+++Breaking…Angela Smith MP joins the Liberal Democrats

Now we are 17.

Angela Smith, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, who joined Change UK from Labour back in February has tonight announced that she had joined us.

Angela said:

I am delighted to be joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats. We need a more inclusive, tolerant politics for our country that values diversity. The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party to stop Brexit and build a society that gives opportunities to everyone, tackle the climate crisis and invest in our public services.

We are facing a national crisis and people deserve better than the choice of the old two parties. I am relishing continuing my work with the Liberal Democrats to not only fight against Brexit but to also campaign for the constitutional reform needed to mend our broken politics.

Jo welcomed her to the party:

In February, Angela made the brave decision to leave the Labour Party after over forty years of membership, because of the mishandling of anti-Semitism claims and Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit.

“Now, she follows Chuka Umunna, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Dr Phillip Lee and Luciana Berger in joining the Liberal Democrats’ rapidly growing Parliamentary team. We welcome Angela’s commitment to stopping Brexit, and to building a fairer, more liberal society.

“The Liberal Democrats have always been an inclusive party, and our doors are open to anyone who shares our liberal values, and our commitment to a fair, free and open society.

We had thought that Laura Gordon would be our next MP in Sheffield. She welcomed Angela:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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20 Comments

  • Charles Pragnell 7th Sep '19 - 10:22pm

    This is no surprise .Rumours are going around that Hedi Allen is coming this week. I wonder whether Stephen Lloyd will retake the whip.
    I wonder whether Sam Gami and Ms Sanbach might follow. We really don’t want Amber Rudd.
    I think the rats are leaving the sink ship. It has just got worse for Boris.

  • I’m genuinely struggling to keep up with the breaking news now. Seems like another day passes and we gain an MP. If Boris can string this out for a few months we could be the biggest party in Parliament 🙂

    I’m pleased to see Angela join us. I have a suspicion Heidi Allen might be with us shortly and maybe another former Tory is also on the way (according to the Sunday Times).

    Ken Clarke has just come out and said he might vote Lib Dem in protest at the next GE. If we could grab a few high profile Tories we could really be in business.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Sep '19 - 11:00pm

    We would also welcome Heidi Allen who helped in Brecon and Radnorshire.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi_Allen, to make the forecast true.

  • Yeovil Yokel 7th Sep '19 - 11:42pm

    Ed Davey has tweeted to say: “We’re going to need a bigger bench”.

  • While I think Angela Smith is a poor ideological fit for the party I don’t think that matters. We’re in a national emergency and both the main parties are deliberately and brutally narrowing themselves. Opening up the Liberal Democrats to everyone of good faith who isn’t actively illiberal is a powerful cultural statement in the current situation. She left Labour for the right reasons and is a mainstream centre left democrat. She must be welcomed.

  • When the SDP was formed we found ourselves in alliance with a number of people with very suspect and illberal views. Those with such views did not last very long, while the genuine liberals like Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins brought immeasurable benefits to our movement. That is not a judgement on the people who have recently joined us , but merely to point out that our values and ideology are not changed as a consequence of particular individuals choosing to join our party.

  • Denis Loretto 8th Sep '19 - 8:05am

    Coupled with the pleasure we are feeling at the weekly (almost daily sometimes) additions to our parliamentary ranks there is an understandable anxiety in these LDV threads about a risk to what one may call our purity. All I can say is that we should have more faith in our party and the principles and standards ingrained in it. We are living through the virtual destruction of the Conservative party and at least a deep reappraisal in the Labour party. Recruits are joining us from both sides-indeed our main voting gains in council by-elections are currently from Labour. We have a strong team led by a young charismatic person who is gaining gravitas and presence every day. I have waited for this for many decades. We must be a leading element in this process while concentrating on saving our country’s place in Europe.⁰

    .
    .

  • Richard Underhill 8th Sep '19 - 9:25am

    David M: “We’re in a national emergency and both the main parties are deliberately and brutally narrowing themselves”

  • John Marriott 8th Sep '19 - 10:21am

    It’s Story Time!
    Yes, working with non ‘liberals’ can be tiresome. I remember that, as a member of the Lincoln Liberal Party back in the early 1980s, we were faced with the decision that, for the 1983 GE, Lincoln was designated an SDP seat. Considering the success of the Dem Labs following Dick Taverne’s victories in the early 1970s it seemed to make sense, especially as the party had a ready made HQ in the centre of Lincoln, a pub/club they ran that had been rechristened Taverne House, later called appropriately the ‘Rack and Ruin’ and now demolished to make way for the new East/West Road link.

    So, being a relatively new recruit, possibly without the accumulated baggage brought on by years of decline, I went along with the idea. So, we switched our venue from a small room in the Lincoln Liberal Club (which, by then, had little to do with liberalism and more to do with, beer, fags and snooker) and moved to the more palatial, but equally seedy surroundings of Taverne House on Tentercroft Street.

