Prospects for an early General Election and a referendum on the terms of Brexit  

In the previous three posts in this series, I examined the Brexit legislative process, prospects for the EU negotiations, and the state of public opinion and Labour on Brexit. Lastly, what are the prospects for a referendum on the terms of any deal and an early General Election stemming from the ongoing Brexit crisis?

Nigel Farage recently toyed with the possibility of a ‘second’ referendum. Whilst ostensibly suggesting it might settle the Brexit debate for a generation, his real motivation is to have a referendum before the poor withdrawal deal being negotiated becomes obvious to a substantial majority of voters, and while the two largest parties maintain their ‘have your cake and eat it too’ support for Brexit. Some argue, perhaps even more importantly, that a referendum allows Farage another chance to be in the national spotlight, perhaps again as UKIP leader.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | 9 Comments
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The Expiry Date of a Referendum Result

There are two democratic principles that, taken together, demand a referendum on the deal. The first is that a democratic decision should be enforced, and the second is that no democratic decision has an indefinite mandate.

The first principle, taken alone, is being used by the Conservatives and Labour to oppose a referendum on the deal. This is the argument:

In 2015 the Conservatives won the general election promising a referendum. The 2015 parliament voted to hold this referendum. In 2016 a referendum was held. In 2017 the same parliament voted to trigger Article 50.

The process has constitutional legitimacy at every stage.

What …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 40 Comments

Inquiry needed into questionable decisions around Carillion – Cable

Responding to reports that Carillion is to go into liquidation, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

In the light of today’s announcement that Carillion plc has gone into liquidation, Vince Cable has called for urgent action;

The government must now take responsibility for the big contracts run by Carillion, or re-tender them, to keep the supply chain going and protect thousands of jobs. Ministers must minimise the damage to the capacity of the construction industry.

We also urgently need a parliamentary inquiry into some of the very questionable decisions made in the past few months, not least the award of

Posted in News | Tagged and | 23 Comments

Fighting Brexit: public opinion and cross-party co-operation

In the previous two posts in this series, I examined the legislative process and prospects for the EU negotiations. Our challenge is how to shape public opinion and move parliamentarians from other political parties to build an overwhelming national will to stop this Brexit madness, and in so doing attract more support for ourselves.

We can still stop Brexit. We can withdraw unilaterally our intention to leave the EU before 29 March 2019. Lord John Kerr, former head of the Diplomatic Service, has said as much, whilst Professor Sir Alan Ashwood has argued it “takes two to tango.”. UKlegalfuture

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

A progressive alliance for decency in the news media defeats the Government in the Lords

In writing my preview of last week’s events in the Lords, I rather glossed over the debate on the Data Protection Bill on Wednesday. That will rather teach me to do more research, as it turned out that there was to be an attempt to set up a new Leveson-style inquiry into the nefarious activities of some of our news outlets…

As the noble Lord Greaves pointed out last week, Wednesday saw the Government defeated on a vote to require them to set up and inquiry into issues arising from data protection breaches …

Posted in News and Parliament | Tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Remain and Reform the EU

There is an increasing possibility that Parliament will vote down the Brexit terms and/or there will be a second referendum or even a General Election. It is winnable as people become disenchanted with Brexit. Two years of young people (mostly pro remain) will join the electorate

Going forward with a “much the same” attitude to the EU is not an option. The public have clearly expressed concerns about the EU. Failure to address these concerns will at best appear complacent and at worst a deliberate ignoring of the British electorate.

The current British MEPs have generally been …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 50 Comments

Welcome to my day: 15 January 2018 – more experiments in moderation?

So, I find myself splashing about in the turbulent waters of Liberal Democrat Voice again on another Monday morning. At least this week, the waters aren’t frozen, as I’m back in the country after two weeks in the United States.

On the moderation front, we’re still in mid-experiment as I understand it, so do bear with us. I do find myself wondering whether or not moderation should be more transparent. For example, comments could be edited to take out the off-topic, discourteous or simply rude bits, with some explanation of why. It might …

Posted in News | 4 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 17th Jan - 1:05am
    Denis Loretto, well said, we should be thinking more now about what being in the outer tier of countries in the EU will mean, in...
  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 17th Jan - 12:02am
    In this long thread everyone seems to be envisaging an EU which is more or less uniform despite the fact that recognition at high level...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Jan - 11:01pm
    HS2 doesn't go anywhere.
  • User Avatarmatt 16th Jan - 10:23pm
    @Judy Abel “Yes a sort of Advertising Standards Agency for political parties! I think if we somehow win the Brexit battle and overturn the result...
  • User AvatarRick Heyse 16th Jan - 9:29pm
    The referendum was an 'advisory' referendum whereby a 3.9% majority of those who voted opted for the UK to leave the EU. That slender majority...
  • User Avatarfrankie 16th Jan - 9:19pm
    teakes, Headlines in the press today Jacob Rees-Mogg to lead Tory eurosceptic MPs and 'hold Government to account' over Brexit :- Telegraph Subcontractors lay off...