (searching for a PC wording, but finding none) a EuroBirmingham in a few short years is less amusing to the locals, than it is for an immigrant from Eastern Europe like me. And I don’t want to judge them.

  • I’m in the closet about being on Leave side. I’ve done a blog about it https://wordpress.com/post/renegadeliberal.wordpress.com/4
    Happy to change but i’ve done too much thinking and have even surprised myself

  • I don’t have a problem with a LibDem Leave campaign existing, even if I don’t agree with it.

    It’s not membership of the EU in itself that is the issue from a liberal point of view, it is the effect on the lives of ordinary people that count. The EU is far from perfect, and there is a reasonable liberal argument that being part of it puts some decision making even further away and less accountable to ordinary people.

    I personally believe that the positives outweight the negatives and would prefer to try to improve it from the inside.

  • Allan Brame 13th Mar '16 - 7:34am

    One of the founding principles of the SDP was support for the EU, as spelt out in the Limehouse Declaration:
    “Britain needs to recover its self-confidence and be outward-looking, rather than isolationist, xenophobic or neutralist.

    We want Britain to play a full and constructive role within the framework of the European Community, Nato, the United Nations and the Commonwealth”

    As a Liberal in 1981, I was interested to see a rival party espousing so many of our principles.
    Of course it is healthy to have dissenting voices, but given the history of both our founding parties, it is no surprise that the majority of us are instinctively pro-EU

  • I thought the Liberal Party (1989) has been for Leave for quite some years now.

  • “At the core of our principles lies the belief that power should be held as close as possible to individuals and their communities and that those who wield that power should be accountable to it.”
    Tell that to the multi-national companies.

  • Julian Tisi 13th Mar '16 - 8:27am

    What I admired about Paul Keetch’s article is that it approached the subject from a liberal standpoint. His core point about the Council of Ministers being an unelected bureacracy is flawed though, suffering from a basic lack of understanding of how the EU works. The Council of Ministers is what it says on the tin, made up of ministers, not bureaucrats. This wasn’t the only basic error in his article. But the general point is that Paul is clearly a committed liberal who should be as welcome I the party as anyone else.

  • Allan Brame 13th Mar '16 - 9:21am

    @Manfarang do you really think an isolated UK (probably minus Scotland) would be more effective at controlling the multinationals?

  • Allan
    One of the reasons I believe Britain should remain in the EU is that the EU can limit the
    power of the multi-national companies.

  • Cllr Mark
    It is unacceptable for this group to give the impression through their website that it is part of the Liberal Democrats when in fact it isn’t.
    The EU negotiate trade agreements with many non-European countries. The EU is truly an Internationalist organisation. The government in Thailand has cracked down on the illegal practices in the fishing industry as a result of pressure from the EU.

  • John Barrett 13th Mar '16 - 12:59pm

    Now that the AWS and Diversity debate is over, hopefully we will now see a good debate on LDV from both sides in the EU Referendum debate.

    Unfortunately, many campaigning for both In and Out are coming up with exactly the same arguments to justify their reasons for staying or going. The economy will be improved if we stay and if we leave, both sides say.

    Those who have already decided either way are now using whatever “facts” they can get to back up their own side of the argument.

    This is exactly what happened in Scotland during the referendum on independence, with the SNP saying that everything would be better if we left the UK while the other side said exactly the opposite in that everything would be much worse if we did vote for separation. Neither side told the truth. A touch of honesty on both sides would have helped their cases and interestingly enough Nicola Sturgeon has been quoted this weekend saying exactly that. I do not agree with much of what she says, but the SNP are shrewd operators and do recognise where some of their weaknesses are.

    Both sides of the EU argument need to up their game and concentrate on what might have an impact on the undecideds, rather than simply appealing to their own supporters and to those who will not change their minds.

    Many Liberal Democrats (like me) could be convinced either way, as I can see many reasons for remaining in the EU and many others for leaving, but I have yet to hear an argument which is of the quality we deserve, in order to make the decision easier than it presently is.

    Hopefully those who contribute on Lib-Dem Voice will make clear rational arguments on both sides of the debate, as they did in the debate on Diversity and AWS.

