Jo proposes agenda for cross party “Stop No deal” talks led by Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday

Today the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has written to Jeremy Corbyn ahead of a meeting between opposition leaders in order to ensure that no option is off the table to stop No Deal.

Jo Swinson has proposed an agenda for the meeting requesting that it focuses on four critical points:

  • Strategy to take over the order paper to prevent No Deal
  • Plan to beat the government in a vote of no confidence
  • The steps that would need to be taken in forming an emergency government
  • Clarity on where all opposition parties stand on the matter of stopping Brexit altogether

Jo Swinson said:

The meeting between opposition leaders tomorrow is an opportunity to reassure the British public that politicians are leaving no option off the table when faced with crashing out of the EU.

We cannot allow party politics to stand in the way of finding a solution that works to prevent the national crisis approaching us.

The Liberal Democrats stand ready to do everything we can to prevent not only a No Deal Brexit, but to stop Brexit altogether.

Here is the full text of Jo’s letter, including a full explanation of her proposed agenda:

Dear Jeremy,

Thank you for your letter on 21st August 2019 regarding a meeting to discuss how we can prevent a No Deal Brexit.

As I have always said, my door is open to any Parliamentarians who wish to work together to prevent a disastrous No Deal. The same applies to all Parliamentarians who, like the Liberal Democrats, want to Stop Brexit altogether. Brexit will be disastrous for our country and those who wish to stop it must work together in the national interest.

Ahead of the meeting, and for the benefit of all those right across the country who are worried about the threat of a No Deal, it would be useful to set out an agenda. This is so that the British public can be reassured that politicians are leaving no option off the table when faced with crashing out on October 31st. I propose the following topics of discussion.

1. Strategy for a legislative approach to successfully take over the order paper to prevent No Deal

This would need to follow the example of previous successful initiatives by the Commons in order to pass, and so be led from the backbenches with the cooperation of prominent senior Conservative and Labour MPs. Motions tabled by the Labour frontbench have not worked previously and therefore I hope you will accept that we need to allow backbench MPs to take the lead. For this to work, we must also work together to ensure that non-Government MPs, including Labour MPs, who have not supported such measures in the past come behind plans in the face of this national crisis.

2. Plan for an alternative strategy built around a vote of No Confidence in the Government

We should discuss how to maximise the chance of a successful No Confidence vote. As I have set out before, the Liberal Democrats would vote No Confidence in the government were you to table one, and we called for such a motion to be tabled before the Summer recess to be certain we would have had time to hold a General Election before October 31st.

3. Discuss the steps that would need to be taken in forming an emergency government

This emergency government must have the majority support required to request and secure an Article 50 extension should the vote of No Confidence in the government be successful.

In the last week many MPs who stand opposed to No Deal, in particular key Conservative MPs, have rejected your proposal to lead an emergency government. Insisting you lead that emergency government will therefore jeopardise the chances of a No Confidence vote gaining enough support to pass in the first place. As you have said that you would do anything to avoid No Deal, I hope you are open to a discussion about how conceding this point may open the door to a No Confidence vote succeeding. Its success must be the priority.

The Father and Mother of the House, Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman, have expressed their willingness to lead an emergency government if the Commons asked them to do so. It would be useful to discuss who else you would consider acceptable candidates to lead a temporary government in order to secure that crucial majority.

4. Clarity on where all opposition parties stand on the matter of stopping Brexit altogether

You have previously said that you would seek to negotiate a Labour Brexit if in power, and Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell recently suggested that Labour could remain neutral in a future People’s Vote. It would be appreciated by Remain voters across the country that both your personal and your party’s position could be clarified in these discussions.

As I have said before, we cannot allow party politics to stand in the way of finding a solution that works to prevent the national crisis approaching us. I look forward to hearing your views on how this can be achieved.

The Liberal Democrats stand ready to do everything we can to prevent not only a No Deal Brexit, but to stop Brexit altogether. I look forward to our discussions on Tuesday.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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50 Comments

  • JOHNSON TELLING PORKIES AGAIN…. I do wish Jo Swinson could be a bit more even handed and have a go at Johnson because he’s been telling Porkies again :

    After his mutual admiration session with Trump, Johnson’s claims that Melton Mowbray pork pies are sold in Thailand and Iceland have been disputed by the head of the trade body representing the pies’ makers. Johnson queried why British-made pies were exported to those countries but not the US because of trade rules.

