Ed Davey on Question Time tonight

The universe might be about to implode or something because the Liberal Democrats have been really relevant this week AND one of our number is featured on Question Time.

Deputy Leader Ed Davey is on tonight with Labour’s Charlie Falconer, Tory crime minister Victoria Atkins and journalists Camilla Tominey and Ash Sarkar.


Layla was on a few weeks ago. Here’s hoping that, with our surge in number of MPs, unique position on Brexit and rise in the opinion polls, we see more of us on the show.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • John Marriott 20th Sep '19 - 7:55am

    Yes, and I saw the audience reaction when revoking Article 50 was mentioned. OK, it wasn’t a scientific sample; but that reaction means that going for revocation as a main manifesto promise (I nearly used the word ‘pledge’) in a GE could easily prove to be a hugely divisive, high risk strategy. Possibly shooting yourself in the foot doesn’t do it justice. B******s to that!

  • The new policy shows contempt for our democracy and the people who voted to leave in the referendum. Since they constitute the majority of the voters in a very high turnout, the policy is unlikely to be a vote winner.

  • John Bicknell 20th Sep '19 - 1:11pm

    Yes, there was very little sympathy for Ed Davey on the question of revocation. If the QT audience was in any way representative of public opinion, it’s going to be a very difficult policy to sell in a GE.

  • Ethicsgradient 20th Sep '19 - 1:39pm

    Echo chambers are a dangerous thing.

    The revocation policy met the general public and it didn’t look pretty. I certainly accept that it clearly differentiates the Lib Dem’s, gives a clear position and will appeal to a significant minority of the electorate (strong remainers). Whether it is a significant vote winner is unkown, only time will tell. It is certainly open to attack to the notion of ignoring the largest democratic vote in UK history and the idea that only certain votes/voters count. O’Neil on the BBC was correct, there would be a huge public reaction of civil disorder (protests and anger) if revocation happened.

    Mathew Syed was spot-on on the daily politics today. Diversity of thinking is greatly beneficial and reduces the echo chamber effect.

  • Paul Barker 20th Sep '19 - 3:03pm

    The 1st Poll on the Revocation Policy shows 41% in favour, 38% against. That tells you more than a contest of who shouts loudest.
    Again, there were 2 Voting intention Polls yesterday, both put us on 23%, one slightly behind Labour, the other slightly ahead. For one of the Polling firms it was our best result since May 2010, ie before The Coalition.
    Today we had a Leader satisfaction Poll, Jo was on 35% & Corbyn on 16%. Sometimes trying to please everyone ends with pleasing no-one.

  • David Allen 20th Sep '19 - 3:17pm

    Paul Barker, can you provide a link to the “Revocation Policy” poll?

  • The party has traditionally been regarded as a relatively sensible, safe bet if one of the main parties is deemed unelectable for some reason. This is perhaps not the intended image of the party but it was borne out for decades before the meltdown in the Clegg era. I think this has now changed. The Lib Dems will be seen as the fanatical EU party that had the audacity to demand revocation of Brexit, insulting over 17 million voters in the process.

  • I didn’t see the show last night, and not even sure where it came from, but I reckon that it’s foolish to judge wider public view by a Question Time audience that’s made up of people who applied specifically to heckle those they’ve decided, in advance, they disagree with.

    One thing is clear, the policy announcement has made a lot of Labour activists very keen on a 2nd referendum, something many of them thought was outrageous when we came up with the idea three years ago. If they’d spent less time mocking us and the policy over the last few years then we might have had it as government policy by now.

    I’m also seeing a lot of Tory and Labour supporters bemoaning the problems of First Past the Post as a means of deciding whether a party should enact a manifesto pledge if they win a majority. We must keep note of these concerns and raise them when we next push for electoral reform.

    And of course remind people that our preference still is for a People’s Vote. We can’t let Labour act as if they are the architects of this policy.

  • marcstevens 20th Sep '19 - 7:10pm

    This is a position the Party is taking if it wins a general election, unlikely as it is, but it’s a position statement in that eventuality. So people would know in advance what they are voting for. Nothing to do with ignoring democracy as the Party policy is still to campaign for a 2nd referendum in this parliament. And what about the people who were denied a vote in the first referendum eg EU citizens and did not vote for No Deal. It seems that leavers want to exclude them from any decision making plus the then 16/17 year olds and the rest who did not vote in that referendum, how undemocratic is that.

