WATCH: Vince Cable speak at People’s Vote rally in London, slams “insane, inflammatory and dangerous” talk of riots if Brexit doesn’t happen

After all the earlier discussion about the People’s Vote campaign, Vince actually ended up speaking at their big rally at the Excel Centre this afternoon. 2500 people turned up at the rally which was co-hosted with Best for Britain.

Vince called Jeremy Hunt’s comments that there would be riots if we didn’t leave the EU “insane, inflammatory and dangerous.”

He said that we were moving closer to a People’s Vote, which was now even been talked about by Cabinet Ministers as a possibility.

Watch the whole event here – Vince is on at 8 minutes in.

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9 December 2018 – today’s press release

ECJ ruling expected to make clear it is the deal or remain

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has called on Theresa May to “stop scaremongering about a no-deal Brexit” ahead of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on whether the UK can halt Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50.

The ECJ ruling on this case, which Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake and Labour MP Chris Leslie were parties to is expected to come at 8am tomorrow morning (10th Dec).

The Advocate General for the ECJ, Campos Sanchez-Bordona, told the ECJ last week that it should allow the UK …

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Tom Brake MP writes: About that “split” with People’s Vote…

To keep up to date with Brexit developments these days it is best to have social media on a drip-feed. News of resignations, plots, and leadership bids leak out there first.

It was no surprise, then, that social media was the first to pick up last week on an apparent split between the Lib Dems and the People’s Vote campaign. The ‘split’ was a small disagreement over the best way to maximise the prospects of securing a Final Say on the Deal through a People’s Vote.

But social media’s unsurpassed ability to pick up stories as they break is matched by an uncanny capacity to blow them out of all proportions just as quickly. Rarely has a greater storm been whipped up in a tinier tea-cup.

What caused this restlessness? Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to the Prime Minister’s motion, in favour of a People’s Vote. Hardly a breach of the campaign objective!

There is total agreement between the Lib Dems and the People’s Vote on the need to maximise the chances of winning any vote on a People’s Vote amendment. But we can’t choose on Tuesday whether or not that is the moment to maximise support if the whole issue is left off the order paper. As things stand, we can choose whether to move it, based on changing circumstances.

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The Stephen Lloyd case shows there is no room for nuance in politics

Politics ought to be synonymous with good governance, but it’s not. It’s a game you have to play to get into a position where you can practise good governance. Politics doesn’t seem to have any room for nuances or counterintuitive positions, as the case of the Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has shown.

Lloyd is a classic liberal hero. He can thank the NHS for the fact that he can hear anything – indeed that he’s alive – because it saved him when his hearing and his life were seriously threatened as a toddler. He therefore believes in public services through deep personal experience. He also mortgaged and remortgaged his house to allow him to fight the traditionally Conservative stronghold of Eastbourne. He failed to win the seat in 2005, won it in 2010, lost it in 2015, and won it back in 2017.

The way he won it back in 2017 has sown the seeds of his decision to resign the party whip. Bear with me on the detail, because this is very important.

At the start of the 2017 general election campaign, Lloyd worked out that the only way he was going to win Eastbourne was to accept that the Brexit issue was over, and that despite his own views – he was an enthusiastic campaigner for Remain in the 2016 referendum – he would respect the referendum result. He quotes voters who said to him ‘I’d happily have you as my MP but I voted Leave and if you’re our MP you’ll work to scupper Brexit in Parliament.’ He therefore made a pledge that if the government did a withdrawal deal, he would vote for it.

Viewed from today’s perspective, it might be considered rash, but the vantage point at the time was different. The prevailing narrative was that Theresa May had called the election because she knew she’d increase her majority, and the question was merely whether her post-election majority would be 30, 60 or even 100 seats. The idea that she might lose her majority seemed fanciful, and therefore Brexit seemed as good as done.

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Why is the People’s Vote campaign sidelining Lib Dems?

It’s fair to say that some party members have been expressing concern on social media about a perceived detachment between the Liberal Democrats and the People’s Vote campaign.

