Layla Moran on Question Time tonight

For once, in a week when the Liberal Democrats have attracted two new MPs and played a huge role in the cross party efforts to pass the legislation to protect us from a No Deal Brexit, the party will be represented on Question Time.

Layla Moran will be representing the party. The other panellists include Iain Dale, whose fringe show she appeared on in Edinburgh, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Labour’s Emily Thornberry, Conservative Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and the Brexit Party MEP Richard Tice.

Watch on BBC1 at 10:35 or catch up on iPlayer.

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  • Layla did well. She was wise to stay out of all the unpleasant arguing and just carefully use her opportunities to make her own points.
    Emily Thornberry showed how vulnerable Labour still are on Brexit.

  • Geoffrey Dron 6th Sep '19 - 2:27am

    The GE should go ahead on 15th October. The incoming government can announce its policy with regard to an extension before the meeting with EU ministers.

  • John Marriott 6th Sep '19 - 7:42am

    I’m getting a bit fed up with Fiona Bruce. Mind you, she’s pretty experienced with fakes as well as antiques. Layla Moran was feisty and Ian Dale got annoyed with little Ian Blackford, who just wouldn’t shut up. Kwasi Kwarteng (another Elton Scholarship boy, I believe) was his usual right wing self, while Emily Thornberry was tying herself in knots. As Dick Emery might have said, she was awful; but I quite like her – for some reason. Otherwise it was Wall to Wall Brexit.

    So, what did we learn? Well, Fiona, it looks as if there will be no GE until No Deal has disappeared, whenever that will be. Otherwise we are in for more frustration and misery. Cameron want HAVE you done?!

  • John Marriott 6th Sep '19 - 8:01am

    Oops! I forgot to mention Richard Tice of the Brexit Party/Company. He’s an interesting character. A property developer, I believe, who, a cynic might say, could do very well if we crash out, which could devastate property values, ripe for the picking if you have a few quid, which Mr Tice obviously has. Perhaps I’m being unfair to him. However, I notice that the great reclining Rees Mogg has moved his other business to Dublin, while John Redwood doesn’t deny that he has advised ‘clients’ to invest in Europe. Whatever you think about Brexit, the only people, who appear to have all their bases covered appear to be those on the Leave side.

    Cameron, what HAVE you done?!

  • Dilettante Eye 6th Sep '19 - 8:35am

    “…while John Redwood doesn’t deny that he has advised ‘clients’ to invest in Europe.

    Why shouldn’t he advise investing in Europe?

    It seems that no matter how many times it’s pointed out, some remainers still just don’t (or can’t), seem to be able to grasp the reasons for Brexit.

    Fact ~ Leavers don’t hate Europe !!!
    We simply don’t want that unwanted layer of ‘quango’ governance that calls itself the EU.

    Why are so many remainers still impervious to this very simple fact? Is it that you can only understand information if it’s presented in a simple to understand soundbite?
    O.K. here goes.

    Brexiteer ~ Love Europe hate the EU

  • I must have watched a different programme than the rest of you…

    I thought Moran, Thornbury and Blackford did well. They ‘sang from the same hymnsheet’ and, despite the constant “Give a date” demand: a demand that is impossible to answer with all the variables ( including Johnson’s untrustworthiness), were far more forthcoming than the ‘simple’ non answers of the three leavers.

  • I never watched last nights QT, did Emily Thornberry really say that Labour would negotiate a new deal with the eu then put it back to the peoples vote and then Labour would campaign to remain?
    If so that is totally absurd and just goes to show how remainers will do anything to sabotage brexit.
    Why on earth would the EU negotiate a good deal with a Labour Government, when it would be the Labour Governments position to campaign against the deal and remain in the following referendum? It just goes to show why Labour is doing so badly trying to be all things to all people and is as about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

    If trust is going to be restored in politics, political parties need to be 100 % open and transparent on their position on Brexit. If they are against ALL forms of Brexit, then they should say so and be campaigning to revoke article 50 instead of calling for another referendum in which the result would not be respected anyway by the remainers and no doubt would be frustrated again for months and years to come causing further uncertainty.

