2 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds: Mid Wales Growth Deal funding insulting
  • Swinson: ‘Getting Brexit done’ puts lives and jobs at risk
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s plans to create two borders ‘ludicrous’

Jane Dodds: Mid Wales Growth Deal funding insulting

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Jane Dodds has called the UK Government’s £55m funding for the Mid Wales Growth Deal insulting.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns used his speech to Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to announce £55m of funding for the Mid Wales Growth Deal over 15 years.

The UK Government are contributing £500m to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and £241m to the Swansea Bay City Deal.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MP commented:

Alun Cairns’ announcement shows that, under this Conservative Government, Mid-Wales will never get the funding we truly need. The £55m promised is frankly insulting. Not only is it nowhere near enough, it is a fraction of the funding being provided for the Cardiff and Swansea City Deals.

Our rural communities have been let down and forgotten about for far too long. What’s more, they will be some of the hardest hit by a no deal Brexit, which the Secretary of State dangerously continues to advocate.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats demand better. We need stop Brexit and invest in a truly ambitious growth deal that enables our communities to flourish and grow. Mid-Wales needs an ambitious and positive vision for the future.

Swinson: ‘Getting Brexit done’ puts lives and jobs at risk

Responding to Boris Johnson’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

When you strip away the bluff and bluster, this was a speech by a Prime Minister who is determined to crash us out of the EU without a deal.

Fanatically repeating ‘Get Brexit Done’ does not give any comfort to the cancer patient worried about accessing their medication, or the factory worker whose job is on the line. Getting Brexit done puts their lives and their jobs at risk, and that is why Liberal Democrats are working hard to stop it.

The Liberal Democrats are determined to stop Brexit, because the best deal possible is the one we have right now as members of the European Union.

Lib Dems: Johnson’s plans to create two borders ‘ludicrous’

Responding to the publication of the Prime Minister’s alternative proposals, Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said;

These proposals just confirm what we already know, Boris Johnson has no viable alternative to the backstop.

The UK will go from having no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a member of the EU, to Boris Johnson’s proposal which creates two borders.

It is ludicrous to think that somehow Boris Johnson believes the answer to ensuring no Irish border is to create two. Not to mention it goes against the Conservative Government’s own promises that there would be no return of any border infrastructure.

The Liberal Democrats will continue the fight to stop Brexit, not only to rule out a dangerous no deal, but because the best deal possible is the one we have right now as members of the European Union.

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  • I almos (repeat almost) laughed out loud when Johnson told the EU that, “There is very little time … We need to get this done before the October European council.”

    This from the man whose sole strategy, for years, has been telling the world that ‘the last minute’ is when the deal will be done’

  • John Marriott 3rd Oct '19 - 11:14am

    We could be approaching crunch time. The government has signalled its intention to prorogue Parliament in the run up to the Queen’s Speech. Then you need to factor in the impending EU Summit. So, if I were the opposition parties I would be seriously considering calling a VONC sooner rather than later, if nothing else, than to prevent embarrassing the Queen, who would surely be placed in a difficult position if a successful vote took place after her speech.

    Now, how do you get a majority to oust Johnson? Clearly you won’t get many Tories, present or ex, to vote for JC as leader of a GNU and you would surely need their votes in the mix. So, JC MUST be persuaded, in the interests of the country, to step aside temporarily to allow a ‘government’ to achieve an extension to Article 50, assuming that the EU is prepared yet again to play ball (although they must be getting pretty cheesed off with us Brits by now).

    If this all comes to pass a number of scenarios could take place. We could reopen negotiations by temporarily revoking Article 50 and try again to get a Deal. We could, if successful, put this new Deal to Parliament and then to the public as one of three options in another referendum. We could instead just go for a ‘Brexit’ GE, with JC back at the head of the Labour Party. The problem is that this election, based as it would be on FPTP, might well give a distorted view of what public opinion actually is. Or, of course, we could just call the whole thing off and make that revocation of Article 50 permanent.

  • David Allen 3rd Oct '19 - 12:56pm

    JC’s best bet is to wait until October 19th when the Benn Act kicks in, assuming no deal has been achieved by that date.

    Then, either Johnson capitulates to the force of law and asks for an extension – in which case JC takes no action and thus just lets the ignominy of that capitulation sink home – or, Johnson fails to capitulate to the force of law. In that latter event, JC should call a VONC – which, as normal, simply declares no confidence in Johnson. A VONC does not need to specify who should be the replacement PM, and JC’s best option is to leave that question (nominally) open.

    How would Lib Dems, and ex-Tories for that matter, respond to the VONC in those circumstances? No doubt they would first use the threat of a prospective VONC to seek to force Johnson to obey the Benn Act. If that worked, well, it would at least be a substantial step in a better direction.

