Ed Davey: Lib Dems will push for a referendum

We are trying our best to win a People’s Vote, said Ed Davey tonight.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, he talked about Boris Johnson’s failures, and said that Lib Dems would continue to work with other parties to try to secure a People’s Vote. Watch here.  He added that the important thing was to hear about an extension to Article 50 first then work out where to go next.

He pointed out that an election wouldn’t necessarily solve the Brexit issue but a People’s Vote would.

He noted that Labour had failed to support our amendment to the Queen’s speech today. It called for a People’s Vote but wasn’t called because it didn’t have Labour support.

So all that fuss last night was simply a smokescreen to detract from their failure to do what most o their supporters want.

Channel 4 later reported that the Government was going to go on strike if it didn’t get its own way on Monday.

I wonder if ministers will still be picking up their ministerial pay checks then. It’s not normal to do so if you are on strike. If they continue with that line of argument, maybe we should kick up a bit of a fuss.

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

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  • Jessica Smart 24th Oct '19 - 10:37pm

    How can you campaign for a “peoples vote” and then go on to campaign at the next GE to revoke if the result goes against you? I also remember something about amendments being pointless as LD MPs were voting against the whole Queen’s speech.

  • Peter Watson 24th Oct '19 - 11:40pm

    @John Paterson “There is no conflict or confusion between the two positions.”
    I think there is unless Lib Dems state clearly that they will drop the “Revoke” policy if they secure a referendum, even if that referendum delivers another “Exit” result. Otherwise it risks undermining calls for another referendum if the party’s opponents can claim that Lib Dems will simply ignore the result if it goes against them again.

  • John Paterson 25th Oct '19 - 12:15am

    Peter Watson – If a confirmatory referendum was BINDING, unlike the 2016 one, there would be no point in promising to rescind Article 50 in a subsequent election manifesto as we would be out of the EU by the time of the election.

  • I don’t know why Johnson (who twice voted against leaving the EU) is able to get away with the scam that only he can be trusted to deliver Brexit, nor the outrage that we now need an election. On the latter, the parliament WE elected two years ago is doing a much better job of scrutinising his version of a leave agreement than any parliament with a Tory majority. It is unbelievable that a PM can seriously get away with saying that the only way to resolve a single issue is by throwing the whole parliament away.

  • As a Lib Dem and Remain voter, I think an election will be more useful than a referendum for the following reasons:

    f there is another referendum, first problem will be getting agreement on the choices and the wording. If we assume that a consensus can be reached on “remain” or “latest deal”, it is likely to be close, if polling is anything to go by. (I think if it was “remain” or “no deal”, then “remain” would win). So, if “remain” wins, the “leave” constituency would be very angry that they were ignored first time round and will continue to campaign to leave.. If “leave” wins, this parliament, which is “remain” inclined, would continue, as now, to do everything to prevent it. So, either way, the country remains divided and angry and the issue is unresolved. The last referendum was (in leaflets that came to me, anyway) supposed to be “final”. So, I see no reason why the losers (whoever they are) of a second one will accept the outcome this time, either.

    However, a general election would effectively be a referendum which would give a “people’s vote” on the Brexit issue and at the same time elect a parliament able to deliver it. I say this because every party except the Lab party has a clear position on Brexit. (I applaud the Lib Dems on theirs). So, “leavers” can vote for Con or BXP, “remainers” can vote for Lib Dem, Green, SNP or Plaid Cymru (any “pacts” would be welcome) and “don’t know/care” can vote Lab.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 25th Oct '19 - 9:54am

    Alexander declares that he is respecting the “will of the people” and that that is why he is pushing for brexit. Why then does he not respect the “will of the people” as shown in the result of the 2017 general election. We voted for these MPs to sit in parliament for 5 years, we didn’t vote them in only to sit for 2 years.

  • Here’s why an election is not the answer:

    (1). Johnson’s offer – to ram through a bad hard Brexit in haste, and then romp to election victory over the corpse of the Brexit Party – is obviously a complete no-no for his opponents. So what comes next?

    (2). If Johnson plays silly beggars, withdrawing the Deal and going on strike, or trying to foce a No Deal, he will reap the whirlwind. The Brexit Party will say Johnson is floundering and should let Farage take over. Johnson is making empty threats in the hope of bluffing people to vote for his December 12th. He won’t fool anybody into doing that.

    (3). Johnson could instead now pause Brexit, ask for an extension for an election, and effectively make the Brexit outcome conditional on the election result. In a sense that could suit the Lib Dems, who would then have a live issue to fight for in the election campaign. But if Johnson took that course, then again the Brexit Party would also make hay. Johnson would end up looking stuck in the middle, saddled with a mish-mash Brexit he had himself lost faith in.

    So – This option just isn’t going to happen. Johnson would rightly see it as a big downside risk for his own Party. It would probably just end up with another hung Parliament, even more hopelessly split than the current one.

    (4). So we’re left with a need for this parliament to get Brexit resolved. Johnson can be forced to give it enough time, because he doesn’t have any other good options. Either the customs union option, or the confirmatory referendum option, could well progress – it’s watch this space!

    Above all, the No Deal option must be removed. May’s Deal had the Backstop to prevent such a disaster. We need the Backstop Back!

  • Tony Miller 25th Oct '19 - 1:05pm

    The Johnson pitch for a General Election won’t solve anything if, as is quite possible, we end up with another split Parliament, particularly if Labour continues to be split itself. Lib Dems ought to go for a counter bid which would see a full debate on the present (and only) deal on offer, to be followed by a referendum with the choice being between the offer and staying in, when we know what the deal really is. If necessary to get agreement, why not a GE on the same day?

  • Nom de Plume 25th Oct '19 - 7:25pm

    Only the government can give a “People’s Vote”. The Tories will not do this. There are only three options. Either their is a general election or Johnson’s WA is passed. A general election would allow either a Tory majority to have their Canada minus Brexit (the only other option is a Norway or Switzerland type arrangement) or a different government could have a “People’s Vote”, possibly – I do not know what Labour wants (I am not sure Labour knows what Labour wants). I very much expect the EU would give a three month extension in the case of vote for a general election – no need to wait for their decision. I would hope that in the case of no general election that all parties that abstained or voted against the motion would work with the government to pass the WA. Otherwise, the third option is more chaos, and either the WA eventually passes or more extensions and an election in 2022.

    Incidentally, a no-deal Brexit can not be taken off the table. If the WA passes the next stage are negotiations, which could fail and lead to a no-deal Brexit. The WA is the easy part. Best to revoke Article 50, but for this there needs to be a general election.

  • I am with Richard C and Nom de Plume. An election not only gives us an opportunity to #Revoke Article 50 our most daring position yet and the polls have never been better for us as a party. A second referendum could go any way. If we truly believe Remaining in the EU is the best option for our country, we should be gagging for the chance an election could give us.

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