    Lets have a General Election, let the people decide if they want to vote for a party that will deliver brexit and to get on with it.
    And as someone who is Brexiteer, I would urge all remianers to vote for Liberal Democrats and side step Labour altogether who would only continue to muddy the waters for years to come

  • No matter what side of the divide that you are on Leave or Remain people want an end to this Brexit process, they do not want another 6-12 months of uncertainty, they are sick of it.
    Conservatives have a clear position that they will leave the EU on the 31st with or without a deal
    Liberal Democrats if they have any sense should fight an election with the promise that they would revoke article 50 and remain in the EU
    Labour have no position at all and would cause years of more uncertainty and they should be side stepped by the electorate. I think they would be hammered in the election and deservedly so, nobody wants to hang around for another 12 months in no-mans land

    Lets have an election where the Tories and Liberal Democrats have a clear battle on Leave or remain and let the people decide.

    The sooner we get this election the better, Liberal Democrats should get behind an election sooner rather than later or risk alienating potential waverers by the delays

  • Geoffrey Dron 6th Sep '19 - 1:11pm
  • matt 6th Sep ’19 – 12:09pm……………….No matter what side of the divide that you are on Leave or Remain people want an end to this Brexit process, they do not want another 6-12 months of uncertainty, they are sick of it…………..

    That, almost from day one, has been the Tory (Leave) position; run down the clock.

    Calling a referdum, in the first place had nothing to do with addressing peoples’ concerns’ and everything to do with a weak PM (a PM with whom this party didn’y have,, in it’s leader’s words ‘anything to B. disagree on’) who was afraid of losing seats to UKip.

    The vote was so close that the initial approach should’ve been for all sides of opinion and party to get together; Labour wanted an exit with close ties to the EU, LibDems wanted to Remain and Conservatives wanted to have all of the advantages of being in with none of the disadvantages of being out (Johnson’s ‘cake and eat it’ deal).

    As the reality of the consequences of leaving became clear the ‘extremes’ of Remain and No-Deal could’ve been put on a three way ballot together with any compromise deal in a confirmatory referendum (as even Rees-Mogg suggested) and the result implemented.

    Instead, 3 years later, we are no closer to finding a solution. Even if the UK gets an extension, and an election, a Tory/Brexit Party alliance would result in a No-Deal whilst a Labour/SNP/LibDem/etc. alliance would result in Remain. A result leaving no alliances may not give any party a majority and the whole rigmarole starts again.


  • Malcolm Todd 6th Sep '19 - 1:34pm

    matt 6th Sep ’19 – 12:09pm
    “No matter what side of the divide that you are on Leave or Remain people want an end to this Brexit process”
    Sure – but that’s not going to happen any time soon, regardless of whether we leave on 31 October or not. Remainers and – oh, let’s call them “Dealers” – have been trying to explain that for some time now, but it doesn’t seem to get through: if we Leave on 31 October, it won’t even be the beginning of the end of “this Brexit process” – it will be at most the end of the beginning.

  • Malcolm,
    The day after Brexit the real negotiations and consequences begin, but and it is a big BUT as long as they call the negotiations something else, a lot of our Brexi’s and Lexis’s will pretend it is nothing. Reality is not for them and they will swear black is white, to get away from the scary reality they have trouble facing.

  • I never said it would be the end of the process.
    However it would be the end of the whether we will or wont.
    The process would at the very least be started because lets face it, it has not really even started yet and negotiations still stuck at the first stages which if people were honest, was the remainers tactics all along, frustrate the process for as long as possible.

    With a clear election result between Tory and Liberal Democrat we could hopefully either, with a Tory Government, continue the process of brexit with a deal or no deal under tories.
    or under LD, just abandon the whole process and revoke article 50

    I am not suggesting that the whole thing will be done and dusted by the 31st October, however, we need some sense of direction in which we are travelling and the only way to do that is for parties to have a clear and transparent position on what the would do with Brexit.
    We are not going to get that with Labour, hence the reason that I said remainers should bypass Labour and vote Liberal Democrat if they wish to remain. A vote for labour is a vote to muddy the water further still.
    If the election is fought between 2 parties who clearly at polar opposites on Brexit, then possibly we might just get a clearer result from the electorate.

    I realise that In all likeliness, we are probably going to end up with a minority governments and unstable coalitions for the next decade and nothing will be resolved, but that does not mean parties should not try and thats why I believe the parties need to be 100% honest with the electorate on their positions.