    But Matthew O’Callaghan, of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, said as far as he knew, the claim was wrong. He added exporting worldwide was not viable because of the pie’s shelf life.

    Johnson spoke about trying to “prise open the American market” as he met Trump in Biarritz, France, for talks about a possible post-Brexit trade deal at the G7 Summit. Offering an example of an American trade restriction, Johnson said: “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of, I don’t know, some sort of food and drug administration restriction.”

    The only true bit was the “I don’t know” bit. But hey, don’t let’s allow the facts to get in the way of a good porkie.

  • ……………..As I have always said, my door is open to any Parliamentarians who wish to work together to prevent a disastrous No Deal………..

    From ‘Nonsense’ to taking over the agenda?

  • David Becket 26th Aug '19 - 11:07am

    There are two issues here. Trying to get an agreement that will be accepted by all those who want to stop a No Deal/Brexit, and exposing Johnson.
    Jo’s letter is a good attempt to bring minds together It is being picked up by Corbyn supporters as Jo killing a deal. Not true, Corbyn does not have cross party support.

    The Melton Mowbray issue shows Johnson for what he is. A man who opens his mouth without thinking, a man who ignores facts and a man who has no respect for the truth.
    A man unfit to be PM.

    We need to shout this, and as it is a trade issue Chuka might be the best person.

  • Eh? “pies’ shelf life”?
    In the supermarket yesterday all the asparagus was from Peru and all the apples from New Zealand. Hasn’t Mr O’Callaghan heard of aeroplanes?

  • Sandra Hammett 26th Aug '19 - 12:04pm

    It seems to me that Jo wishes to be THE architect of THE plan, HER plan. Unwilling to consider any other, despite her avowed open door policy. This is a failing in all our current leaders; ‘my way or the highway’.
    What motivates this? Not wanting to be relegated to junior partner, again? Not working with Corbyn because he is too left wing?
    Jo’s argument is that a VoNC must have the best chance of success and Corbyn doesn’t have the numbers. But if we considered backing him like the SNP, he might and there would be a united front, for once.
    I don’t rate Corbyn but using him as a tool simply to avoid Brexit might work. Give him backing in return for a People’s Vote and a set date for a general election, that’s all we really require of him.
    I hope Jo will put aside party politics and actually consider stopping Brexit ‘at all costs’.
    Then again she may prefer to let Brexit happen, hoping it fails in order to say ‘I told you so’ and claw back the perception of having principles that were lost in the Coalition.
    All that said her antipathy towards thin-skinned Corbyn may have scuppered any chance of cooperation already.

  • All this rubbish about pork pies is another diversionary tactic by Boris Johnson as learnt from his buddy Donald Trump, as for Jo Swinson,s letter to Jeremy Cornyn it states exactly what needs to done to get maximum support to oppose a fatal no deal Brexit and indeed to achieve the Lib Dems wish for another referendum.

  • Cooperation needs to go further.

    If Brexit hasn’t happened and we end up with a ‘Brexit election’ can anyone see the benefit from pro 2nd Referendum, pro-remain Labour and lib Dem candidates knockin’ spots off each other, cancelling each other out, and allowing a pro-Brexit Tory to sneak through to win? In some constituencies we could see a farcical situation where pro 2nd referendum(pro remain) Lab, LD and other candidates garner 60% + of the vote only to end up with a pro-Brexit MP.

    Surely, pro-remain Lib Dems and willing Labour people need to cooperate and each not stand candidates where a pro-remain candidate of the other party is clearly already best placed to beat the Tory?

  • @Andy
    Surely, pro-remain Lib Dems and willing Labour people need to cooperate and each not stand candidates where a pro-remain candidate of the other party is clearly already best placed to beat the Tory?

    Politics is about more than brexit.

    Some Parliamentary candidates have spent years campaigning, pounding the streets, delving into their own pockets and resources, sacrificed their careers, hoping to one day make it into parliament as a politician.
    Why should they after years sacrifice step aside in election over “one issue”
    Like i said politics is about more than just Brexit.