  • Whatever may have happened on Question Time, yesterday real voters in six diverse wards cast votes, none of the seats were Lib Dem defences. Lib Dem vote share was up markedly and there were some very big swings to us from both Con and Lab. looking at all votes in Local Elections since the May elections the Lib Dems are winning more seats and more votes than any other party. Revocation is high risk, but high risk creates distinctiveness and the oxygen of publicity needed to allow the party to talk to an ever less tribal electorate about non Brexit issues too.

  • @David Allen – you asked Paul Barker if he could provide the link to the ‘Revocation Policy’ poll. This was conducted by YouGov on 16 Sept. Interestingly, this asks for people’s opinions on the legitimacy of any General Election mandate to revoke without a further referendum (the overall split in this point was largely inconclusive, with 41% for and 38% against), BUT it does not specifically ask whether they actually support the policy. Anyway, here’s the link:

  • Why assume a past-it tv programme watched only by the politically active (and attended by partisans) is representative of the U.K.? Lots of quiet people, who don’t screech and caw, are heartily sick of the Brexit mini-fiasco and will vote to end it. In Wales a party larger than the LDs has also adopted the same policy (Plaid) – so don’t let enemies set our time. Brexit Tine is increasingly irrelevant, and ought to be looked at by the people investigating Jeremy Kyle! For starters, they ‘balance’ the audience, so the partisan share for the remain side would be split too – probably about 10 people would be there supporting the LD side.

  • Hmm ‘omni-fiasco’ not mini fiasco as auto-corrected above !

  • John Bicknell 21st Sep '19 - 8:30am

    John Mc:” probably about 10 people would be there supporting the LD side.”
    When the question was put to the audience, just one person put their hand up to declare support for this LD policy.

  • David Allen 22nd Sep '19 - 7:31pm

    Sean Hagan – Thanks for the link.

    Yougov’s question was: “If a party stood on a manifesto of staying in the EU and won a majority in a general election, do you think it would or would not be legitimate for them to keep Britain in the EU?”

    One question would be, what did the respondents think Yougov meant by “won a majority”? I suspect a lot of them may have thought it meant “a majority of votes”, or else something along the lines of “look a majority means a majority, seats and votes go together don’t they, I don’t see why anybody might have a definitional problem about this!”

    In any case, as Sean says the results are fairly inconclusive. The vast majority of Leavers said “not legitimate” and the vast majority of remainers said “legitimate”. This suggests that most respondents hadn’t really thought through the implications yet.

    In the event that the Lib Dems were surge towards anything looking like a plausible overall win – say, 25% and rising – I think we would see sustained attacks from our opponents in the last week of the campaign. They would express outrage at our plans to revoke A50 when we only looked likely to win around a quarter of the total vote. That would hit home. We would end up failing to win a quarter of the total vote.

  • Alex Macfie 22nd Sep '19 - 9:20pm

    David Allen: Your analysis assumes that our Lib Dem campaign could not possibly think of a counter-attack to any attacks from our opponents. Really, that is just defeatism and fatalism; if you can’t handle or counter attacks from your political opponents then you really shouldn’t be in politics. That was Nick Clegg’s problem. Following Cleggmania, the right-wing press, started attacking him and the Lib Dems, having previously mostly ignored us. And Clegg proved unable to withstand the criticism, hence the disappointing showing on election day. It’s early days, but I think our new leader is made of sterner stuff.
    I don’t think Clegg would have come up with the Revoke policy that we have now, let alone outright condemned Emily Thornberry’s absurd “Taliban” comment and demanded a withdrawal and apology. He was basically too chicken; his flaw was that he tended to assume that his opponents always played nicely even when they weren’t. His inability or refusal to engage in bare-knuckle fights with political opponents (including his coalition partners), even when he would have been justified in doing so. Ultimately, it likely cost him his seat, as he wouldn’t run a negative campaign against Jared O’Mara.

    If we are getting 25% and rising during an election campaign, it is inevitable that our opponents will attack us, whatever our policy is: they will always find an angle from which to attack us. And when they do, we will need an answer; it would be no good running away from our flagship policy or trying to triangulate with our opponents. But it is NOT Inevitable that attacks on us by our opponents will work. But it will happen if we let them, and accept their narrative.

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