  • John Barret
    The improvement of the British economy depends on many factors some of which aren’t related to whether Britain is in or out of the EU.
    The world economy is changing , with Asia rising. Accessing the Chinese market is difficult and other parts of the world are forming economic unions which will leave an isolated Britain at a disadvantage.

  • Conor McGovern 13th Mar '16 - 4:48pm

    Refreshing to see a committed Liberal make a case for leaving the EU. I’ve been wavering both ways lately but decided on voting to leave. Mr Keetch’s points about the EU tariff zone blocking out African trade and the EU blocking out Middle Eastern refugees, on top of the way Greece and other people have been treated, points to this organisation as being fundamentally illiberal and undemocratic. I don’t want us to be on the margins, or a tax haven like Switzerland, but if Brexit can be the first step on the way to forming a simpler, fairer, more liberal coalition for the people of Europe then I’ll vote for it.

  • Denis Loretto 13th Mar '16 - 10:44pm

    We cannot call ourselves liberal and then argue that a wish to vote “leave” in this referendum is incompatible with party membership. Indeed just about every thread on an EU theme on LDV will have one or more anti-EU posts in it. However we should be in no doubt as to what our decided and overwhelmingly supported party policy is and how important it is for this to be convincingly promulgated, especially between now and June 23. While therefore there must be no question of rejecting the minority who think otherwise there is no good case for manufacturing some sort of parity of coverage between them and the majority.

    For me the myriad of reasons for believing and campaigning for “remain in” “eaAmomng

  • Denis Loretto 13th Mar '16 - 10:51pm

    Sorry – hit the “post” button too soon. My last sentence should be – For me the myriad of reasons for believing and campaigning for “remain in” include that I cannot regard our commitment to reaching out to others and working with them to make our society better and more liberal as terminating at the borders of the UK and I do not think rejecting the imperfect EU as it is will in any way lead to some sort of more idealised form of co-operation in our continent.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Mar '16 - 11:07pm

    EU outers should definitely be welcome and in fact the party should reach out to them.

    Of course you can say “we believe in staying in the EU”, but you can still say there is a place in the party for those who believe otherwise.

  • Peter Watson 13th Mar '16 - 11:31pm

    At the moment on Lib Dem Voice, it does appear as if fracking, all-women shortlists, and EU membership are opening up fault lines within the party. In each case members appear to want the same outcome (overall reduction in CO2 emissions, increased diversity, a more liberal and prosperous nation) but have profound disagreements over how best to proceed.
    Before May 2015 it seemed that “Cleggism” was what divided the party, but I now wonder if that might have been a unifying influence compared to what has happened since!

  • One thing that surprises me is that the Lib Dem Leave campaign does not seem to be trying very hard. LDV had to go to the trouble to print this on their own initiative rather than being supplied by an article by the Leave campaign.

  • Geoffrey Payne
    Maybe that is because Liberal Leave isn’t Liberal Democrat Leave.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Mar '16 - 12:53am

    As someone who asked Paul and the team if they could provide some information on this campaign, I am delighted with this. LDV are very good at representing a range of views.I think the wider party needs to on this issue.In a rather negative coverage on The Daily Politics , Andrew Neil and Caroline Pigeon refered to Paul Keech as probably on his own on this , in the party .Wrong ! As has been said above , a definite ,about 20 %, in fact , of our supporters are for leaving the EU.Some of us are in the middle, between Europhile and Europhobe !

    Anyone above casting doubt on the validity of the service to their communities , and our party , of the initial activists in the Leave campaign , are doing themselves, our party , and the individual anti EU campaign Liberal Democrats , a real disservice .The featured members of the campaign are a good mix of activists , and Paul Keech , who chairs it , was our party defence spokesman during the Iraq war and deserves respect for that , and his activism in Liberal International.

    The party would be better served electorally and morally ,by showing it is internationalist, not nationalist , even on this issue , and is united in that , but that it has a view other than pro Eu , which is an organisation , not a place !

  • Again the EU is an internationalist organisation, not solely about Europe.
    Thailand is the EU’s third largest trading partner despite the country’s internal challenges. EABC president Rolf-Dieter stated that the EU wanted to intensify its relationship with Asean and he has reaffirmed its commitment to deepening economic relations between the two regions.

  • Nick Hopkinson 14th Mar '16 - 7:24am

    Mr Keetch is surprisingly unaware of the EU’s subsidiary principle which mirrors our values. More Leave misinformation.