Why is it that Caroline Lucas is representing the campaign on the Channel 4 debate tonight? Why was Vince missing from the petition event in Downing Street? It’s not a great way to treat the party who kicked off the campaign for a final say on the deal in the Summer of 2016.

Late last week, Liberal Democrat MPs were criticised by the campaign for putting down an amendment to Labour’s amendment calling for a People’s Vote.

The People’s Vote campaign is not backing the move because they want to wait until the deal is rejected because they think that they will have a better chance of securing a referendum then.

They may be right. But in a febrile and unpredictable environment, why wouldn’t you make sure that you have the option of putting it on the agenda?

Paul Waugh is wrong in this report when he says that:

Crucially, it adopts the prime minister’s proposal and just makes it conditional on a second referendum. Unlike other amendments, it does not reject May’s deal.

It doesn’t. It is an amendment to Labour’s amendment so if both were passed, the motion passed by the House would read:

This House declines to approve the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship because itfails to provide for a permanent UK-EU customs union and strong single market deal and would therefore lead to increased barriers to trade in goods and services, would not protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, allows for the diminution of the United Kingdom’s internal and external security and is likely to lead to the implementation of a backstop provision in Northern Ireland that is neither politically nor economically sustainable; declines to approve the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement; and therefore resolves to pursue every option, including a public vote as endorsed by the Labour Party Conference 2018, that prevents the United Kingdom’s either leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement or leaving on the basis of the negotiated withdrawal agreement laid before the House.

We don’t know yet if our amendment will be debated or even put to the vote but we have at least got a People’s Vote on the order paper so that the House has a chance to get it into the mix.  I think we need to trust our people to know what they are doing. They are the ones having the conversations in Parliament and they will know what is possible. 

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Willie Rennie pulls Lib Dems out of Scottish budget negotiations

While all eyes are on a key vote on a proposal put forward by a minority government at Westminster this week, another political drama looms. On Wednesday  the Finance Minister of a minority government at Holyrood will present his budget.

Derek Mackay is going to have a hard time getting his proposals through. All Willie Rennie asked for as a preoondition to negotiaions for Lib Dem support was that they just drop the idea of an independence referendum in this Parliament, fulfilling a key part of our manifesto. It chimes with what we are hearing consistently on doorsteps – that people don’t want to go through 2014 again. They want to concentrate on getting rid of Brexit.

The arguments that all parties apart from the Conservatives, have united behind in the Scottish Parliament against Brexit apply equally to breaking up the UK. While you don’t expect the SNP ever to give up campaigning for independence, keeping it off the agenda for the time being is as sensible for them as it is good for the country.

The SNP lost 21 seats in the 2017 General Election as Scottish people reacted with horror to the prospect, floated by Nicola Sturgeon, of another poll. All tests of opinion so far suggest that they would lose another referendum, which is why they won’t call one. The problem is that if they explicitly say they’ll delay, their own people will kick off.

So they wouldn’t agree Willie’s pre-condition. And so Willie has withdrawn the Lib Dems from the negotiations.

From the BBC:

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said he had met Mr Mackay and Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes on two occasions “to explore what could be done” with the budget.

Mr Rennie said his party had been willing to “step in to help address the problems that have been mounting since the SNP came to power 11 years ago”.

This included investment in education and mental health services, an improved deal for councils and action to help tackle staffing shortages in hospitals and schools.

But he said the talks ended when the SNP politicians “could not agree to even a short cessation in their independence campaign”.

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…What has gone wrong with Crossrail?

I don’t know what the Queen is doing today.

However, I know for certain what she is not doing.

Many months ago it was agreed that Crossrail (the Elizabeth Line) would officially be opened by the Queen today.

The Elizabeth Line, will cover 100 km from Reading and Maidenhead to the west of the capital and Heathrow, through new tunnels under Central London to Woolwich and Abbey Wood in the south-east of the city and Shenfield in Essex.