    Labour have shown their absurdity of wanting to negotiate a new deal and then put to the people in a 2nd referendum and campaign to remain.
    Liberal Democrats call for a 2nd referendum, but want to stop brexit at all costs and would never implement the result if they were in or part of a Government. So a call for a second referendum is a complete waste of time.
    Time for some honesty and simplicity and have party policies of either leave or remain and revoke and lets have a General election and see what the public does

  • We all know if we are truly honest that a coalition government with Liberal Democrats as part of it would not under any circumstances sign off on brexit. Can LD’s honesty tell me that with Jo Swinson as either Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister would sign off on a brexit deal? We all know that she would not. So lets drop the farcical 2nd referendum calls which is just going to cause further problems down the line for the party.

    Fight an election based on revoke and give the electorate a clear choice. That is the only way to take on Conservatives and Labour in the election.
    A rainbow coalition between Labour, LD’s and probably the SNP is going to be difficult enough as it is, with the SNP demanding a 2nd independence referendum as a price to pay for coalition, something I cannot see the LD’s ever being a part of.
    So the party should be ruling out ANY referendums as its price for coalition and should be the party of revoke

  • Matt,

    Why do people want quick fixes to complex issues? Has it always been so, or did people think differently in the twentieth century and allowed governments to do their best to solve complex problem over the long-term?

    It is unlikely that any party would achieve 50% or more of the vote in a general election and therefore implementing any party’s exclusive promise on Brexit would be wrong. The reason is because a referendum voted to leave and only if 50% plus vote for something else should something else be implemented. This includes a no deal Brexit. During the referendum campaign the Leavers promised getting a deal with the EU would be very easy because it was in the interests of the EU to have a deal. It always seemed to me a strange conclusion to reach from the history of the EU, where it puts its principles above harm to its members (Greece being the best example).

    What I don’t understand is how no deal Brexiteers can believe that we could get a trade deal with the EU without first agreeing a withdrawal agreement. All the issues addressed in the withdrawal agreement will still need addressing if we leave without a deal. During the time between leaving with no deal and agreeing interim terms our trade with the EU would take a massive hit.

  • nigel hunter 6th Sep '19 - 2:30pm

    Quango’s in the EU cost 1 billion euro’s. In the UK they cost £50 billion (Independence Daily sight) .Who is getting the best value? If there are any problems ie waste, corruption, regulations they are what need to be investigated. Both in or out of the EU these will need to be dealt with.

  • Mick Taylor 6th Sep '19 - 2:34pm

    I almost never agree with anything Matt writes. But he is spot on about a 3rd referendum. I would be happiest – and I think the party would be at its most honest – if we fight the upcoming GE at the party of revoke. Doing that the party would be unequivocal in its position and remainers could vote for the Lib Dems confident that our MPs would vote to revoke and end this farce.
    Bollocks to Brexit!

  • @Michael BG

    Could you honestly say hand on heart that Jo Swinson as either PM or more likely Deputy PM would sign off on any deal that saw us leaving the EU?
    I cannot see it happening at all and it will either be a price of coalition that article 50 is revoked or I imagine if there was a coalition government which Liberal Democrats were a part of, part way through that administration, if another referendum vote returned a result for leave, we would see Liberal Democrats walking out of Government as they refuse to be a part of Government that left the EU.
    We will end up seeing ourselves with further periods of uncertainly and further elections.
    All I am asking for is for parties to be totally open and transparent now, pin their colours to the mast so to speak and let the electorate vote accordingly and see what we end up with.
    I honestly think the Liberal Democrats would actually gain from an election by ditching the calls for a 2nd referendum and going straight for revoke. It certainly puts Labour remainers in a position of choosing between Labours Muddy waters (which everyone is sick of) and a party that promises to revoke and remain in the EU. It would cost Labour a very significant chunk of their remain vote and could see the Liberal Democrats coming out as the 2nd largest party in Westminister.

    What would be a disaster for this party, would be to have all the gains that it has made over the last couple of years only to see it crash again like 2010 because it called for a 2nd vote for so many years, then refused to be a part of government that delivered it, if it found itself in power. Whereas if the party sticks to its principles from the get go as a party of revoke, it can never have its name democrat called into question again at a later date

  • Michael BG
    The problem isn’t that people want a quick fix. It’s that one camp is all over the shop in its bid to force Britain into staying in the EU. One minute claiming they want an exit from Brexit, the next that they want it decided by parliament, the next they want a”people’s vote” (populist rhetoric by people claiming to be anti-populist), then they want an election, and then they don’t. All of it now being pushed under the banner of “stopping no deal Brexit”. As clear as mud and plainly driven by fear of voters not giving the right answer.

