Tag Archives: nick clegg

EXCLUSIVE: Nick Clegg on Brexit and Scottish independence: Everybody loses

Nick Clegg talked earlier this week about the possibility of a second independence referendum in Scotland following the Brexit vote. This has been construed in some quarters as implied support of independence.  He has written to Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie to enthusiastically endorse the position he has taken – that the Liberal Democrats will campaign to keep Scotland in both the UK and the EU. Independence, he says, would only compound the problems of Brexit meaning that everybody loses.

Here is his letter in full:

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Clegg interview-bombs as Farron parks tanks on Tory lawn

Back in the day, the run-up to Conference used to include Tim Farron grabbing some headlines with his pre-conference interview. Remember the cockroaches one? I’m not entirely sure that the Clegg press office was wildly chuffed with that one.

Thers a certain irony this week, as  the run-up to Conference is punctuated with numerous forays by Nick Clegg in the media as he publicises his book, published tomorrow. He’s doing the interview equivalent of a photobomb.

Yesterday, he clearly had a very good lunch with the press gallery. He said a lot of very pertinent things on Brexit including a prediction that Liam Fox will resign in a huff.  Perhaps it might have been wiser to laugh off questions about whether he would fight his Sheffield Hallam constituency again with something like: “Lib Dems are doing really well in Sheffield at the moment. Did you see that by-election we won from fourth last week?”

While he stated that he didn’t much like nationalism and wanted the UK to stay together, his remarks that a future referendum on Scottish independence would be difficult to fight given the strength of the Remain vote perhaps misunderstand the situation in Scotland. A poll just yesterday showed that little had changed in the two years since the Referendum and two weeks ago, half of Scots polled opposed a second referendum. And before anyone suggests that there is a contradiction between opposing an independence referendum and wanting a referendum on the Brexit deal, there isn’t. 

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WATCH: Nick Clegg on the rise of populist parties and READ his paper on European trade

Nick Clegg is everywhere in the media at the moment as he publicises his book which is published next week.

Tonight he was on Channel 4 News talking about the challenge to reasonable, moderate politics posed by populists parties who use the politics of fear and blame.

Watch the interview below:


He linked this to the fact that Parliament may have to leave the Palace of Westminster while repairs are carried out to this. He reckons leaving the “rat-infested, asbestos ridden” place might help to drag our democracy into the 21st century.

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Farron: PM must clear up David Davis’s single market mess

Yesterday, Brexit Secretary David Davis made his first parliamentary statement since his appointment and it didn’t reveal very much. Our EU spokesperson was not impressed:

Paul Walter found some cause for optimism but there were also some very worrying aspects.of his answers to questions from 85 backbenchers.

He stated that full access to the single market was “very improbable.”

I am saying that this Government are looking at every option, but the simple truth is that if a requirement of membership is giving up control of our borders, then I think that makes that very improbable.

Tim Farron has written to Theresa May to ask her to clarify exactly what he meant. Is the Government actually giving up on the single market before we even start? If so, that is a real disaster for the country.

Tim said:

David Davis yesterday seemed to rule out membership of the single market for access, in a statement, from the government, at the dispatch box.  I know it has been a while since he was on the front bench and he might be rusty but these things matter.

The public need to know if ideological zeal is threatening our economic security.  It is time for the Prime Minister to step in and clear up the mess.

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Clegg in the Guardian: “Why on earth would you not want to try and do s**t?”

We’re going to be hearing quite a lot from Nick Clegg over the next couple of weeks in the run up to his book being published on 15 September.

Today he has a long interview with the Guardian in which he talks at length about some of the key moments of the Coalition. Just to get this over with. I come from the Highlands of Scotland. If any journalist had written about some of the villages I love in the same patronising way that Clegg’s interviewer, Simon Hattenstone, did about Miriam’s home town in Spain, I’d be furious.

Whilst I have often disagreed with decisions that Nick took during the Coalition years, I stand by my long held view that he was often unfairly criticised, too. We can see with ever-increasing clarity that he brought a lot of common sense and stability to government. The minute he and the Liberal Democrats vacated Whitehall, everything started to fall apart. We are suffering the consequences of an arrogant Tory party governing exclusively in its own interests.

Naivety

Any feeling that we might have had that we could have been a lot better prepared for the realities of government is confirmed by the interview. However, the caveat is, of course, that we onlookers have the benefit of hindsight now and detachment at the time. Nick does admit to what appears to be astonishing naivety. It perhaps underlines the fact that he should maybe have had more people around him who had spent years fighting the Tories and knew first hand what they were capable of.

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Liberal Democrats must enthusiastically occupy the clear pro EU space – nobody else will

The Liberal Democrats have historically been enthusiastically pro EU. The strength of that enthusiasm, it’s fair to say, has not always been uniform. While a small number of Liberal Democrats campaigned to leave the EU, the vast majority of us wanted to remain. That was very clear to the tens of thousands who have joined us in the aftermath of the vote to leave.

As a party during the referendum, we did more than any other to campaign for a Remain vote. That’s quite a staggering achievement given our size and resources compared to the Labour party.

However, there are signs now that the consensus is starting to develop some fault lines. Our position in the aftermath of the referendum has been very clear. We campaign to stay or go back in to the EU at the next election. We want the voters to have their say on the Brexit deal. It’s only polite, really, given that they weren’t given any indication about what it would look like before they voted.

I don’t want to over-egg this particular pudding, but it looks like our general unity as a party on this is now under threat. Many Liberal Democrats  have been very concerned to see that Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg have endorsed Open Britain, the organisation formerly known as Britain Stronger in Europe.  Open Britain accepts the referendum result as final even though they also accept that nobody knows what they actually voted for. They will not be calling for a second referendum which seems to be a bizarre and contradictory stance to me.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: The honeymoon will be short if Theresa May can’t tame the Tory right

In his regular column for the Standard, Nick Clegg predicts that the current harmony in the Conservative Party will be short-lived and they will soon be just as divided as Labour again as the dogma of the Brexiteers gets in the way of what is actually good for the country.

The signs of trouble are already there.

Stories have emerged that the awkward squad on the Tory backbenches are organising themselves to oppose anything other than a “hard Brexit”, whatever that means. And their outliers in the press, such as columnist Melanie Phillips, are already issuing breathless warnings that there will be a “revolt” if May doesn’t do exactly as they say.

He describes an encounter with two of the main proponents of Brexit.

When I recently bumped into Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan — two arch-Brexiteers — I pointed out that they are now key members of the new Brexit elite which runs our country. They both looked startled.

They have spent so long acting as anti-establishment insurgents that they are clearly unprepared for the responsibility that comes with actually getting their way.

This mirrors the ashen faces of Gove and Boris on 24th June.

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