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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Barker 20th Mar - 9:53am
    With May now asking for a delay of 3 Months & The EU demanding a concrete reason for delay another General Election now seems a...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 20th Mar - 9:36am
    David Raw and Lorenzo, thank you so much for your supportive comments. I'd just like to make it clear that I was not actually offended...
  • User AvatarYeovil Yokel 20th Mar - 9:26am
    If it’s in the Daily Torygraph, Richard Underhill, then it must be true.
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 20th Mar - 9:21am
    Looks as if it has been kicked into the long grass, not a single press release on this major issue, and cannot find anything on...
  • User Avatarchris moore 20th Mar - 9:18am
    Excellent article and subsequent comments and links. Thanks to the Davids and others.
  • User AvatarDavid Hughes 20th Mar - 9:17am
    Regarding the difficulties of 'whipping' this group, the task in fact fell to Jo Grimond from the point of his first election in 1950 until...