  • Richard MacKinnon 26th Aug '19 - 12:28pm

    No deal Brexit is going to happen. Why?
    Because although there is a lot of opposition to Brexit (in the bubble) those that oppose it dont have an alternative proposition. The meeting tomorrow will fail not because there will be disagreement. It will fail because there is nothing to agree with. No party at the meeting has an alternative to Brexit.
    Its kind of funny from where I am. Read Swinson’s letter to Corbyn again.
    “I propose the following topics of discussion.
    Strategy to …………….. prevent No Deal
    Plan to beat the government ………….
    The steps that would need to be taken ……………………..
    Clarity on where all opposition parties stand on the matter …………………….”
    I would love to take the minutes at tomorrows get together. In fact I can probalbly draft them now.
    “All those in attendance were in agreement that it would be a disaster for the UK if it were to leave the EU without a deal on the 31st October.
    It was further agreed that there was an urgent need for clarity toward the steps required to be taken that would lead to a strategic plan to prevent a No deal crash out.
    Jeremy Corbyn stated that to prevent a No Deal it was important that all parties cooperate in good faith.
    Nicola Sturgeon reminded the meeting that Scotland didnt vote for Brexit.
    Jo Swinson said there was a desperate need to find a person to lead the opposition, with the caveat, that, whoever that person was it was essential that all parties had to be able to unite around whoever it was that the meeting thought was the best candidate.
    It was agreed that all parties should meet again next week to put further proposals on the table.”

  • And…. I’m surprised Martin thinks I’ve been taken in by a diversionary tactic from a long established purveyor of porkie pies.

    The rest of Martin’s post is almost more credible…… but whether anything actually emerges from the prima donna manouevering on all sides is very questionable. If those who oppose Brexit, including Ms Swinson, actually carried out their negotiations in private instead of posing and posturing in the spotlights they might, just might, make some progress and get there.

    As it happens, if we suffer Brexit on 31 October it won’t just be the Tories who’ve messed up.

    The Shetland by-election will be interesting………. meantime I’m stocking up on my medication.

  • Sandra Hammett 26th Aug ’19 – 12:04pm…………………….It seems to me that Jo wishes to be THE architect of THE plan, HER plan. Unwilling to consider any other, despite her avowed open door policy. This is a failing in all our current leaders; ‘my way or the highway’. What motivates this? Not wanting to be relegated to junior partner, again? Not working with Corbyn because he is too left wing? Jo’s argument is that a VoNC must have the best chance of success and Corbyn doesn’t have the numbers. But if we considered backing him like the SNP, he might and there would be a united front, for once……………………….

    Absolutely!
    Wholeheartedly backing Jeremy Corbyn is the start. If Tory rebels play Jo Swinson’s, ‘We’ll do anything to stop a hard Brexit except work with Corbyn” then Jeremy Corbyn should step aside and accept that, perhaps, Kier Starmer would be an alternative. The onus would, firstly be on Jeremy Corbyn and then on the Tory rebels to put country before party.

    Sadly, Jo Swinson has already ‘made the bullets for the Tories’.

  • Yes David it is getting serious, stocking up on everything is something I’d suggest for everyone. Personally as I’ve three months supply of the tablets I take, it’s Tins and foreign money for me. As to Shetland well it really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things, if the Scots want to rerun the Brexit debacle on steroids, in the off chance they hold all the cards and the EU will save them, well as with our brave Brexi’s and Lexi’s reality will shred that delusion. Looks like we are all going to get a crash course in reality, will be the death of quite a few of us.

  • Paul Barker 26th Aug '19 - 3:53pm

    There is lots of Private negotiation going on but we don’t hear much about it because its Private.
    There is still a need to counter the constant barrage of Nationalist Propaganda.
    The essential problem hasn’t changed, plenty of Agreement on what is not wanted, very little on what Is.
    Its worth remembering that we are still only a third of the way through the period between Johnson seizing power & Halloween. Half the population still dont believe Brexit will happen & less than a quarter have changed their behaviour in response to the threat.
    Events May accelerate with the new Month.

  • @ Paul Barker “There is lots of Private negotiation going on but we don’t hear much about it because its Private”.

    Wow…… so, even though it’s all private….. we can take it that you’re on the inside track and have access to it do you, Paul ? You are the new eminence grise, the veritable Donald Rumsfeld of LDV :

    “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”.

    Donald Rumsfeld 12 February, 2002.