  • Andrew McCaig 6th Sep '19 - 3:41pm

    Jo Swinson is on record saying that she would honour a Leave vote in another referendum

    I believe her, and you have no good reason not to

  • Andrew McCaig 6th Sep '19 - 3:47pm


    I also think the Lib Dems might benefit in a General Election with a policy of Revoke.

    However that would set a precedent that a Party can change our EU status after being getting a majority with 37%. In other words it would be a temporary measure, and very dangerous and disruptive, not to mention undemocratic.

    I would be OK with:
    1) Revoke so we can organise another referendum (not clear this is legal based on the ECJ judgement that Revoke has to be a “good faith” decision, but I guess that is up to the EU 27
    2) Revoke if parties with that in their manifesto total over 50%, otherwise a Final Say referendum

  • @Andrew McCaig

    “I believe her, and you have no good reason not to”

    Sorry, I have reason not to believe it.

    MP’s will say anything from the safety of opposition benches, but it becomes another story when they find themselves in Government as this party well knows from it’s history.

    I do not believe for one second that a Government that Liberal Democrats are a part of would deliver any kind of brexit.
    You only have to look at your own parties website
    “I am determined to do whatever it takes to stop Brexit, and the Liberal Democrats will continue to lead the Remain cause, as the strongest, and most consistent party arguing that our best future is in the European Union.”

    Not “no deal brexit” but “stop brexit”

    I think it is more plausible that a Government that contains Liberal Democrats would either see Liberal Democrats walk out of Government as they refuse to be a party that delivered it, or they would see extension after extension and kicking the can down the road, which will not resolve anything.

    Why not just be honest about it.
    Be the party of Revoke and refuse to be a part of Government unless article 50 is revoked. You are then giving a clear choice to the electorate and would probably hoover up a majority of remain voters, especially those that list remain as their top priority.

    This party has had a long hard slug to get back from the broken promises and pledges of 2010/15 it is fortunate that it has had this situation with Brexit that has managed to accelerate that recovery due to the amount of remainers who see it as a priority. If it were not for Brexit the party would have taken far longer to see any recovery, surly you can see that?

    So why would the party do anything to jeopardise that and probably make the same mistakes again by promising to honour something, which you know and I know would not be able to bring themselves to do if they were the one in administration and having to deliver it?
    Wouldnt it be sensible to set your colours to the mast now, say we are the party of remain and revoke and that is what a Liberal Democrat Government will deliver should we be given the opportunity.

  • @Martin

    “matt seems to think that Liberal Democrats should support Brexit if a national referendum produced more for Brexit than against.”

    Er where did I say that? I have never said that every “individual” should have to support Brexit if another referendum produced a result for leave. However, there is a difference between the “Individual” and the “Party” and a party would have to support the result should that party have been calling for that referendum in the first place.
    Surly you agree with that Martin?????

    It is because I believe it would be impossible for the “party” to support the results of the referendum, especially if they found themselves as part of a Government that was having to implement the result, that the party should not be calling for it and should instead be a party of just revoke.
    How is that wrong of me to suggest such a thing? surly it makes sense and it is in the parties interest, especially if it is to learn from lessons of the past which almost saw them wiped out to an oblivion for not honouring it’s pledges

  • If we have to leave then I would love us to be the party to sign off on the Deal, as we could make it, or at least the next phase of talks, as closely aligned to the status quo as possible.

    It would be abhorrent of us to walk away and leave it for others to sort out, knowing that doing so would almost inevitably take us further and further away from what we enjoy today.

  • David Allen 6th Sep '19 - 8:15pm

    Jonathan Freedman, below, puts his finger on the critical points which will decide the next election:

    “What cuts through”? Will it be the Leavers’ very simple argument that we need to get Brexit done and “move on” – or will it be the more complex explanation by Remainers that we would still be mired in negotiations, or that the bureaucratic problems at borders would go beyond boring form-filling and would actually create chaos? “When you’re explaining, you’re losing”…

    “Who can unite their tribe?” “If Johnson can unite the pro-Brexit tribe, he can win”. Sadly Freedland’s predictions sound all too plausible. The risk is that on the anti-no-deal side, we fight Labour to a standstill.