    But if it didn’t work, the Lib Dems and ex-Tories would surely have to agree the VONC, and vote out of office an “outlaw” PM who was proposing No Deal Brexit in under two weeks time. They would of course be scared of the consequences of voting for the VONC, but they would be terrified of the consequences of not voting for it.

    Then JC would have the whip hand. He would be able to offer two unpalatable alternatives – Either vote me into ofice, or else allow Johnson to hold an immediate General Election, as the FTPA would have mandated him to do – Immediately after crashing out of the EU with No Deal.

    Then we’d all have to vote for Corbyn, wouldn’t we?

  • Mick Taylor 3rd Oct '19 - 1:51pm

    David Allan. It’s not what we do that will decide the issue. As I have pointed out numerous times Lab + SNP + Lib Dem is not a majority. The myth that somehow it’s up to the Lib Dems must be scotched.
    I suspect Corbyn will want to have a go at leading a GNU and will want it voted on. We should vote against or at least abstain. At that point and only then will there be any chance of someone else being put forward to lead a GNU. Perhaps there should be indicative votes until someone is found who CAN command a majority. Maybe Labour will want to insist that it be a Labour person like Margaret Beckett, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. The crucial thing is that whoever it is they must be able to get the support of dissident Tory MPs and Independents otherwise they will fail.
    I hope that is what the joint opposition talks are about. Though I must say, I’m not holding my breath.

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Oct '19 - 2:39pm

    Mick, I would support you on the sequencing before a VONC.

    At that moment (assuming Johnson is defeated) what happens?

    I may be wrong in all that follows and am seeking info, really, but I don’t think the UK is ever without a PM. Is that so?

    If so, does Johnson have to resign before The Commons passes the Vote of Confidence?

    In which case the Queen must ask someone (X) if they would like to TRY to form an administration. X answers yes. And kisses hands??? Becomes PM?????

    At what stage does X and X’s team table a Vote of Confidence under the FTP Act which they are required to have and win within 14 days of the VONC being passed?

    Does X have to return to the Palace (and when?) to report their failure and resign as PM. Provided we are within 2 weeks of the VONC does the Queen invite Y ? And based on what? Y on saying yes to the invitation to TRY and form an administration, becomes PM. And like Y before gets the keys to the nuclear arsenal, and pens the letter to Sub Commanders.

    I find it difficult to chart a path to Y (if/as Y is not Leader of the Opposition).

    Is the Queen likely to rely on her advisers to identify Y (then Z etc) or will she call in people who might know the mind of the House of Commons?

    Answers on a postcard please.

  • Richard Underhill. 3rd Oct '19 - 2:41pm

    Speaker Bercow sat through two hours of Ministerial Statement from Boris Johnson, although the Speaker’s own voice was suffering. Involving the Northern Ireland Assembly sounds democratic, but this highlights the failure of the UK government and the largest NI political parties to use the Assembly since it was most recently elected. The DUP (founded by the late Ian Paisley) has promptly supported this aspect. Their motives may include a perception that they can use the Assembly to get a veto.
    The DUP does not support the whole of Northern Ireland as a rival NI MP often says.
    The Assembly is elected by STV, which makes it much more representative in outcome than FPTP DUP MPs can hope to be.

  • The last three posts assume that, if Jo Swinson refuses to back Jeremy Corbyn (putting the whole issue of a VONC succeeding in jeopardy), then the vast majority of Labour will swing behind her and ‘pull her chestnuts out of the fire’.
    If she puts party politics above stopping Boris Johnson why shouldn’t they?

    Support Jeremy Corbyn if he tries to form an interim government; if Tory rebels fail to support him THEN THAT IS THE TIME for an alternative to be found. If Jeremy Corbyn fails to stand aside, at that stage, then the onus for any failure is on him. Failing to support him initially and this party must take the blame for failure.

  • David Allen 3rd Oct '19 - 4:05pm

    Bill le Breton,

    The UK is never without a PM. If a VONC is passed, the VONCed PM stays in office until either (a) someone else wins a vote of confidence within 14 days, or (b) nobody does, an election is then mandated, and a new PM elected. So during the election period, the VONCed PM remains in office.

    Within the 14-day period after a VONC, the Queen is expected to take advice from her own expert staff as to who she might invite to form a government. There are no formal rules for that process. The Royal advisers would do the confidential investigation to identify the likely views of the MPs. I believe that constitutional experts would guess that the first person invited would be (1) anyone judged to be clearly the most likely to succeed, (2) if there is no such person, the Leader of the Opposition.

    Mick Taylor,

    In general, you’ve got a point. The Lib Dems can, if they like, hide behind the skirts of the Tory rebels, and say “Awfully sorry Britain, but since those Tory rebels won’t VONC Johnson, we can’t possibly get him out. Terrible shame!”