  • Mick Taylor 26th Aug '19 - 5:54pm

    As I’m not in parliament, nor likely to be, I simply don’t know who is talking to who and who might be prepared to do what. And apart from Jo Swinson, I strongly suspect that most the people who write on LDV haven’t a clue either.
    What seems to be the case is that IF and I stress IF the only alternative to Johnson is Corbyn, then I doubt if any Tory MPs will support a VoNC.
    Just to be clear. If all the Labour MPs plus the Lib Dems, the SNP and all the rag tag of independents were to vote for a VoNC it wouldn’t pass because with the DUP Johnson has a majority. [There is some doubt that all the Labour MPs would vote for a VoNC especially the pro Brexit ones]
    So to get a VoNC past the House of Commons requires either some currently Tory MPs or some DUP MPs to break ranks and support a VoNC.
    Mr Corbyn’s cronies can hurl all the invective they like and it won’t change the arithmetic.
    As far as I can see our leader is merely pointing out the facts, inconvenient though they are.
    Now of course I don’t know any of this for sure, but it’s just possible that a VoNC might pass if someone other than Corbyn were to step up as interim PM.
    There are some, even on LDV, who think that all the Lib Dems have to do is support Corbyn and the VoNC will pass and thus will Brexit be delayed. Not so. The numbers don’t stack up. Only with support from pro remain Tories can any of this come to pass. Of course if some of them defect then Johnson’s majority will depend on pro Brexit Labour MPs. Labour have always thought that the Lib Dems are Labour mark 2 [except of course when we are yellow tories] and our duty is to support them and when we don’t do as they wish they cry foul and heap abuse on us.
    Please stop building a false prospectus and face the facts.

  • @ Hard Rain “In the supermarket yesterday all the asparagus was from Peru and all the apples from New Zealand. Hasn’t Mr O’Callaghan heard of aeroplanes?”

    And I guess the current trend of more and consumers checking out the air miles doesn’t matter, nor how price will be affected by the cost of transporting a humble pork pie.

    So much for how Johnson – porkie telling apart – responds to global warming and climate change

  • Alex Macfie 26th Aug '19 - 7:04pm

    Hard Rain: Meat products and fresh veg have very different shelf lives.

  • Reference to Melton Mobray pies,,,,
    Politicians are noted for telling ‘porkie-pies’; however, Johnson must surely be unique in telling ‘porkie-pies’ about ‘porkie pies’.

  • Geoffrey Dron 26th Aug '19 - 7:26pm
  • David Becket 26th Aug '19 - 7:28pm

    @ Mick Taylor
    About the most sensible comment in this thread.

  • @Mick Taylor

    The VoNC was never dependent on someone waiting in the wings other than Corbyn. The VoNC was merely about whether those Tory MPs agree with Johnson’s direction of travel i.e., towards a no deal Brexit. There are many plausible outcomes flowing from the VoNC and trying to make it dependent on excluding a role for Corbyn just seems like a silly way of allowing Tories contemplasting voting no-confidence to weasel out of their responsibilities. Therefore the Lib Dems shouldn’t have raised it until after the VoNC.

    And besides, Ken Clarke, unlike Corbyn , doesn’t even favour having another referendum with or without a remain option. Quite why the Lib Dems are so fixated on Ken leading is a mystery? Many Labour MPs – who do want another referendum and to remain – would be more wary.

  • David Allen 26th Aug '19 - 8:00pm

    Mick Taylor is right – in part. Lib Dems should put pressure on Corbyn to give ground, because that could gain more support from Tory rebels and make “Stop No Deal” more likely.

    However I can’t agree that “our leader is merely pointing out the facts”. She has told Corbyn that his meeting should be governed by an agenda from the Lib Dems. She has also insisted (several times) that “stopping Brexit altogether” must be a crucial aim of the collaboration. She must know that this is to play up the divisions between Labour and the Lib Dems. So why, at a meeting to explore cross-party collaboration, does she insist on emphasising the areas of disagreement?

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Aug '19 - 8:30pm

    @David Allen
    “She has told Corbyn that his meeting should be governed by an agenda from the Lib Dems.”

    Did Corbyn provide a proper agenda for this meeting? He initiated the meeting after all.

    If he didn’t that was extremely remiss and Jo was quite entitled to propose an agenda for the meeting.

