Author Archives: Andrew Duff

The dangers of the ‘people’s vote’

As the Chequers agreement and White Paper evince, the details of the interim package on offer are highly complicated. Submitting the terms and conditions of the Article 50 negotiations to a popular vote would be fraudulent. A referendum would be unlikely to elucidate the pros and cons of the Facilitated Customs Arrangement, the future of the City of London or the Irish backstop protocol. Rather, the hapless voter would face the same dilemma as vacillating parliamentarians – namely, a crude and invidious choice between the government’s Brexit deal and the cliff edge.

Ms. Miller & co make two gigantic misjudgments. The first is that, in the event of a referendum rejecting the Barnier package, the EU would be prepared to open up a new negotiation under Article 50 or to suspend Article 50 until the Brits sort themselves out. Having offered Cameron one new settlement for Britain in 2016 and May another in 2018, toleration of the British will be at an end. There will be no third negotiation. So what would be the referendum question? Moreover, on which side would Lib Dems be campaigning?

The second big mistake is to assume that the Remainers would ‘win’ the second referendum no matter the question. Opinion polls suggest that the outcome would be just as close as the first: certainly the assumption that Remain would win handsomely and settle the business of Britain’s place in Europe is an arrogant one, not supported by the facts.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 102 Comments

Opinion: EU Bill is bad Tory policy

The European Union Bill is a Tory policy. The Liberal Democrats went into the last election arguing for a referendum on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU. Thankfully, having lost the election, we were not in a position to test public opinion on that one.

The Conservative party wanted a referendum on the Lisbon treaty in order to repatriate powers and to entrench national sovereignty. On losing the election they discovered that Lisbon was already in force and could not be undone. So their new tactic was to undermine the Lisbon settlement whenever opportunity arose, and it …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged , , and | 26 Comments
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  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 17th Jan - 1:45am
    Expats, I think I have been clear that I support Libdem housing policy as updated last spring https://www.libdems.org.uk/spring-18-f4-local-government-housing This policy includes allowing receipts from the...
  • User AvatarMartin 16th Jan - 11:48pm
    Vince and our other parliamentarians need to remind Mrs May that her self imposed red lines are the stumbling block. We should not promise much...
  • User AvatarYeovil Yokel 16th Jan - 11:43pm
    “What should Vince say to Theresa?” - my reply would be unrepeatable, but my advice to Vince (not that he really needs it) is not...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 16th Jan - 11:18pm
    It was a fair point from Gove, there was a tme when we favoured a referendum. To many we give the appearance of inconsistency on...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 16th Jan - 11:11pm
    @david Warren, I must eat my words when I say that I do not detect a groundswell for a change in voting system. There was...
  • User AvatarFiona 16th Jan - 11:09pm
    David, no tying in knots required to distinguish between a vote to validate the details of a massive constitutional change and a vote to instigate...