    However, what about the specific circumstances I have highlighted, when (if this happens) Johnson defies the law, and a No Deal Brexit is therefore imminent? Given that a VONC need not name a proposed successor – so that the ex-Tories would only be voting against Johnson – wouldn’t they, and the Lib Dems, then feel under irresistible pressure to go along with the VONC? Hint, if your answer is “No”, then you’re voting for No Deal Brexit!

    I grant you that I’m talking about hypothetical circumstances, which might never happen, either because the EU rapidly agrees Johnson’s deal (pigs might fly!), or because Johnson finds himself unable to escape the Benn Act (fifty-fifty perhaps?). However, I think my proposed sequence of events might very well happen. So we need to get prepared for it!

  • What Johnson fails to mention is that his proposal (a.k.a. ‘The Smuggler’s Charter’) is a gift to the extremists. Organised smuggling will be under the aegis of the rag tag remnants of the terrorist organisations of the ‘troubles’ who have shown that they are still around and a force to be reckoned with.
    Where will the money from organised large scale smuggling go? No prizes for guessing right.

    BTW..It seems that the N.I. police wil not staff border security so, with 300+ points of crossing, definitely a free hand to the extremists.

  • John Marriott 3rd Oct '19 - 5:19pm

    I’m not the world’s greatest mathematician, but, surely, the only way to get a majority for a GNU is for Labour, SNP and the Lib Dems to get a significant number of ex Tories to support them. If there was any chance that JC would be the new PM they at least would be unlikely to be on board.

    Has anyone besides David Allen given a thought to the possibility of the PM and the EU actually cobbling together a deal which got through Parliament, despite protestations, for example, from the business community in NI?

  • @Expats, are you really suggesting that people shouldn’t discuss Plan B until Plan A fails?

    We’re not picking a restaurant for a birthday night out here. This is the country’s future, and if we muck this up then we are playing into Johnson’s hands. In no circumstances should there be a VONC until we know that there is a candidate that can get the support of sufficient MPs. Corbyn has had plenty of opportunity to demonstrate he has the numbers, but cannot do so and we are running out of time.

    But in this analogy, Corbyn is trying to convince us that he can fit 326 MPs in his living room, and that only after everyone has tried, and inevitably failed, to fit in, should we consider booking an alternative venue. Remember he couldn’t even get the support of his own MPs, so why should MPs from other parties think he’s the best or only possible choice?

    You’re essentially saying we should let the people who can’t do basic sums, or appreciate or care about the dangers of a VONC without an assured candidate, and who don’t have faith in any of their other very experienced MPs to run the country in a time of emergency when we really, really need people who can think more than one step ahead.

    I’d like to think that Corbyn and his team have learnt a bit more about how the EU works, and what we’d lose without it, but his rush to get his MPs to trigger Article 50 without demanding any kind of impact assessment shows that he’s had an awful lot to learn, and when he comes out with phrases like “jobs first Brexit” it suggests he still doesn’t get it, or he’s OK with lying to the electorate. Are we really supposed to trust the judgement of someone who sacked one of his own cabinet because he said we’d probably need a People’s Vote?

  • Fiona 3rd Oct ’19 – 6:13pm………………@Expats, are you really suggesting that people shouldn’t discuss Plan B until Plan A fails?……………

    No! But you are cancelling plan ‘A’ in the hope that plan ‘B’ will work. You talk about ‘sums’ but when I was at school ‘a’ came ‘before ‘b’.

    I’ll ignore the jibe about restaurants but it is this party that is playing political games. As I’ve said it should be up to Jeremy Corbyn to try to form an interim government. That way the vast majority of Labour MPs will be onside; cutting Jeremy Corbyn ‘out of the loop’ won’t do that.
    If the greens, plaiid and the SNP can see that why can’t the LibDems?

  • David Allen 3rd Oct '19 - 11:11pm

    Fiona, expats: Both Labour and the Lib Dems are playing intransigent political games. I don’t think either one is better than the other, in terms of the moral strength of their position. I do think Labour, if they play their cards right, just happen to be better placed to win the immediate VONCing political game.

    When it comes to an election, however, whilst I think the Lib Dem performance is mediocre, Labour’s performance is absolutely dire. Corbyn would be well advised to play the VONCing game as hard as he can. It’s the only way he is ever likely to win anything!

    Johnson and Cummings aren’t as smart as they think, but they do have some idea of what they need to do to win an election. That is more than can be said for their opponents, the SNP excepted. There are lots of obstacles in Johnson’s way, but I wouldn’t bet against him winning out in the end. That, of course, will be a national disaster.

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