  • Paul Barker 26th Aug '19 - 9:18pm

    My experience of Meetings that start without an agreed Agenda is that they end up as a frustrating waste of time & energy.
    Of course no-one who posts on here “Knows” what’s happening behind the scenes, its behind the scenes. There are plenty of Ideas going round & lots of MPs claim to be talking to each other about them, lets hope one of them works.
    Personally I expect things to get a lot worse before they get better, if then.

  • @David Allen – “She has told Corbyn that his meeting should be governed by an agenda from the Lib Dems”
    No she hasn’t. Read the text of her letter. She says, “I propose the following topics of discussion.” It’s a very reasonable suggestion, presented in a very reasonable way. It also sets out clearly where our party stands. That is her job.

  • Geoffrey Dron 27th Aug '19 - 3:12am

    Labour is in a weak position; Corbyn wants to strike a deal before the Brighton Conference or there’ll be bloodletting when the membership rejects fudge.

    Jo has a strong hand and should push JC into accepting Ken Clarke or similar as an interim PM.

    I suspect BoJo will go for a late September GE if he’s likely to be faced with a VoNC backed by this.

    Unfortunately the polling’s going BoJo’s way, so he may well get a clear majority for no deal from a ‘we’re sick of this’ electorate.

  • @David Allen “She must know that this is to play up the divisions between Labour and the Lib Dems. So why, at a meeting to explore cross-party collaboration, does she insist on emphasising the areas of disagreement?”

    She points out the areas of disagreement because:

    1) the media will portray such a meeting as “Swinson gets into bed with Corbyn” if she doesn’t. Corbyn is toxic to millions of our potential voters so we need to ensure that message is loud and clear.
    2) unfortunately there are a minority of our own party attracted to Mr Corbyn, and who undermine the clear message she is putting out, so this message needs double reinforcement

  • Brian Edmonds 27th Aug '19 - 8:55am

    I suspect these threads are actually flushing out quite a few closet Leavers, to judge by the animosity expressed towards Jo Swinson, and any notion of finding a way to reverse Brexit. Corbyn’s claim to be the only rightful leader of a transitional government is self-serving and tendentious – ten days ago Paul Tyler wrote on this site: “The idea that the Leader of the Official Opposition has a constitutional right to form an alternative government as soon as the current Prime Minister is defeated by a Vote of Confidence is wishful thinking by the Corbyn coterie”.

    Any putative Prime Minister must command the confidence of the House of Commons, and the idea that this applies to Corbyn is risible. Corbyn’s puppeteers are working the falsehood for all it’s worth, wheeling out the lamentable John Ashworth on Sunday to bleat about ‘…putting Her Majesty in an impossible position…’ on Sky News and Radio 4. To their discredit, both presenters (hard to call them journalists) let this bluster pass unchallenged – are they inadequately briefed, or just afraid to risk appearing ‘biased’?

    Of course Corbyn would like to enter the next election as the incumbent, but if he felt any genuine duty to act in the national interest he would show real statesmanship for the first time in his life, and defer to a truly inclusive figure. Jo is right to ignore the lazy misnomer ‘national unity’ – there’s no chance of that, and it’s not necessary at this juncture – what’s needed is a government of neutrality. Contrary to some of the invective above, Jo Swinson has never put herself forward to lead it, but one thing is clear: Corbyn is the last person MPs should choose.

  • Ross McLean – Hey, you’ve got me bang to rights! When I said that Swinson had produced “an agenda” for Corbyn’s meeting, I was foolish enough to quote the summary provided by Paul Walter. As you point out, she actually described it as a sequence of “topics for discussion”. Which is an entirely different thing, n’est ce pas? If you are a little bit ashamed of what you are describing, that is.

  • Nonconformist Radical “Did Corbyn provide a proper agenda … If he didn’t that was extremely remiss and Jo was quite entitled to propose an agenda”

    So, on the basis of a pure speculation, Swinson might perhaps have had a point. What she actually said was that an agenda should be “set out” ahead of the meeting “for the benefit of all those across the country”. (Sorry Ross, I have now found the actual word “agenda” in Swinson’s own piece.) In other words, the agenda should be made public, and it should be that put forward by the Lib Dems, unilaterally, without allowing Labour or anyone else a chance to propose changes.

