++++Breaking….Luciana Berger joins the Liberal Democrats

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger is the newest member of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary team.

She said:

This is a moment of national crisis. The Liberal Democrats are unequivocal in wanting to stop Brexit and are committed to securing Britain’s future as a tolerant, open and inclusive society.

I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats today, in the national interest, to offer a vital, positive alternative to Johnson and Corbyn and help build a future that our country deserves.

Jo Swinson welcomed her:

Luciana is a passionate advocate for women’s and LGBT+ rights, and she’s at the forefront of efforts to counter anti-Semitism and prevent discrimination. I’m delighted to welcome her to the Liberal Democrats, where we can work together to stop Brexit and build a fairer, more equal society for all.

Luciana becomes the fourth MP in three months to cross the floor and join the Liberal Democrats. We’re thrilled to add her perspective, expertise and skills to our ever-growing parliamentary team.

The Liberal Democrats are growing in strength as we lead the fight to Stop Brexit altogether. We are fully behind a People’s Vote, and we are the rallying point for Remainers and the liberal centre ground.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Luciana praised Jo Swinson:

I’m excited by Jo’s leadership and want people to have something positive to vote for — not just the least worst option. It’s time to break up the tribal two-party system, especially after the scenes in Parliament over the last few days,” she said.

And I’m loving the WhatsApp group for  MPs with babies:

Ms Swinson added: “That  WhatsApp baby group for MPs crosses every possible political boundary.” The pair joked about how Ms Berger had recently posted a request for an emergency microwave steriliser bag and someone did indeed have one.

In her first interview as a Lib Dem, Luciana says that other MPs are thinking about what they should do as she repeats her point that the Lib Dems are a party to vote for:

 

 

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

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41 Comments

  • Ruth Bright 5th Sep '19 - 11:21am

    Wow! She was unfairly mocked by a Lib Dem opponent for her work-rate during her first maternity leave. Stuff like that hurts but she is clearly a grown-up who can see the bigger picture.

    Just how many more new friends is Jo Swinson going to introduce us to in the next 48 hours? Can’t wait to see.

  • Richard Underhill 5th Sep '19 - 11:27am

    When Change UK had their first press conference to explain why they were leaving the Labour Party Luciana Berger went first, passionately. She can be an electoral advantage nationally. I have no knowledge of her constituency.

  • Kevin Hawkins 5th Sep '19 - 11:28am

    We now have nine men and seven women which I would guess gives us the highest proportion of women MPs of any party in parliament (leaving aside the special case of the Greens with only one MP). This is quite a turn around for a party which Just four years ago had an all-male group of MPs.

  • Kevin Hawkins 5th Sep '19 - 11:36am

    And now Jo Johnson has apparently resigned as an MP. We live in interesting times.

  • Andrew Melmoth 5th Sep '19 - 11:47am

    Is Jo johnson the first ever politician to quit in order to spend less time with his family?

  • Yeovil Yokel 5th Sep '19 - 11:48am

    Caron – it’s good that you can return from your break and have a nice, gentle re-start to your first week back on LDV.

  • Paul Barker 5th Sep '19 - 11:54am

    She is very welcome & hopefully not the last.
    Perhaps the long-predicted “Realignement” of British Politics is beginning, with The LibDems as the core.

  • According to the Evening Standard,

    “Ms Berger said she did not know what she will do at the next general election but did not expect to stand in her current constituency of Liverpool Wavertree. Neither woman would be drawn on where Ms Berger could stand, but London is likely given how well the Lib Dems did in the European elections.”

    What about Eastbourne ?

  • John Bicknell 5th Sep '19 - 12:18pm

    “London is likely given how well the Lib Dems did in the European elections.”
    Twickenham?

  • I gather Ms Berger is the great-neice of the great Manny Shinwell, a Labour Red Clydesider who later defeated the Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald at Easington, County Durham in 1935. I know this because my Granddad was a miner in Easington and was a great admirer of Manny Shinwell.

    Maybe Manny’s great neice can help to bring another PM down seventy four years later ?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Sep '19 - 12:24pm

    @Johnbicknall – that was my first thought but apparently they have already shortlisted.

  • chris moore 5th Sep '19 - 12:30pm

    Eastbourne?