    At the first meeting, to draw up a short list of Parliamentary candidates, I was surprised to see very few familiar Liberal Party faces. As subsequent meetings unfolded, those faces more or less disappeared altogether, leaving just me and a couple of others, including, for a while, our Chairman, before he also made an excuse to depart the scene. By the end of the process I found myself more or less surrounded by ex Dem Labs, including a former Leader of Lincoln City Council. So I decided to become a dual member and, keeping my Liberal Party subscription going, joined the SDP as well.

    We had a very enjoyable GE campaign following the late Freddie Stockdale around in his battered Saab (he apparently kept the family Rolls at home in Thorpe Tilney Hall for special occasions) and coming, under the circumstances, a creditable third. I was hooked.

    What happened to the Liberals? I guess some travelled to the north of the county to help Andrew Phillips in a seat they fancied they could win, in what was Tory Edward Leigh MP’s first campaign. Lord Phillips lost and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • Already when the Change UK was split in June, it was suggested, that it was due to differences on the strategy whether to join the Liberal Democrats or not. Now I’m beginning to think, that “The Independents” group was founded to be a kind of waiting room before joining the Liberal Democrats. So, Heidi Allen, Gavin Shuker and John Woodcock to follow soon?

  • Given that Labour is now on the far left and the Tories are adrift with the extreme right, allowing people like Angela Smith into the party makes sense. We must represent the moderate centre ground and be that broad church. If we can then hopefully politicians like Blair and Major can also get behind us.

  • Paul Barker 8th Sep '19 - 1:41pm

    A big welcome to Angela, the 3rd MP to join us in 4 Days.
    Is the long-predicted Realignement of British Politics finally happening ? It still too soon to say, The Polls seem to be stable with The Tories in the lead & LibDems in 3rd place.
    Its not going to be enough to force Johnson to ask for an Extension when The French Government is likely to Veto it. The Option of having an Election before the Halloween deadline is now closed off.
    Perhaps a Government of (Partial) National Unity is the only Road left open ?

  • Nick Collins 8th Sep '19 - 2:20pm

    Does the Conference Glee Club still honour the tradition that new MPs are asked to do a “turn”? If so, this year’s could be fun; I almost wish I were going.

  • Peter Hirst 8th Sep '19 - 2:22pm

    Now that these MPs are deciding to join the Liberal Democrats, it is up to us to maximise the campaigning and media opportunities that they give us. Conference will give plenty of these. It is also important to use their joint experience, knowledge and contacts to improve our vote share and seats gained at any future elections so that we consolidate these marvellous achievements into the long-term success of our Party.

  • We want an EU-wide ban on fracking – Liberal Democrats
    https://www.libdems.org.uk › eu-fracking-ban 22 May 2019 – Fracking harms our communities and plunges our planet further into a … be able to call for real, meaningful change in EU environmental policy.

    They work for you On 16 Dec 2015:
    Angela Smith voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.

    Mmmmmmm ? Clearly more negotiation needed.

  • gavin grant 8th Sep '19 - 8:29pm

    I’m delighted that Angela Smith MP has joined the Lib Dems. I worked closely with Angela and other MPS alongside Dr Brian May to stop the madness of the badger cull. It will be great to have her with us at this crucial and historic time.

  • Matt (Bristol) 10th Sep '19 - 5:22pm

    Jennie, I don’t think that’s entirely fair, and — for eg — differences of opinion on how far the party should be pushing hard for further reform on LGBT rights cross the left/right economic spectrum — both inside and outside the party.

    Of course, the party has always been conflicted and disjointed on whether it is a catch-all party for liberals, democrats and.or centrists, or whether it is ideologically liberal, social-liberal, moderate-liberal, social-democratic, radical-democratic, etc (ad nauseum).

    A lot of the people who seem to think the party should be committed to one of the latter listed options, feel it is OK to sort of pretend to be the former, and then retreat to ‘core’ values at times of crisis or if these ‘core’ values are threatened in some way.

    Or they think it is a catch-all party on some kind of journey to greater ideological purity.

    But since there is this spectrum of opinion in the party that’s not always going to be successful.

  • Alex Macfie 12th Sep '19 - 5:19pm

    Jenny Barnes: Any pacts with Tory rebels will be limited to where we have no chance of winning ourselves — for instance, I wouldn’t expect us to stand aside in Winchester. There can be no repeat of the utterly stupid decision to stand aside in the Haltemprice & Howden by-election so that David Davis could pose as a champion of civil liberties. We already have local pacts with the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.

    By “right wing Labour” you appear to mean pro-EU non-Corbynista Labour, but that is exactly where we stand politically, We wouldn’t accept someone like John Mann (anti-Corbyn, but also anti-EU), and he is most unlikely to want to join us either.

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