It will transform rail transport in London and the surrounding region, increasing passenger capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the capital. It will, when finally open, deliver wonderful new trains, 200 metres long, the same length as two football pitches. It will also deliver 10 new stations and key improvements to many others, making all the stations on the route step-free and therefore accessible for everyone.

Yet, sadly all these benefits have been put on hold, while the cost of completing it (and lost passenger income for Transport for London) simply soars.

The costs of completing the project were already escalating earlier this year, but then on the 31 August, barely three months before the official opening of the line, it was suddenly announced that its actual opening date would be sometime in ‘Autumn’ 2019.   We still have no exact revised opening date.

For a project to be delayed, by such a magnitude and so close to its official opening, is quite incredible.

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8 December 2018 – today’s (absence of) press releases

Another day without press releases, I’m afraid, so instead, some music…

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ALDC commentary on last Thursday’s by-elections


We’re back after a busy couple of weeks including our biggest ever Kickstart training weekend. Four by-elections took place yesterday across the UK with Lib Dem candidates standing in all. Two seats were being defended by Lib Dem candidates, one by Labour and one by the Conservatives.

Oxford BC, Wolvercote
LD Liz Wade 998
Con 404
Lab 162
Green 86
Turnout 35.6%
LD Hold
Percentage change from 2018

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Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

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Following concerns from Formula 1 team bosses, reported by Autosport magazine, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has warned that Brexit would “put Britain into the gravel trap”.

Seven of the ten current F1 teams, including world champions Mercedes, are based in the UK.

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Dominic Grieve’s amendment saves us from an uncomfortable Christmas

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Amongst last Tuesday’s excitement of Theresa May attempting a “Charles the First”, it was easy to miss the significance of Dominic Grieve’s Brexit amendment:

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The Economist backs a People’s Vote

A Leader article in this week’s Economist argues for a referendum on Theresa May’s proposed deal:

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Party identifies 14 key MPs who could swing People’s Vote

House of Commons 2010

Christine Jardine has written to party supporters asking them to email 14 key Tory MPs who the party reckons could swing a vote for a People’s Vote in the House of Commons next week. The 14 MPs voted both remain and leave in the 2016 EU referendum and are:

Leave:

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7 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I’ve spent my evening helping Colchester Liberal Democrats to select their new PPC, which is why this is a bit late in the day. I’m hoping that we’ll have their press release tomorrow, which is why I’m not telling you who won… So, without further ado, here are today’s press releases…

  • Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security
  • Liberal Democrats lead the march to a people’s vote
  • Labour must guarantee a people’s vote
  • The Economist backs a people’s vote
  • Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on the Home …

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Don’t forget: Early bird rates for Spring Conference end one week from today

The York Conference will be one of the most historic in our 30 year history, taking place just 2 weeks before we are scheduled to leave the EU.

A lot could happen between now and then, up to and including a General Election or a People’s Vote on the deal.

Whatever happens it is an important opportunity for us to get together and work out what our next steps are.

It is also where the leader’s plans to extend the franchise for leadership elections to a new supporter class will be debated. There are many strong views on both sides of this but one thing that unites us is surely the desire to debate them as cheaply as possible.

So make sure you register by next Friday.

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LibLink:: Christine Jardine: Refugees like Alan Kurdi are still dying in the Med

In her Scotsman column, Christine Jardine highlighted the plight of asylum seekers.

According to the group Medecins Sans Frontieres, there is now no search and rescue taking place in the Mediterranean. Only the Libyan coastguard is picking up people in its waters and taking them to detention centres. So far this year, it is estimated that 1,277 lives have been lost, many of them children. It’s only a little over three years since public opinion in this country and across the globe was outraged by the image of a toddler – three-year-old Alan Kurdi – lying dead in the breaking waves on a Mediterranean beach.

But when those hopeless faces of refugees off the Kent coast appeared on my TV screen this week, I had a moment of doubt. I’m not convinced we are currently living up to the reputation of those previous generations.

She also highlighted the plight of those who do make it here:

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Taking a gamble

There has been a long running and heated debate over the controversial Fixed Odd Betting Terminals that are sited in virtually every betting shop across the country.