    It should also include a discussion topic (number 4) specifically covering Labour’s long term aims on Brexit, and specifically referring to two conflicting statements by Corbyn and McDonnell. Never mind that the meeting was called simply to devise a short term emergency provision to stop No Deal Brexit.

    Does this sound like a helpful, noncontentious piece of meetings organisation, aimed towards a productive discussion? Does it sound like the necessary search for common ground and a viable plan of action, without which we might as well all give up and support Boris?

  • In our recent leadership election I voted for Ed Davey; he lost in an open, transparent ballot of all members who chose to take part. Jo Swinson won comfortably and is now in post, feeling her way in a confusing and highly charged political environment. Her job right now is to ensure that LibDem policy (*our* policy) is heard and is seriously considered by all the other leaders in the upcoming discussions. I am prepared to accept her leadership and her judgment (and that of her advisers; she isn’t a law unto herself).
    Yet in many comments on this article I others I find people piling in to denigrate her personally and her exposition of party policy.
    It reminds me of the ‘It should have been David ‘ faction when Labour chose Ed.
    This isn’t ‘my’ party or ‘your’ party; it’s ‘our’ party pursuing our policies to the best of our ability. We have a leader. Let’s get behind her for all our sakes.

  • Keir Starmer has been doing the rounds with a clear message for party leaders; hes office in a couple of hours: unite around one plan.
    says, “Let’s try and put our tribal differences on one side because what we’ve got to do, very effectively, is have one plan that is going to work to prevent no-deal Brexit and we’ve got to implement it next week.”

    Jo Swinson is still repeating her “Anyone but Corbyn” condition…

    Not an auspicious start to a unified approach

  • @Ian Hurdley “This isn’t ‘my’ party or ‘your’ party; it’s ‘our’ party pursuing our policies to the best of our ability. We have a leader. Let’s get behind her for all our sakes.”

    Indeed.

    We had exactly the same when Clegg won; a vocal minority sniping from the sidelines. The same people are doing the same thing now against Jo, largely, it seems, for the same reasons – that she is prepared to be robustly anti-Labour rather than cosying up to them as these individuals would prefer.

  • @ expats Not ‘anyone but Corbyn ‘, but anyone who is acceptable to a majority of MPs as someone who *can* unite opposition to leaving the EU into an effective parliamentary force. Corbyn has given no indication that he could fulfill that brief. So, why is Jo Swinson wrong to state the bleeding obvious at the outset?

  • TCO 27th Aug ’19 – 11:20am…………..We had exactly the same when Clegg won; a vocal minority sniping from the sidelines. The same people are doing the same thing now against Jo, largely, it seems, for the same reasons – that she is prepared to be robustly anti-Labour rather than cosying up to them as these individuals would prefer………………

    Oh, how I wish that the ‘vocal minority’ had been listened to; 2015 could’ve been so different.
    As for being ‘robustly anti-Labour’ and ‘cosying up to them’????? There is an overriding need to stop Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit and the middle ground of ‘co-operation’ on this issue seems an anathema to many on here. Tom Brake says: “I would not support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister in an emergency scenario” so if parliament is deadlocked over no-deal or Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘stop gap’ PM he’d go for no-deal? How aboiut you?

    …………………Ian Hurdley 27th Aug ’19 – 12:36pm…[email protected] expats . So, why is Jo Swinson wrong to state the bleeding obvious at the outset?………………

    If you see nothing untoward in stating the ‘outcome’ before the meeting then any argument is wasted. When did this party become so tribalistic and small minded? Ah, yes, now I remember.

  • @expats “Oh, how I wish that the ‘vocal minority’ had been listened to; 2015 could’ve been so different.”

    Not at all. They were not interested in being constructive; they were just furious that they’d lost control of the train set. In any case the alternative to Clegg as leader was Chris Huhne; that would have turned out well, wouldn’t it.

    “As for being ‘robustly anti-Labour’ and ‘cosying up to them’????? There is an overriding need to stop Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit and the middle ground of ‘co-operation’ on this issue seems an anathema to many on here. Tom Brake says: “I would not support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister in an emergency scenario” so if parliament is deadlocked over no-deal or Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘stop gap’ PM he’d go for no-deal? How aboiut you?”