    Never mind what we think about Corbyn. Personally I think he’s slow, dithering, and dogmatic. We simply cannot afford to fight Labour to a standstill.

  • David Allen 6th Sep '19 - 8:25pm

    Following from the above. We can and will compete with Labour as a party with many very different policies and attitudes. But – How do we avoid tearing apart the anti-no-deal forces – which would hand victory to Johnson?

    We have to recognise that we have a choice – whether to campaign for Referendum or for Revoke – which we can make freely. It’s not about our principles. It’s about tactics.

    1. If Labour say Referendum, while we say Revoke – We are shooting ourselves in the foot. With (say) a 25% vote, we would be judged as losing the argument to revoke by 75% to 25%. What good would that do?

    2. If Labour say Referendum while we say Referendum – Then it looks as if there is a viable plan. We could win well above 50%. We could think in terms of working together maybe on just that one issue, to get a referendum and a vote to cancel Brexit, and then to disengage from Labour.

    3. If Labour were to say Revoke – Well of course that would be ideal, and would make much more sense. We would of course then say the same. But I don’t think it will happen.

    Option 2 (from my list) looks best at this stage.

  • Peter Martin 6th Sep '19 - 9:28pm

    @ Frankie,

    “The day after Brexit the real negotiations and consequences begin….”

    There was I thinking you always talk a lot of **** but here you are saying what I said right at the start. The real negotiations will only begin once we are out. What we’ve had so far are just manoeuvres -trying to keep us in.

    So let’s leave and get on with it!

  • Mick Taylor and Matt,

    Please can you address my points? A no deal Brexit has no majority support in the country. Revoking Article 50 has no majority support either and it is very unlikely any party will achieve more than 50% of the vote in a general election, so neither option should be implemented without the people supporting it in a referendum.


    I have set out that if I was in charge the referendum act would clearly set out what happens after each vote. And a minister would just have to implement it as Parliament would have already voted for both actions.

  • @Michael BG

    But as far as I understand it, parliament is sovereign and thus, even if a referendum was binding a new prime minister could decide to abandon the legislation if they so chose as long as they had the numbers in parliament to do it.
    That’s the reason i will never trust a “stop brexit” at all costs Prime Minister to deliver.

    I am no constitutional expert and I am sure you know better than I, but I am assuming that even a binding referendum would still be subjected to votes after the results was in, in order to finalise the legislation and for it to come into law and what is to stop arch remainers from using the same tactics as they have this time round in order to thwart / delay brexit? Humble addresses and what not

    I am sorry to keep repeating myself, but I really do not believe that a Government that Liberal Democrats were a part of, would ever sign off on a brexit deal, they would either kick the can down the road with further extension after extension (solving nothing) or they would walk out of Government, refusing to be the ones who enacted Brexit. I am happy for someone from the party hierarchy to come on here and prove me wrong.
    Any future referendum would have to have leave without a deal as an option on the ballot paper, could you honestly sit here and tell me with all good conscience that a Government with Liberal Democrats in it would deliver on that if that was the result of the referendum? I do not believe it would.

  • The main danger to a continuing united front, against a no-deal Brexit, is Jo Swinson.

    When Jeremy Corbyn initially asked for talks to form an anti no-deal alliance her knee-jerk response was “Nonsense” and how Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t/shouldn’t lead; a stance that was defended by many on here..
    After his second letter she attended the talks and, on leaving, praised their progress. These talks led to the first concensus among different parties and, despite Boris Johnson constantly calling them ‘Corbyn’s surrender flag’, this alliance got enough moderate Tory support to stop ‘no-deal’, and Boris Johnson’s GE shenanigans, in their tracks.
    Instead of continuing in good faith her response to Andrew Neil’s question of “Would she support an interim, one-project government led by Jerenmy Corbyn/” she went back to her “Nonsense” default position. The ‘grown up’ response should have been, “Yes, if he can get sufficient support; but, if not, I’d ask him to step aside for someone who could”..Sensible claiming of the moral high ground.
    The SNP, independents, Plaid and Greens seem able to shelve their differences to form a temporary alliance in order to defeat the greater evil; why not this party?

