Labour fail to back Single Market

A cross party amendment to keep Britain in the Single Market was lost yesterday by 299 votes to 136 after Labour Lords who voted were mostly against, and Conservatives turned out in greater numbers.

Liberal Democrat leader in the Lords Dick Newby commented.

By far the best option for our economy is to stay in the Single Market. Unfortunately Theresa May’s Government is hell bent on dragging us towards a hard Brexit.

Whatever deal May comes back with is quite simply not going to be as good as remaining in the Single Market. That is why we voted to ask her to think again on this vital issue.

It is extremely disappointing that Labour chose not support this amendment despite the costs of a hard Brexit on working people’s jobs and prosperity.

It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the true opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government.

Other reactions include

Were any reasons given for this capitulation? It seems that anything less than hard Brexit is to be described as ignoring the referendum. Never mind that the referendum did not specify hard or soft, and that waverers were assured – were promised – that co-operation would continue where it is in everybody’s interests. On any other policy, a decent opposition would not only support amendments to defend the public interest, but would refuse to vote with the government unless those amendments were accepted. The majority in the Lords is failing not only to give any voice to the 48% but is abandoning the wiser half of the 52% too.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • That makes them a but like Willie Rennie then.

  • *bit

  • The Labour party are disgusting.

  • The rise of UKIP out of the back benches of the Tory party scared both moderate Conservatives and the Labour party into first the wrong referendum at the wrong time and now into a hard Brexit which wasn’t on the table. At the same time UKIP is falling on it’s knees, it’s members returning to the Conservative party (or trying to make friends with Trump) and a voice calling for internal political reform is being lost. It feels as if those wanting to “take back control” only ever wanted to take back control for a political party which has been in power most of any of our lifetimes. Attacks on Labour and UKIP forgets that this is a problem caused by Tories, driven by Tories and with Tories (the nastiest ones) being the ultimate winner while the majority lose out.

  • Michael Cole 28th Feb '17 - 12:40pm

    DJ rightly points out that “… this is a problem caused by Tories …”

    Shame on Labour, but we should never forget that it was the Conservative Party that got us into this Brexit mess.

  • Christopher Haigh 28th Feb '17 - 12:42pm

    @DJ-I agree wth you. UKIP was just the Trojan horse of the Tory ultra right wing. Now its been taken over by socialist worker they will certainly abandon it. In the meantime UKIP has the legacy of creating chaos in our modern times. This has been consequent IMHO from both Tory and Labour over-reaction to it egged on by the BBC , and the other right wing media outlets. Now see how the media turned to destroyed UKIP in Stoke.

  • Good for them. Pity it’s being dragged in the HoL, but there you go.

  • Apparently 65% of Labour voters backed Remain. What is the Labour party playing at? I just don’t buy this deep principled respect for the democratic will of the people. Since when did losing a general election mean that you don’t oppose the democratically elected government.

  • William Ross 28th Feb '17 - 4:43pm

    Michael Cole

    It was not the Tories who ” got us into this Brexit mess” it was the British people in a referendum which you lost. Start respecting the people please.

    There is no possible way that staying in the Single Market is consistent with Leave. For one thing we cannot control our borders or was immigration not an issue in the campaign? Staying in the Single Market would be worse than staying on as a member.

    When will you recognise that your cause is as dead as the 1865 Confederacy?

  • When it comes to Brexit the Labour party and the Tories both want a hard Brexit. As Orwell put it so well

    ““The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  • @William Ross

    Probably the same day you recognise you’ve only gone and blown the UK’s feet off. As I suspect that will be someday never, no matter what the facts and events throw at you lets say no time soon. Thanks however for your kind offer to join your crusade to make the UK great again, but some of us don’t want to go back to the 50’s especially the 1850’s favoured by some of the brave Brexiteers key leaders.

    As for respecting the people I respect quite a lot of them, strangely enough I don’t respect people inviting myself and my family to embrace poverty. If therefore you want me to respect you, just offer to pay the money Brexit has already cost me and keep paying it.

  • William Ross 28th Feb '17 - 5:31pm


    You assume that your dire predictions are fact but Project Fear is now discredited. Where is the Third World World War, the collapse in the FTSE, the collapse of the London property market, the punishment budget, the Brexit recession?

    However, the most basic thing is that the British people voted to LEAVE the EU and what we now need to do is trigger Article 50 and respect that mandate.

  • I notice that 79 Lib Dem peers voted against the government. What happened to the rest of them, I’m sure there are more than 79 Lib Dem peers.