  • Glad LDV published this. Suspect support for Leave is stronger in the Party than many admit : “The Leave that dare not speak its name” . Keetch’s article is good and this is one of the best bits:

    “Some progressives argue that the EU forces us to enact regulations, from environmental standards to labour laws, that our elected representatives otherwise would not. However seemingly benign, this undermines the very principle of liberal democracy.”

  • John Barrett 14th Mar '16 - 12:09pm

    When the party decided to join the Better Together campaign with Labour and Conservatives in Scotland, Willie Rennie said he could count those members who would vote “Yes” on the fingers of one hand.

    After the referendum, I was told by the Convenor of the Party in Scotland it was estimated that around 30% of our party members had in fact voted against the party line and voted “Yes” for independence.

    There is a danger that the same mistake will be repeated in the EU debate, if spokesmen and women think that those in favour of leaving are “on their own.” as Caroline Pigeon said.

    Nick’s enthusiasm for Europe was not shared by many, who remained silent during his time as leader, when he often waxed lyrical about many issues including the importance of Turkey joining the EU. Events since then have shown up many other concerns.

    Whatever the result of the EU referendum, party members will vote both ways, as they do on most issues of policy. In my 30 plus years in the party many policies have changed, or have been reversed, and as I have not changed my views on most issues, I now find myself opposing our present position on; tuition fees, Trident, nuclear energy and more.

    It does not mean there is no place for those members who oppose the party line on the EU, or any other (current) policy of the party, or that they are less committed to the principles which make them Liberal Democrats.

    When the SDP were formed, one member told me that he joined the SDP and not the Liberals, because he only believed in 90% of our policies.

    I replied that I had never met a Liberal who agreed with as much as 90% of our own policies.

  • Peter Watson 14th Mar '16 - 1:16pm

    @John Barrett “There is a danger that the same mistake will be repeated in the EU debate”
    Being on the winning side of the Independence referendum did the Lib Dems no good in the subsequent General Election, so even a vote to “Remain” might not help if the party is seen to be only on one side of the debate.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Mar '16 - 3:13pm

    John Barrett and Peter Watson

    What sensible and well put words !

    We are a Liberal and Democratic party , therefore one of individual views and decisions on policy reached together .This is not a policy , it is a referendum , we vote as we decide as individuals .
    Certain very key matters are inclining me towards supporting the new campaign , Liberal Leave , our party members and supporters wanting to leave yet more intransigence and top down government behind . I have learnt to my personal disappointment , how out of touch the EU sometimes is.Yet I do so because of my belief in philosophy of life and politics , nothing to do with national disgruntlement ,and much to do with Liberal Democracy .

  • Paul Keech has always been dodgy on the EU. So this is no surprise.

  • I dream of a democratic Federal Europe, with a federal government responsible to a parliament working within a constitution that provides substantial devolution to the member states.

    But I sympathise with the leave campaign, for the current set-up seems the worst of all.

    It may present a semblance of democracy but in reality the EU Parliament is intentionally weak. The ministers who compose the EU council systematically avoid responsibility for their decisions. The Commission, run by politicians rather than competent civil servants, complete with its own President (for heaven’s sake, the EU institutions have three of them!) has exploited the ensuing power vacuum to impose frequently poorly drafted legislation it often bullies through Parliament and Council (through a process known as Trilogue).

    Meanwhile, markets are far from truly open and not just in services; how come consumers are barred from buying many products from other member states? And what about the variability in the protection of basic human rights; for example, France refuses ethnic monitoring thereby allowing indirect discrimination to run rife.

    So even a committed federalist finds an awful lot wrong with the EU. In fact, I would seriously consider voting to leave, except for the conviction that post-Brexit trade negotiations would be nasty. I’ve no doubt that the Commission’s stance would be politically driven, to ensure no other state be tempted to follow the UK’s example and to save its political face at whatever cost.

    I would be more positive if the LibDems stated clearly what should be done to make the EU more democratic, what changes are required to achieve a truly single market and how better to protect civil rights. I believe a good start can be found in the 2014 ALDE manifesto.

    Please, could our leadership take note?

  • Alan
    “how come consumers are barred from buying many products from other member states?”
    Examples?