  • Arnold Kiel 7th Sep '19 - 2:51pm

    I interpret the Labour-position as procedural. They neither want to alienate their many leave-voters now, nor pay the high economic price of a real Brexit. They know their “jobs first Brexit” is what Blair calls the pointless one. Should they win power, they would “negotiate” this pointless rule-taker-status outside the political institutions for a while before abandoning it; not because Labour believes in it, but in order to gradually convert their voters to the realisation that there is no sensible middle-ground between no-deal and remaining: you either try your luck in divergence, or fully align and keep your seat at the table. The EU knows that, and will play along. These will not be negotiations, but a slow and public educational exercise in logic. A hard Brexit is already dead, the soft version will take some more time to kill.

  • Peter Hirst 7th Sep '19 - 4:00pm

    If we get an extension, followed by a general election followed by a referendum we might get some closure on Brexit. In the meantime the Amazon burns, inequality increases and our standing in the world continues its downwards spiral. Where will it all end?

  • Suspect the PM will introduce a Referendum, legally binding, before he finally loses it.

  • Mick Taylor 7th Sep '19 - 7:50pm

    Theakes. No parliament can bind its successor. So a so-called binding referendum is simply not possible if a general election intervenes.
    Michael BG. I’m not at all sure what you want. I believe we should nail our pro EU credentials firmly to the mast and fight the election on revoking article 50. (coupled with a firm commitment to EU reform and tackling the very real issues that led to the Brexit vote) That would give the clearest possible sign to remainers that only the Lib Dems will stop Brexit. The time for a further referendum is long gone, especially as the problems of the last one (cheating, lying, illegal payments etc) have not been legislated against nor is there time to do so.
    Bollocks to Brexit.

  • Mick Taylor,

    I want you to acknowledge that revoking Article 50 without more than 50% of those voting for it would be undemocratic. And that no political party is likely to achieve more than 50% of the vote in a general election. (I can’t imagine us having EU policies to scrap the stability and growth pact, to ensure that the richer countries in the Euro with strong economic growth transfer money to the poorer countries to fund their fiscal deficits, to no longer require those who don’t have the Euro to join at some future date, and to increase the EU budget to increase the amount spent on regional economic development in the poorest regions. We are discussing “A Fairer Share for All” at conference next weekend and it is a missed opportunity to deal with many of the issues that led to Brexit.)


    Indeed, Parliament is sovereign but that does not mean that Parliament should overturn the decision of a referendum without another People’s Vote that votes to overturn the decision. Many Brexiteers talk of mass protests if Brexit does not happen. I think they are much more likely to happen if Parliament stops Brexit with a People’s Vote than if a majority of the people vote for us to stay in.

    I think we are talking about a Statutory Instruction which is voted on in both houses. I think it would be a “negative SI” coming into force 21 days after it is laid before Parliament. If no one does anything it become law. Any MP can table an Early Day Motion but it seems the government can just ignore it. It seems only the Opposition can stop try to stop it. (

  • @Michael BG

    Thank you for your response.

    So you have clarified my thinking for me, even if we have another referendum that was “binding” and the result was for leave with a deal or leave with no deal, there would be nothing stopping opposition MP’s from tabling EDM’s to try and thwart the process yet again.
    Since I cannot ever see a situation where Liberal Democrats would ever sign off on Brexit and allow the legislation to go through whether they were in Government or opposition, I find the calls for another “peoples vote” totally pointless and it will resolve nothing.
    I think it would be much more honest for the party to campaign on “revoke” since that is the only position the party would ever support in the form of votes.
    It is then up to the party to win a General Election on that basis, or form a coalition government with like minded parties who would agree to such a thing as a price for coalition.

    Another referendum will solve nothing.
    The only possible solution I could foresee is
    making sure MP’s who vote for 2nd referendum honour the result, is to make changes to the right of recall which states that an MP who votes to enable the referendum is honour bound to pass legislation to enact the result and should they not do so their constituency has automatic right to recall that member of parliament.

    Otherwise what is the point of having another referendum and resolving nothing

  • Matt,

    I think you have not understood what is meant by “the Opposition”. I am sure you are aware that only the Opposition can table a vote of no confidence in the government. In July other opposition parties wanted one, but because Labour did not table one there was not one.

