Author Archives: Martin Bennett

Why revoke!

Revoke and put a stop to itIn an ideal world a referendum result would be annulled by a subsequent referendum, the symmetry is undeniable. This is why it has been and is Liberal Democrat policy to support a referendum in which the electorate can choose between a realistic Brexit agreement and revoking Article 50 to remain in the EU. Unfortunately. there is little chance this can happen for the simple reason that there is no Brexit agreement that Brexiters agree upon, nor anything they are likely to agree upon. Nonetheless if Johnson and his inner circle settle on a particular Brexit, it should be put to the electorate.

Three years on from the referendum Brexiters have manifestly failed to find a plan to implement the result. Instead Brexiters have boxed themselves in.  Mrs May. seemingly ignorant of the difference between the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and with a nasty, obsessive fixation about immigrants, issued senseless red lines and quickly sunk herself into a hole. She vainly endeavoured to pander to the most fanatical Europhobes for whom she, nor anyone else, could ever be anti-EU enough.

This failure was unsurprising, the surprise is that anyone might have thought it possible to find agreement between Brexiters who dreamt of an unregulated global free market and Brexiters who dreamt of closed borders and protectionist policies.

May threw away a Conservative majority and Johnson’s purge of the moderates has rendered his putsch incapable of governing. An election beckons, but that too is in the hands of the opposition. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 51 Comments

Johnson to implicate the Queen in electoral shenanigans

Admittedly honesty is far from Johnson’s forte. Accordingly, I should not be so surprised that Johnson can simultaneously cry out for an imminent election and prorogue parliament for a Queen’s speech and new legislative session. 

Quite simply, it is not the function of the Queen to present an electioneering address on behalf of the Conservative Party. Having already abused the function of the Queen by illegally advising her on an overlong prorogation, Johnson is merely running true to form in forcing the Head of State to front an election pitch.

We have to make it clear that this is wholly unacceptable and that if he is intent on prorogation, he cannot concurrently expect an election in the near term.  Parliamentary sessions are seldom shorter 150 days, the shortest session in recent times was 65 days.  If the Queen’s speech is not voted down, we must insist there should be a reasonable period, perhaps six months, during which the government should try to work through its programme. We would press for a referendum on whatever it is Johnson has to offer within this period.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Who we are…

An academic study produced by the Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London, has appeared today that reveals the character of the main political parties.

Unsurprisingly we are overwhelmingly, up to 96%, anti-Brexit, in favour of the Single Market and Customs Union, and would strongly support a referendum on the outcome of negotiations.  Significantly, Labour’s membership are not far behind us on Brexit, indicating a disjunction with the Labour leadership that is likely to prove contentious, if Labour continue to tergiversate over Brexit.

By contrast the Tory membership not only favour Brexit, …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 14 Comments

The EU Parliament Takes A Principled Liberal Stance

Despite the claims of British politicians, which in turn are echoed by their diplomats, the UK is not “within touching distance” of agreement on citizens’ rights.  Following a reiteration of this claim by UK ambassador John Marshall, at a public meeting on Wednesday in Luxembourg, MEP Charles Goerens outlined the European Parliament’s position:

  • Any application for ‘settled status’ should be a simple, cost-free and automatic process, that can be made by families as a joint declaration.
  • Applications should not depend on complex conditionality and

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Theresa May must face up to hard facts – Charles Goerens MEP

“It is crucial to remain ambitious when it comes to citizens’ rights; citizens remain at the heart of the EU” declared Charles Goerens, Demokratesch Partei and ALDE MEP, in an address to a meeting that formally established a branch of Liberal Democrats in Luxembourg.  This is the Liberal conviction that underlies Charles Goerens’ proposal of ‘associate EU citizenship’ for those who feel and wish to remain part of the European project, but who are nationals of a former Member State. “Putting the interests of citizens first is among the prime concerns of the EU Parliament, which has a decisive say on any outcome.”

“Theresa May has learned that Brexit is a little more difficult than she expected at the beginning” he commented with typically Luxembourgish understatement. He believes that Theresa May thought that an election and strong words could strengthen her negotiating position but said that she cannot continue to hide behind elections and crowd pleasing gestures.  Theresa May has to face up to hard and very complicated issues.  At the top of the agenda is finding solutions for the borders between Northern Ireland and Ireland and between Gibraltar and Spain.  Further urgent priorities are the interests and status of UK nationals living in the 27 EU states and of EU citizens in the UK.

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Opinion: Nick Clegg unapologetic about forming a coalition, but next time we may opt out

On a flying visit to Cheltenham last week, Nick Clegg gave an interview for the local paper, the Gloucestershire Echo. When asked about whether he is looking to form a new coalition he said:

Not necessarily, not necessarily, I don’t think the Liberal Democrats should be in government just for the sake of it but we should always, if we can, play a role in doing the right thing for the country and do it in line with our policies and values.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 22 Comments
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    "One commentator has said that Labour has had a policy since 1918 of non-cooperation". Which, of course, is only a very partial truth. Labour formed...
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  • User AvatarDan M-B 6th Dec - 8:05pm
    "Our biggest problem is that The Media/Commentariat have collectively decided that we arent News, theres a lot of prejudice in that but I suspect that...
  • User AvatarRodney Watts 6th Dec - 7:49pm
    Some very well put and constructive comments on what realistically might be achieved on and after the GE. Sadly our leadership, have believed and broadcast...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 6th Dec - 7:34pm
    There is a debate today in Maidstone, on BBC1 and BBC News at 8pm. Let us hope that a member of the audience asks a...
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Tue 10th Dec 2019