  • Alan Depauw 15th Mar '16 - 9:44am

    Manfarang:
    As quick examples, just consult Amazon UK’s delivery restrictions. I’ve come across many more, especially from UK suppliers (I live in France).

    Or copyright laws that differ wildly; e.g. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s wonderful “Le Petit Prince” is free of copyright everywhere in Europe… except in his native country, France.

    Or for electronic cigarette users, a new Directive is creating a very uneven market; e.g. the consumers of some states like Belgium, but not others, will be forbidden from purchasing them on line from elsewhere in the EU.

    Or intra-EU package delivery costs that are all over the place, something the EU has promised to do something about, but will they faced with some states seeking to protect their nationalised postal services?

    According to the EU Commission, only 15% of Europeans buy on line from other EU states and only 7% of SMEs sell abroad. So there is much to be gained by further liberalisation, a policy area custom made for LibDem leadership.

  • John Barrett 15th Mar '16 - 10:41am

    If the UK votes in the referendum to leave the EU, presumably we will remain in and with all existing treaties and trade arrangements in place until something else is agreed by both sides in the negotiations which would follow.

    If this takes a long time to settle, does this mean that we have an indefinite length of time, or at least years, to remain in – until we are actually out?

    No doubt people will say “the markets” will not like this period of uncertainty, but if we change the word “markets” to “speculators” we might not feel under the same pressure to provide a quick fix, as we were during the coalition negotiations.

    As I have said before, I am genuinely open to being persuaded either way on the referendum and look forward to hearing both sides views on the above issue.

  • Richard Underhill 15th Mar '16 - 10:54am

    Denis Loretto 13th Mar ’16 – 10:44pm I agree with Denis.
    I would also like to point out that Boris Johnson is being selective in his arguments again. There is a diversity of opinion in the USA, as has often been explained, so it is counter-factual to imply some sort of conformity. He should take a look at what the USA actually does and note what Mark Twain wrote about the military actions in the Philippines which are consistent with the actions of George W Bush (son of George H W Bush) in invading Iraq.
    For the USA to refuse to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court should be a matter of shame and not of pride or admiration, similarly on climate change, where the USA is not exempt from the actions of the sun, the winds and the waves.
    In avoiding dictatorship and monarchy they have tended towards making the USA ungovernable. Consider how long they have struggled with the health issue. A freshly elected President wanted to close Guantanamo Bay but did not and now cannot.
    We do not want the EU to be a United States of Europe. We want a European politic, responding to circumstances occurring here in Europe.

  • Richard Underhill 15th Mar '16 - 10:56am

    Alan Depauw 15th Mar ’16 – 12:47am Yes and the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a naturally federal country.

  • Denis Loretto 15th Mar '16 - 12:40pm

    A couple of points arising from posts on this thread –
    David says “Some progressives argue that the EU forces us to enact regulations……….that our elected representatives otherwise would not. However seemingly benign, this undermines the very principle of liberal democracy.” Does David think absolutely everything should be decided at Westminster level? We belong to many international bodies that commit us to serious action. For example if a fellow NATO member is invaded we go to war, no ifs no buts. You can’t give up a more serious slice of sovereignty than that. And we don’t even have a NATO equivalent of the elected European parliament to give our people any say.

    John Barrett asks how long we would have to attempt to negotiate a new relationship with the EU if we apply to leave. The answer is clearly stated in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty –

    “1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

    2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.”

    In other words we have only 2 years unless every one of the 27 remaining EU members (some of whom have little trade with the UK) permits an extension. While it may be said that our erstwhile partners would want to avoid the debacle which would result from summary expulsion of the UK from the single market look at the bargaining position this gives them.

  • Richard Underhill 15th Mar '16 - 1:07pm

    A poll in the Telegraph on 15/3/16 goes into depths such as current likelihood to vote.
    There is a small advantage for Leave, so Remain should not be complacent.
    The poll is not a forecast, so there is all to play for.
    Many people want more information before making a final decision, as happened in the Scottish referendum.

  • Being ‘internationalist’ in some sense apparently gets the EU a free pass with the party establishment. As far as I can tell it’s deemed OK to be in love with a dream and perfectly acceptable not to let gritty reality intrude. What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, for one thing membership. Where I lived while the introduction of the Euro was being debated we lost a substantial proportion of our membership who either became inactive or lapsed their membership so underlying opposition to the party’s “gung ho for the status quo” policy must be well above the 20% figure quoted above.