    Corbyn and his puppet masters are not interested in stoping Brexit. Their over-riding aim is to install Corbyn as PM so they can get Brexit over the line and implement their disaster socialism. Your scenario would never arise because, fortunately, there are enough parliamentarians outside the party who would never countenance enabling Corbyn to become PM that we don’t have to worry about it. Frankly there’s no difference between a Johnson Brexit and a Corbyn Brexit.

  • Alex Macfie 27th Aug '19 - 2:20pm

    expats, TCO: Actually the problem under Clegg was we weren’t “tribal” enough. Clegg was too willing to cosy up to the Tories and failed to consider the implications for our party. The Rose Garden press conference set completely the wrong tone, suggesting the Coalition was a “meeting of minds” rather than a business arrangement. And only under Clegg could the Lib Dems have been made to stand aside in a vanity by-election called by a right-wing authoritarian Tory (David Davis, in Haltemprice & Howden, at the time a target seat for us), supposedly over civil liberties. This was equivalent to us having stood aside for Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election.
    Now Jo is, rightly, keeping a distance from (on this occasion) the Labour leader, not giving in to Corbyn’s demands (e.g. that he be PM following a successful VONC) nor doing any sort of love-in with him. She is making clear our position as a party and distinguishing us from our negotiating partner. Yet some (not all) of the same people who complained about us cosying up to the Tories under Clegg are now complaining that we are NOT cosying up to Labour. Is selling our souls OK when it’s to Labour?

  • David Allen 27th Aug '19 - 5:37pm

    Ian Hurdley: I voted for Jo Swinson. Many leaders start poorly and then improve as they learn on the job (Paddy Ashdown, by his own admission, for one!) Let’s hope Swinson does. Ignoring a leader’s mistakes, and just giving them uncritical support, will not help.

    TCO: “We had exactly the same when Clegg won; a vocal minority sniping from the sidelines. The same people are doing the same thing now against Jo, largely, it seems, for the same reasons – that she is prepared to be robustly anti-Labour”

    Clegg, of course, was prepared to be robustly pro-Conservative and anti-Labour on just about all occasions. A vocal majority would belatedly tend to agree that this was not exactly ideal. Let’s hope Jo is not a second Nick. Her response after today’s cross-party talks, concentrating on overcoming the No Deal Brexit threat and not making silly partisan points, was a much better sign.

  • Alex Macfie 27th Aug '19 - 5:55pm

    The idea that Jo might be a “second Nick” is absolute rubbish. Refusing to cosy up to Labour != cosying up to the Tories. It was a problem when we became too close to either of the two main parties, whether that was Paddy with Blair’s Labour or Clegg with Cameron’s Conservatives. Jo may be robustly anti-Corbyn, but it appears to be Corbyn and his clique specifically, not Labour generally, that she is opposed to. And there is no evidence that she’s cosying up to Johnson’s Tories; quite the opposite she’s called him “unfit to govern”.

  • David Allen 27th Aug '19 - 6:04pm

    TCO: “Tom Brake says: “I would not support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister in an emergency scenario”. So if parliament is deadlocked over no-deal or Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘stop gap’ PM, he’d go for no-deal.”

    Hold hard, very hard. Does your second sentence truly follow from the first? Have you asked Mr Brake?

    Mightn’t it be that Mr Brake would simply prefer to try all sorts of alternative ways to stop No Deal – such as the legislative route agreed today – which he thought would stand a better chance? (I do hope he doesn’t sue you for libel…!)

    Alex Macfie: “The same people who complained about us cosying up to the Tories under Clegg are now complaining that we are NOT cosying up to Labour. Is selling our souls OK when it’s to Labour?”

    The Lib Dems sold their souls to the Tories for five years of austerity. Labour have proposed taking nominal charge for something more like five weeks (though it seems Corbyn has now happily agreed that a less Corbyn-centric approach will be preferable if it works better). There’s a bit of a difference, isn’t there?

  • TCO 27th Aug ’19 – 2:19pm,,,,,,,,,A fantasy post about rabid socialism which has no place on this thread although, on most subjects, that appears to be your ‘raison d’etre’.
    BTW I note you ignore my question posed at 1.31pm.

    Alex Macfie 27th Aug ’19 – 2:20pm..Alex, Tribalism has little to do with our policies and everything to do with opposing the policies of other parties even when they are identical to ours. Why use over emotive terms, like ‘cosying up’ and ‘selling our souls’, when a far more accurate description would be ‘co-operating’?
    Corbyn has shown he is open to compromise and flexibility by shifting his stance from VoNC to a parliamentary legislative fsolution as suggested by other party leaders.