    We’ve already got a first-rate MP in Eastbourne.

    Let’s welcome Stephen Lloyd back into the parliamentary whip when this immediate crisis is over.

    We should be tolerant of dissent. We are not the Tory party.

  • Chris Bertram 5th Sep '19 - 12:38pm

    A big slap in the face for the antisemites and the antisemitism deniers in the red team. Welcome on board, Luciana.

  • The Lib Dem’s need to be a broad church that spans the centre left and centre right of politics. Some more defections particularly from the Tory party could help us win seats in new territory. We must go for it

  • Four MPs defecting to us:
    2 from Labour, 2 from the Tories.
    2 men, 2 women.
    2 from BME backgrounds, 2 not.
    It’s actually looking quite strategic!

  • chris moore 5th Sep '19 - 2:49pm

    There is a wider issue.

    I have sometimes heard Lib Dem spokespeople (and posters on here) lament the fact that not all liberals support the Lib Dems. If only we could, they say

    But we can’t, whilst we continue to put off the many former anti-establishment Lib Dem voters who were sceptical for liberal reasons of the unaccountable and distant EU (and Westminster). Think of the West Country where much of our support was Euro-sceptical.

    Tolerance is required. It’s part of our DNA. Let’s not lose that.

  • Bobby Copper 5th Sep '19 - 3:25pm

    David Raw

    I think it’s 84 years since 1935
    .
    Eastbourne already has a good Liberal Democrat MP. If Luciana Berger fancies a seat in Sussex there are two MPs in Brighton who would be no loss to Parliament.

  • Peter Martin 5th Sep '19 - 3:32pm

    @ Chris Bartram,

    “…..the antisemites and the antisemitism deniers in the red team.”

    OK but how can you tell which is which? Maybe throw them into a deep lake? If they sink and drown then they’re deniers. If they float and survive they are the real antisemites who should be burned at the stake!

    https://ukmediawatch.org/2019/07/22/guardians-steve-bell-frames-labour-antisemitism-row-as-a-witch-hunt/

  • Martin Land 5th Sep '19 - 3:45pm

    Hampstead?

  • Martin, Wavertree was, until Clegg appeared with this coalition, regarded as our best bet in Liverpool, we used to hold almost all the Council mseats in the Constituency, and the Liverpool Liberal revival started from there in the late 60’s, it is still one of our best areas in the City. I reckon she will hold, likely to take from Labour and squeeze the Cons.

  • David Becket 5th Sep '19 - 4:30pm

    Welcome Luciana and Phillip. If there are any decent tories left they should be coming over.
    We should hope that all Tory MP’s of any honourable character would consider at least resigning the whip if not joining us. Their jumped up jerk of a leader, and his contemptible sidekick DC, have just kicked out Ken Clark, among others. Ken has done more for this country than these mendacious chancers will ever achieve. His only crime was to try and save the country from ruin. The site of party officials in Rushcliffe supporting Ken’s expulsion is vomit inducing. Nye had the right description for this lot.

  • Whilst I don’t think Philip Hammond will ever join the Lib Dem’s and I don’t really see him being a Lib Dem I’d still welcome him into our tent.

    Why? Because of the message it would sent all moderate pro European Tories.

    There is actually quite a strong argument for the Lib Dem’s to promise tax cuts at the next GE and higher public spending. We can do it on the basis of cancelling Brexit and an increase in treasury receipts. Boris couldn’t do that if he goes off OBR forecasts.

    The point here is that if we go down the tax cutting route it would hit Boris hard. We could claim the business vote….

  • Paul Barker 5th Sep '19 - 5:45pm

    If all The MPs who have been abandoned by their own Parties shift to the extremes joined us or formed new groupings then we could avoid an Election altogether. There are enough Liberal/Centrist/moderate MPs in Parliament to form a Minority Administration that could park Brexit while we get on with organising a 3rd Referendum & trying to sort out Britains many problems.

