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 AvatarJayne Mansfield 21st Oct - 6:47pm
    And how many people did you convert from a Brexit stance to a Remain stance with this puerile nonsense? @ John Marriott, Perhaps you need...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 21st Oct - 6:22pm
    I add my view to that of colleagues, agree on the view put by Richard, in the same kind of way that Caron expresses, and...
  • User AvatarElaine Bagshaw 21st Oct - 6:02pm
    @Katharine We're only having to look at the Special Conference proposal because Vince put it on the table. I've always been against it, and pretty...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 21st Oct - 5:20pm
    Dismayed to learn that the Federal Board is even considering calling a Special Conference, I add my voice in total opposition to the idea, and...
  • User AvatarGraham Martin-Royle 21st Oct - 4:48pm
    And will this become another case of authorities demanding either a passport (not required by law to have one, not needed if not travelling abroad)...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 21st Oct - 4:44pm
    I want to be clear that my opposition to a special conference is not a reflection of my opinion of Vince as leader. He is...