  • @ expats He’s on transmit not receive. Claims to have a history Ph.D. but very coy about it.

    He says, “Their over-riding aim is to install Corbyn as PM so they can get Brexit over the line and implement their disaster socialism.”

    Keir Starmer, a man of considerably more standing than your current correspondent said today, ““Jeremy Corbyn has very clearly said any outcome now must be subject to a referendum and we would campaign for remain,” BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.”

  • Geoffrey Dron 27th Aug '19 - 7:16pm

    BoJo is unfit to hold public office but, for that matter, so is Jezza judging by the nonsense he’s been spouting about ‘bankers’ brexit’ etc.,

    https://capx.co/corbyns-bonkers-bankers-brexit/

    He’s shifted over VoNC because he’s finally got it through his thick skull that the numbers aren’t there, particularly if it’s a case of JC4(interim)PM.

    That said, I’ll accept there are limitations over the unfitness argument (why I resigned from the Tories) – thank goodness Asquith didn’t apply it to LG after Marconi!

  • David Raw writes “Keir Starmer, a man of considerably more standing than your current correspondent said today, ““Jeremy Corbyn has very clearly said any outcome now must be subject to a referendum and we would campaign for remain,” BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.””

    Unfortunately this is the same Sir Keir Starmer who is regularly contradicted by his leader at the behest of the eminences grises who sit in the shadows behind Corbyn and provide the string-pulling animation to the allotment marionette. These eminences grises being the brexiteer Marxists – Milne, McCluskey, McDonnell and Murphy.

    It is quaintly charming to think that anyone believes in Starmer’s ability to undertake independent action, given how regularly he is brought to heel.

  • Alex Macfie 28th Aug '19 - 7:17am

    expats: Corbyn had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards a legislative solution that does not involve installing him as “caretaker” PM, while you seem to be complaining that Jo insisted that Corbyn move away from his original position of VoNC followed by a temporary Corbyn administration. Instead you seem to think we should have just rolled over and accepted his terms, similar to how Clegg did things when negotiating with Cameron.
    David Allen: You misquoted me. I wrote “Some (not all) of” Clegg’s critics. I was one of the critics of how Clegg handled the Coalition (not, however, of the principle of going into coalition). But having complained about Clegg not being robust enough in negotiations with Cameron (a point on which we are in agreement), you are now complaining that Jo ISN’T treating Corbyn the way Clegg treated Cameron. Co-operation means mutual give and take, and it’s principally because Jo was robust in standing up to Corbyn that he shifted his position.

  • Alex Macfie 28th Aug ’19 – 7:17am……………expats: Corbyn had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards a legislative solution that does not involve installing him as “caretaker” PM……………………

    My goodness, the meeting was amicable and only lasted a few hours; how much time for ‘kicking and screaming’ was there? Considering that, in his invitation letter, Jeremy Corbyne pledged to discuss “all tactics available” to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal, it seems that compromise was on his agenda.

    As for changing one’s position..Jo Swinson’s initial response was that the very idea of such a meeting was “Nonsense” and on leaving this meeting she said, “This was a positive meeting with a clear objective to stop the nightmare that is no-deal Brexit…”

    Hmmm? I wonder how many of you who wrote supporting her ‘Nonsense’ stance are now supporting her u-turn?

  • I fail to see the dilemma: its either no-deal Brexit on Oct 31 with continued/renewed Johnson/Tory government, or no Brexit under Corbyn/Labour. There are no other permutations anymore, and every MP has a crystal-clear choice.

  • “It’s principally because Jo was robust in standing up to Corbyn that he shifted his position.”

    The crucial reality which swayed Corbyn was the attitude of the Tory rebels, who largely refused (at the time) to back VONC, but wanted to back legislation against no-deal. Swinson carried much less weight, not because of her negotiating style, but simply because you have less leverage when your MPs are in any case totally committed to stopping Brexit.

    Corbyn deserves credit for recognising the reality and for allowing the other parties a due share of the publicity. Swinson deserves credit for responding to that in a non-partisan way. Now, of course, it has all changed. Let’s hope – shall we – that the atmosphere of positive co-operation between the Opposition parties does not change!

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