  • Ross McLean 5th Sep '19 - 5:53pm

    Am I right in thinking that Wavertree constituency includes bits of David Alton’s old seat? If so, nice to have them back. 🙂

  • Re Stephen Lloyd, people can correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is that he has always been personally anti-Brexit, but at the 2017 election he basically said: “I voted Remain, but I accept the referendum result, and I want to be your MP. Therefore, if you elect me I pledge that I will not oppose Brexit, and in fact I will work to ensure the most sensible form of Brexit happens. On all other issues I will follow LibDem policy.” (I’m paraphrasing, not a direct quote). The local party was happy to select him on that basis and the voters happy to elect him.
    He has indeed stuck to that line as MP, and it sadly became necessary for the party to withdraw the whip when he opposed the Peoples Vote. Since then he has continued to sit with our group and is clearly on very good terms with them; he remains a party member, campaigned with the local party in Council and European elections, and has voted against No Deal in Parliament. It seems to me if this Parliament is dissolved he is quite at liberty to say, “OK, I held to my word for that Parliament. Now, things have moved on since 2017 and the situation is completely different. So I am asking for your support this time as a Remainer and a Liberal Democrat.” This would allow the party to re-adopt him, and for him to be elected once again as a LibDem.
    This, I suspect, is the plan, and a perfectly sensible one. He is clearly popular locally and is an assiduous MP. His voting record on all non-Brexit issues is that of a LibDem, and he was always a good team player in the group, etc. I hope to see him back there.

  • John Littler 5th Sep '19 - 7:42pm

    The more hard core Tories are not going to come over to the LibDems and an Independent Conservatives or Progressive Conservatives of up to 20 MP’s is now a prospect.

  • Yeovil Yokel 5th Sep '19 - 7:58pm

    Islington North? Jeremy Corbyn has a majority of 33,215 (the 26th safest Labour seat, according to Wikipedia), but the constituency voted 78.4% to Remain, and, if Luciana Berger could win it, it would represent a humiliating payback for all the insults heaped upon her since she left Labour.

  • Chipping Barnet does not Yet have a Lib Dem PPC.

  • Very welcome news about Luciana, following on so soon after Phillip Lee. Possibly, there are a few more “in the pipeline”. The speculation is that Luciana is likely to seek selection for a North London constituency, possibly Finchley & Golders Green.

  • Yeovil Yokel – we won Islington North on Euro-election day. So yes, that could be an option for Luciana. 🙂 Otherwise, I wonder how her Norfolk accent is…

  • @Mike Read, that’s the sort of seat we ought to be giving a free run to Labour in, no? Standing a candidate (particularly a high profile one) is just going to split any anti-No Deal vote

  • Former Labour MP Rob Fielo has joined us tonight as well. He was MP for Stoke South from 2005-17. As Jonathan Calder’s website rightly says: Let’s all sing, “For he’s a jolly good fielo…” https://twitter.com/RobertFlello

  • Christian –
    “There is actually quite a strong argument for the Lib Dem’s to promise tax cuts at the next GE and higher public spending” – Tax cuts again? Are you saying that we should pursue the debunked Reaganomics? Taxes in the UK is already lower than in Continental Europe overall and Corporate tax is already well below 20%, while various public services as well as public R&D spending are also underfunded.

  • @ Tony H You very politely say, “please correct me if I am wrong”.

    I’m afraid your statement “it sadly became necessary for the party to withdraw the whip when he opposed the Peoples Vote”, is incorrect.

    The BBC News reported Mr Lloyd resigned the party whip on 8 December last year : “”I have decided that the only honourable thing for me to do is resign the party whip in Parliament,” he said.

    Back in 2014 he resigned as PPS to Ed Davey.

  • Cllr Mark Wright 6th Sep '19 - 4:28pm

    Really great news – she is a good MP 🙂

  • Alex Macfie 7th Sep '19 - 9:44am

    Dan M-B: Given the substantial Jewish community in Chipping Barnet (as well as neighbouring Finchley & Golders Green) there, and Labour’s antisemitism crisis, we may have a better chance there than past election results suggest (anyway what was our Euro result in that area?). Standing aside for Labour would not be a good look. Besides, any pact with another party needs to be a bilateral thing (as we are doing with the Green Party), and I can’t see Labour agreeing to it. There is a case for Lib Dems not campaigning strongly in seats with sitting Labour MPs who are anti-Brexit and where we are not strong (e.g. Ben Bradshaw in Exeter) but that’s as far as it should go.

    Chipping Barnet is selecting now, as it happens.

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