  • William only in your world, in mine the £ has already lost 15% of its value (in a Brexit wonderland no doubt it’s soaring) and food prices are rising (not in your world of cause, sunlit uplands only).

    Here are a few facts (the horror, he’s using facts not bold statements)

    As sterling falls in Brexit’s wake, food is costing Britons more and more. A survey of 175,000 products commissioned by Channel 4’s Dispatches compared the average prices of food categories on June 23rd, 2016 and January 31st, 2017. Since the referendum, prices have risen more than 5 per cent across a range of essential food categories in leading supermarkets. Every little hurts, as they might now say.

    A 15 per cent plunge in the value of the pound was always going to prove hard to absorb, and supermarket chains do not have a track record of sucking up deficits for the goodness of their health. (Profit before people, if you like.) This leaves British consumers to do the majority of the sucking.

    Of cause you brave Brexiteers will follow the advice of the Queen of Hearts ( I wonder if her first name was Theresa) and advise the rest of us to follow your example.

    “I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.”
    “I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
    “Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
    Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  • William Ross 28th Feb '17 - 6:21pm


    Yes food prices may be rising a little for now. But we can soon cut them by phasing out the EU.s protectionist tariffs on foodstuffs and help Third World farmers into the bargain.

    You should read Guy Verhofstadt’s book which is called “Europe’s Last Chance” He is head of your Euro-party. Nobody could possibly make a better case for Leave.

  • Bill le Breton 28th Feb '17 - 8:07pm

    The amendment is in effect the EEA- non EU option.

    It would have helped the force of the argument for EEA non EU now had most Liberal Democrats not been so vehemently opposed to EEA non EU during the campaign – many of them saying it would never be agreed to by the 27 and many saying it would in any case lead to ‘policy by fax’.

    Our uncritical stance on the EU has contributed to the present situation.

    We should also note that despite what is being said, there WILL be an interim position. See noises from Hammond and Davies. That interim position is most likely to be EEA non EU and interim positions tend to last a very long time.

  • “By far the best option for our economy is to stay in the Single Market.”

    Well the best option is to stay in the EU. Are the Lib Dems the anti-Brexit party or the pro-Soft Brexit party?

  • @Malc,

    There are 102 Lib Dem Peers. There are 252 Tory Peers, 202 Labour peers, 178 Crossbenchers, 31 None affiliated, 14 Other and 26 Bishops. So rather than asking were are the Lib Dem Peers, perhaps looking at the numbers a fairer question is, were are the Labour Peers who statistically are an outlier rather than the Lib Dems and the Tories.


    Pain today, but jam tomorrow, jam will I fear always be tomorrow.

  • Peter Watson 1st Mar '17 - 12:07am

    @frankie “in mine the £ has already lost 15% of its value”
    The 10 year (and even 5 year) graph on this page ( puts the current value of the pound against the euro into some sort of context. It’s not greatly different from where it was through much of the Coalition years.
    I’m no kind of economist, so out of interest, what do you think is a good level for the pound to be at?

  • “interim position is most likely to be EEA non EU and interim positions” – none of the EU or EFTA member states have indicated they will back this, as such it is no more guaranteed than saying our interim position will be ones as a member of ASEAN or UNASUR.

  • Peter Martin 1st Mar '17 - 12:44am

    @ Peter Watson,

    You’re question about the value of the pound is quite valid. I hope you get an answer.

    We in the UK have taken the view, for as along as I can remember, that the pound should be highly valued. In Germany, the view has been just the opposite. They have always wanted their currency to be cheap to support a Trade surplus. That’s why they like the euro which is really too cheap for their economy.

    Neither country has it right. There’s really no point in having a perpetual trade surplus. That just means the accumulation of other countries IOUs which can’t be spent. It means that home consumption has to be curtailed to maintain the surplus. On the other hand, a high currency produces a trade deficit which has to be continually financed by someone (usually the government) borrowing to support all that.

    It would make much more sense if we all moved towards balancing our trade and priced our currencies accordingly.

  • William Ross 1st Mar '17 - 8:05am


    This is my last post in this series. You and I are arguing over the economic impact of leaving the Single Market. The exact same arguments were made throughout the referendum campaign. The ultimate sovereign, the British people decided for Leave. That means triggering Article 50. The unelected Lib Dem Lordships, scorning the view of the people, are trying to defeat/undermine the Article 50 process.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if Project Fear had not been so totally discredited. I am surprised and disappointed. But it will do you no good. Soldiers of the EU, your cause is lost!

  • @: William Ross “the British people decided for Leave”.