The debate centres arround a proposal for restricting the maximum stakes on these machines to £2 down from the current £100.

This is opposed by the gaming industry.

They along with other opponents of the reform argue that it will drive the gambling addicts to online betting and also lead to job losses due to betting shop closures.

It is a fact that the profits from FOBTs have fed the growth in shops often in areas of deprivation and a lot of the people playing them are losing money that they can ill afford to.

So simply reducing the stake may not solve the perceived problem and may also have unintended negative consequences.

Gambling attracts people from all sections of society.

However the group that is of most concern are the cash-strapped unemployed who have time on their hands and spend it in the bookmakers.

The FOBTs appear to offer a route to extra money which is so badly needed.

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Observations of an ex pat: The Holmes Option

Sherlock Holmes offered the solution to the current Brexit conundrum admirably when he told Dr Watson in the Beryl Coronet: “when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

At the moment the two possibilities before parliament are the deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and crashing out with no deal whatsoever. The latter would be the result of the rejection of the first if no plan B, C or D appears on the political horizon.

The first possibility will be rejected by parliament because it turns what used to be imperial Britain into a colony of a Europe dominated by historic enemies France and Germany.  The United Kingdom would be indefinitely tied to the EU and yet left without any say in the rules that govern it. Its ability to strike trade deals with other countries would be severely hampered and Northern Ireland would be effectively hived off. In return, the UK would regain control of its immigration policies.

We will call this deal Option One and, using the Holmes formula, rule it out as it is impossible that parliament will approve it.  So we move to Option Two, a no deal Brexit. First the plus side: Immigration is controlled. Trade deals can be negotiated. Payments to the EU are stopped. The European courts cease to have jurisdiction in Britain. Now the negatives: The economy will shrink by up to nine percent overnight. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost as foreign companies move operations to EU countries. The pound will collapse. Inflation will rise. Troubles could restart in Northern Ireland and tariff barriers would go up between Britain and its main trading partners on the continent.  MPs would, in effect, be voting to make every single one of their constituents substantially poorer.

The only members of the House of Commons likely to consider Option Two are the members of the European Research Group. They total 62 out of 650 MPs. In fact, an overwhelming majority of the House of Commons—450—voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum. So Option Two can be placed firmly into the impossible box.

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6 December 2018 – today’s press releases

You begin to sense the uncertainty emanating from Whitehall, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the governance jungle…

  • Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal
  • Mental Health Review must lead to more investment
  • Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems

Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal

Responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s policy paper on Citizens’ Rights, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Ed Davey said:

The Government has finally admitted that free movement of labour won’t end this March.

The fact they tried to sneak this out shows yet again that people can’t trust anything this

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Rennie, Cole-Hamilton and a racing car. What could possibly go wrong?

When Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton get together in a car, fun and mayhem usually result. Their General Election stunt in a De Lorean was just such an example.

Today they were both at the Scottish Parliament when double Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen, showed up with a racing car to launch a festive campaign to encourage Scots to never drink and drive known as #JointhePact. The initiative encourages people to make a commitment never to get behind the wheel if they’ve had a drink. In the 10 years it has been running, 14 million people have apparently signed up around the world.

Willie and Alex were quick to take over the car.

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Wera Hobhouse: The road to stopping Brexit

As an MP, do I have to vote for any Brexit that is put in front of me in parliament?

My duty in our representative democracy is to listen to the people and respect their views. It is also to use my own informed judgement of what is the best for my constituents and the country as a whole.

So to the question, my answer is no. If any Brexit brought to parliament is, in my judgement bad for my constituents and my country, I should not vote for it.

The Prime Minister is using a different argument. She says we have to leave the EU even if it bad for the country because the people voted for it. She suggests that the dutiful thing for MPs in light of the 2016 referendum is to vote for something that we believe is bad for this country. On the contrary, we have a duty to do the opposite.

Does this mean we defy the will of the people? No, because British democracy is a representative democracy and not just a direct democracy.