    And those leavers were right to be worried as events since have proved. It was accurately predicted by many that the euro would be an epic disaster and so it has proved right across southern Europe where it has blighted a generation with no respite in sight. It will eventually collapse but, because of strong political support, I fear this will only be after many more lives have been devastated.

    I am astonished at how sterile Lib Dem discussion has always been and remains even now; the party establishment apparently can’t conceive of any alternative beyond “In” or “Out”. But why? We don’t uncritically support the existing governance of the UK simply because it exists but have always argued for voting reform and Lords reform so why not “EU Reform”? Disenchantment with the EU status quo is growing fast across Europe ad a sensible proposal could potentially garner wide support.

    And I think this tells us something else important. The party’s way of making policy is totally broken, so badly in fact that the whole party simply isn’t fit for purpose as the voters have clearly concluded. The leader, the FE and/or the FPC should have sorted this years ago. It won’t make me popular to say so but they have some serious explaining to do.

  • Nick Hopkinson, “ Mr Keetch is surprisingly unaware of the EU’s subsidiary principle which mirrors our values.”

    The thing about a “subsidiarity principle” is that it has to be very visible and absolutely fundamental to the institutional architecture to work at all. It needs ‘hard’ formal mechanisms (as opposed to vague declarations of intent) to ensure that decisions really are taken at the lowest possible level (which is of course a judgement call) or senior politicians and/or bureaucrats will manoeuvre so that they control all the strings. Then it’s goodbye to subsidiarity except as a polite fiction.

    The US does this partly via the 10th amendment, namely: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Despite this the backsliding has been immense and it is routinely ignored when it suits the power elite.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    The EU has no equivalent though it tries to pretend it has. For example during the Maastricht Treaty negotiations (which I happen to remember well because I had taken time off to do some decorating so I listened to Radio 4 a lot) when John Major got into trouble with the so-called “bastards” he suddenly produced subsidiarity like a rabbit out of a hat claiming it was in the treaty so everything was fine. So I read the treaty and, sure enough, it’s included in the preamble and in Article 3b but it’s a horribly weak definition that leaves much open to interpretation and leaves member states toothless so I was amazed that Major got away with it – but he did.

    Bringing it up to date, one of the things that really angers many sceptics is the remorseless creeping centralisation of the EU despite the fine words of the treaty. That’s why “ever greater union” causes so much anger.

    Which raises a thought. Why don’t Lib Dems harness that sentiment to drive for a really toothy implementation of subsidiarity? I think that would be pushing on an open door (except in Brussels!) and it would actually be a liberal policy.

  • Alan Depauw 16th Mar '16 - 8:15am

    Gordon: Thanks for this great argument that “EU Reform” should be the LibDem clarion call. It presupposes, however, that Britain stays in the EU as it can hardly lead change from without.

  • Paul Keetch 4th Apr '16 - 8:35pm

    lets just keep this friendly and non personal. P

  • Noel Hadjimichael 30th May '16 - 9:15pm

    As a new resident in the UK with voting rights I am keen to see both sides of the debate given exposure and robust examination. It is no suprise that many of us who are centrists, moderates, liberals in either the Orange Book or Social sense or just plain interested in the political process want to see all parties (especially the Lib Dems) give their supporters the space and freedom to articulate to address what may be the most significant poll since the 1945 Beveridge Report landslide for Labour. We Australians do expect a big poll and favour high levels of participation and it would be great for Liberal Leave to have its position spelt out and given prominence. I suspect that one in four Lib Dems may finish up voting Leave and in some parts of the UK one in two. The liberal tradition would be to favour more rather than less transparency. London’s South West will be a battleground for sure.

  • I was so happy to see that there are people within the party who felt we should leave, I whole heartedly agree with this! I think it’s sad to read some comments about how we that are planning to vote leave are not true liberal democrats, one of the reasons I became a member was because I believe in choices and freedom to choose and to not be excluded because of that choice, it seems that some here would rather push us out of the party. I think it’s sad that the party don’t seem to officially respect our choice instead, the website is very pro and even our local council leaflet I delivered was pro Euro, makes it difficult for someone voting leave

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