    Not in Scotland they didn’t. It’s possible that the Brexiteers will not only break up the EU but break up the UK.

  • Bill le Breton 1st Mar '17 - 8:37am

    Paul you are right when you write, ” none of the EU or EFTA member states have indicated they will back this, as such it is no more guaranteed than saying …”

    Does that mean you would have voted against the single market amendment as there is clearly no guarantee of that either.

    Of course, transferring our present membership of the EEA into one without membership of the EU will greatly enhance the power of the EEA non EU group (replacing to alleged fax machine with greater consultative leverage)and the EU will retain tariff free trade with the UK market with which they have surpluses.

    But it is good that you remind us of all the arguments most Lib Dem members make against EEA non EU status

  • Bill le Breton 1st Mar '17 - 8:56am

    @frankie and the two Peters, I suggest that the optimum value of a currency is one that plays its part in generating a stable growth rate for nominal gross domestic product (NGDP) of between 4.5 and 5% per annum. This was the stable growth rate that the UK economy produced across a couple of decades during the period later called the Great Moderation.

    This growth rate was re-established by June 2010 when along came the Coalition and ‘accelerated deficit reduction’ and its idea of expansionary fiscal contraction.

    Really since 2010 the economy has been growing at under ther 5% trend rate. Potential has been wasted. Who knows what those years of 5% NGDP growth between 2010 and 2016 might have done to the psychology of those who voted ‘out’ or who didn’t vote.

    Clearly we needed a depreciation and we got one and predictably it increased NGDP growth.

  • William Ross 1st Mar '17 - 10:12am

    I did say I would not re-enter this article but I see David Raw’s comment which merits a response. I am a Scotsman who supported YES in 2014. For the record, 62% of Scots voted for THE UNITED KINGDOM to Remain in the EU. Many if not most of these were Unionists who do not wish Scotland to be independent under any scenario. On the other hand, 38% of Scots voted to Leave and just short of half of these were nationalists. Polls show no overall increase for support for independence. Instead, polls show that SNP supporters were MORE likely to vote Leave than the supporters of any other party.

    Scotland needs realism, just like the Single Market……..

  • @ William Ross I’m sorry, William, your assertion is wrong. The Survation polls contradict your comment.

    The survey of SNP voters shows a higher proportion for Remain in the EU and a lower proportion for Brexit than the Scottish average. I suggest you look at the Survation website deaing with Scottish polling.

    I do wish that some of the posters on LDV could get away from the notion that a separate Scotland is essentially about nationalism. It is not as simple as that.

    The fact is Scotland is a more social democratic society with a more social democratic political system than the Tory dominated Westminster system which continues to pursue austerity, welfare cuts, Trident and preferential treatment for big business and the wealthy………….. indeed the current Brexit fever in the Tory party exhibits a far more unpleasant and primitive form of nationalism than anything I have experienced living north of the border.

  • Michael Cole 1st Mar '17 - 11:14am

    @William Ross: You allege “It was not the Tories who ” got us into this Brexit mess” it was the British people in a referendum which you lost. Start respecting the people please.”

    The whole ridiculous process was started by the Conservative Party, for selfish political reasons which are well known. The result was to ask the British to give a simplistic answer to a complex issue.

    As for respecting the people, since when does disagreement equate to lack of respect ?
    Furthermore, it seems that you do not respect the 48% who voted to Remain.

  • William Ross 1st Mar '17 - 11:23am

    David Raw

    Lord Ashcroft`s polls take after the referendum showed that SNP supporters were more likely to vote Leave than those of any other party. Now obviously, a majority of SNP supporters did not vote Leave. What is undeniable is that nearly 500,000 Yessers voted Leave.

  • Peter Watson 1st Mar '17 - 11:58am

    @Michael Cole “The whole ridiculous process was started by the Conservative Party, for selfish political reasons which are well known. The result was to ask the British to give a simplistic answer to a complex issue.”
    But while Lib Dems were campaigning for several years to “ask the British to give a simplistic answer to a complex issue”, the Tories were very reluctant and dragged their heels.

  • Peter Watson 1st Mar '17 - 12:40pm

    From all this, and looking at the value of the pound, the message seems to be Labour government = bad, Tory-dominated government = better, anticipation of Tory government without Lib Dems = best of all, asking the British people to decide = disaster.
    So, with hindsight, the Lib Dem policy of asking the British people was not so good and the Tories and Labour were right all along to want to avoid it.

  • Bill le Breton 1st Mar '17 - 4:45pm

    What we shall be missing – or 5 scenarios of how EU27 will move forward to 2025

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