What we MPs cannot do on our own, however, in light of the referendum in 2016, is to choose to stay in the EU. We can legitimately reject any particular Brexit deal in accordance with our judgement but we cannot move from there and cancel Brexit by ourselves. This is the true meaning of the referendum result.

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Stephen Lloyd resigns Lib Dem whip over Brexit deal

According to BBC South East’s Helen Catt.

It’s because of what he called “irreconcilable differences” between what he sees as his obligations to his Eastbourne constituents and the party’s anti Brexit position.

Stephen promised his constituents, a majority of whom voted to leave that he wouldn’t block Brexit. Perhaps the party’s mistake was allowing him to stand on that basis in 2017.

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Roger Roberts: Are we to be known as the Canutes of History?

Here is Roger Roberts’ speech to the House of Lords on the Brexit deal. His theme was what sort of life are we setting up for future generations?

Leave and Brexit are about   my seven grandchildren, all your Lordships’ grandchildren and all the children in our country. Will it be better for them to have fewer benefits than we have had, or should we think first of them when we vote on this deal?

Just after the Second World War, the community of Llangollen in north Wales established the international musical festival, which has brought people from many countries together. It still goes on; I spoke only this morning to its press office. This past year it brought applications from 3,919 competitors from 64 locations; it brought together people who had been at enmity ​with one another. As people who have been fighting each other, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we either stretch out to one another in friendship or say we want to carry on building a wall.

When the first eisteddfod was held, one choir hitchhiked from Hungary to reach Llangollen—I find it difficult to think of a choir hitchhiking. The following time, a German choir from Lübeck came over to Llangollen. Members of the choir were not sure what sort of reception they would get because we had been at war. They were going to sing to those who had been their enemies and they were very uncertain. But the compère at the eisteddfod on that day was Hywel Roberts, who greeted them by saying, “We are now going to hear from our German friends”. It has taken a long time to build this: to build relationships and get over the enmity of the past. But it has been done, in many different ways. Will we continue with these feelings of friendship? Will we continue building bridges and not walls?

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Layla, Christine and Ed honoured by the Patchwork Foundation

Every year, the Patchwork Foundation holds its MPs of the Year awards ceremony.

The Patchwork Foundation believes in promoting and highlighting best practice. Each year MPs across the country work closely with diverse communities, with many MPs delivering excellent representation and coverage to otherwise underrepresented segments of society. The Patchwork Foundation rewards those winning MPs – nominated by members of the public or grassroots community organisations and selected by an independent panel of judges – by acknowledging them as the MPs of the Year.

Three Lib Dems, Layla Moran, Christine Jardine and Ed Davey, received awards.

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5 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I see that one of my colleagues has gotten here first… but here’s the list in full…

  • Govt plan to trap Britain on a never-ending Brexit hamster wheel (as published here)
  • Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights
  • Corbyn too in pockets of the unions to back a People’s Vote

Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights

In the Chamber this afternoon, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was asked about lifting the ban on asylum seekers working in the UK.

He said “We currently have no plans to change that arrangement but it is one of the …

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Reminder: Christmas Competition

To celebrate and get in the mood for the festive season I thought that we could have a writing competition.  As many of you (on average at least 4,500 members visit the Lib Dem Voice site every day) write articles, read them or comment I propose a Christmas Article Competition.

The proposed Competition Rules are:

  • An Article should not be more than 550 words;
  • The article in each of the specified areas will be jointly judged by representatives identified as experts in that area by Lib Dem Voice and Lib Dem editors;
  • The starting date for the competition starts as of 28th November to 17th December;
  • The title of your article for the competition should start with the words “Competition: … followed by the title of your article”

Basic criteria when assessing each article will be:

  • The originality of the article;
  • That the article is within the stipulated maximise length required (550 words);
  • Generally, how well has the article presented its argument on the subject matter;
  • We will only accept one submission for each subject area per person (as stated below);
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5th December 2018

Todays Press releases (so far):

  • Govt plan to trap Britain on a never-ending Brexit hamster wheel
  • Brexit TV debate

Three defeats for the government yesterday and the truth about legal advice given, which adds to how the Brexit deal is unraveling. Labour has effectively pulled out of the debate with the BBC. Below are the communiqué received today from the party…

  

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COMPETITION: WHY BE A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT

As a party with a long history we embrace the principles of Liberalism and since the merger with the SDP those of social democrats as well.

Outsiders often lazily describe the party as having liberal and social democratic wings.

The reality, of course, is a lot more complicated.

Internal pressure groups like the Social Liberal Forum and Liberal Reform represent different strands of thought within the party, but they are not disciplined organised groups.

Amongst our MPs, it has been a practice to align individuals regarding their attitude to the ground-breaking Orange Book.

If you are one of those who wrote for that particular publication, you will almost certainly find yourself described as an economic liberal.

Again, that is far too simplistic.

Charles Kennedy wrote the forward to that publication, and Vince Cable was one of the contributors.

Both come from the social democrat tradition.

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Who will Succeed Theresa May?

December 11th is when the government will present the Brexit deal that they have been negotiating for the last eighteen months to parliament. The EU has said that it’s this deal or no deal. The boasting of Tory ministers on TV programmes about six months ago that a no deal would be better than a bad deal may be a reality, and most sane politicians are more than worried regarding this outcome. If the deal is rejected on 11th December, there is no time to renegotiate another deal. There is effectively now no time to have a referendum, before we leave on March 29th, as a minimum of 10 weeks is required for any referendum and that’s after getting the legislation through parliament. If Theresa May does not get the Brexit deal through parliament, there is no time to ask the EU for an extension as that agreement needs to be accepted by the other 27 nations. To even have a general election if there is a vote of no confidence, parliament will have to alter the Fixed Term parliament act and the general election will not be before we have to leave the EU. The position we find ourselves in is perilous and the chance of automatically leaving the EU on 29th March 2019 (cliff edge Brexit) is becoming a dangerous possibility.

I can’t see how May is going to square the circle under these circumstances. It is more than likely that May will fail on 11th December to get her deal accepted by parliament. It’s then very possible that Graham Brady (Chair of the 1922 committee) will get the 48 letters from MP’s to trigger a leadership election. Alternatively, May could face a vote of no confidence. Even if she wins that but it’s close, she may well feel obliged to step down.

So, who would succeed Theresa May?

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4 December 2018 – today’s press releases

It perhaps tells you all that you need to know about the state of our politics when the Government is found to have acted in contempt of Parliament and yet, hours later, nobody has resigned. But you can guess what’s dominating today…

  • Lib Dems demand urgent action on prisons crisis (already covered here)
  • UK can get out of Brexit mess
  • Moran: Govt is fostering a culture of senseless competition in our schools
  • Cable: Legal advice must be published urgently
  • Parliament wins back control, but people must have their say
  • Cable: Bring country together with a People’s Vote

UK can get out of Brexit mess

Responding to the …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 10th Dec - 12:10am
    The last thing we need is any hint of squabbling within the growing People's Vote campaign of which we Lib Dems are clearly an integral...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 10th Dec - 12:01am
    I don't think that People's Vote is sidelining the Liberal Democrats. The issue is that the amendment does not have cross party support or the...
  • User Avatarfrankie 9th Dec - 10:45pm
    Interesting to see the much vaunted Betrayal of Brexit managed to garner 500 more people than a meeting in the Excel Centre. They lack the...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 9th Dec - 10:43pm
    My good friend Bill le Breton is wrong again in this thread! Twice in a row!! Perhaps I should have a good talk with him...
  • User AvatarTonyH 9th Dec - 10:27pm
    I agree that Caroline Lucas is a better public advocate than Vince. I don't agree that she is better than Layla or Christine or Tom....
  • User Avatarmarcstevens 9th Dec - 9:34pm
    Well if that's the case with a former cabinet minister eg Vince not portraying the right image, though I don't believe that, there are plenty...