    If there was a non-Conservative government which correctly drafted a new referendum act which set out what would happen with each result then a government minister would have to move the Statutory Instruction in the same way as the Prime Minister will have to ask for an extension if Parliament does not agree whatever the PM tables. If the people voted to leave in some form then the government would have no choice but to move the SI and it is unlikely in that government there would be a majority for the government to hold a debate to stop it. With a Conservative opposition it is also unlikely they would hold a debate to stop it.

    So even if the non-Conservative government had a majority of Lib Dem MPs it seems to me it would be unlikely that such a government would disobey the law, or hold a debate to stop the Statutory Instruction coming into force.

  • @Michael BG

    Michael I dont really care about what is likely and unlikely, all I care about is what is possible and principles and from where I am sitting I have not seen many of those from our parliamentarians.

    Your party and other opposition parties and remainers have been calling for a VONC and unity Governments for months now.
    There were calls for a unity government to be formed, for an Brexit extension and even calls for 2nd referendum to be legislated for,then after this the unity Government would be disbanded and a new election formed.

    Now it is entirely “possible” for all that to have happened, a new election then to have took place and we end up with another government that has a waffer thin majority or coalition government of any hue. The following referendum could then result in another vote for leave and we would be in exactly the same position as last time, where remainers on ALL sides of the house thwart the process.

    I have a lot of respect for your writings Michael especially on matters of the economy and welfare.
    I know you have said what YOU would do in regards to a 2nd referendum, but can you honestly sit here and say with all sincerity that the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary party and Jo swinson would vote through the necessary legislation either in Government or opposition should another vote to leave occur? Or would they look for new ways to delay / thwart Brexit.
    I just wish people could admit it, as we all know the truth

  • Peter Martin 9th Sep '19 - 9:22am

    @ Mick Taylor,

    “No parliament can bind its successor. ”

    Of course it can and it has. The current Parliament is bound by the actions of previous Parliaments going back to at least the 70s. Every time Parliament approves a foreign Treaty ie Rome, Maastricht, Lisbon etc it is limiting the actions of future Parliaments.

  • @Peter
    Eh?? The British govt. can, and has, overturned whatever it wanted to. It keeps treaties only as long as it continues to suit it. If it chooses (one day!) to leave the EU all those treaties are unenforceable on the British.

  • Peter Martin 9th Sep '19 - 10:13am

    @ Hard Rain,

    The WA with the EU is itself a treaty. I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments that it will be almost impossible to get out of the obligations it imposes on us for many decades to come. Only if we leave with no deal would it theoretically be possible to not be burdened with unsuitable treaties.

    Of course the counter argument will be that this is the modern world and we can’t expect to do everything as we’d like. We have to ‘share sovereignty’ etc. There is some validity in this but let’s not pretend we aren’t limiting or binding the power of future Parliaments.

  • Matt,

    I think discussing what is likely is better than discussing what is possible. Things can be possible but unlikely.

    It is possible that you are right. However, it is my hope that any future referendum would be binding and it would set out what action the government would need to do to make it happen. As I have suggested this action is unlikely to be thwarted because of the rules regarding who can actually table a debate on a negative Statutory Instruction.

    I would hope that all Liberal Democrats would support a binding referendum which set out what would happen depending on the result. I would hope that if the Liberal Democrats were the main opposition party that they would not try to stop a binding referendum being implemented. (Sometime Liberal Democrat MPs do not act in the way I hope they would.)

  • So there we have it.Jo Swinson just confirmed in parliament this evening that a Liberal Democrat Government would revoke article 50 and people should not be surprised by that.

    So Why on earth it the party calling for a 2nd referendum, when quite clearly they will not respect the result of that referendum if it was a vote to leave once more, and heaven forbid, if by some chance of a miracle Liberal Democrats got into power, they would revoke article 50
    You do not want to give people “their say” you only want to hear it, if they say what you want to hear, and unless you get the answer you want, you will totally ignore it and would rip away the democratic will of the people.

    These call for a 2nd Referendum is a complete farce. The party should be campaigning for revoke only, since that is the only position the party will accept.

  • David Allen 10th Sep '19 - 1:04am


    I have my own reservations about this, in particular that it risks splitting the opposition parties and thereby helping the Johnson mafia. But I don’t think your criticism is fair.

    The “small print” I quote in the above comment makes it clear that the Lib Dems would only feel justified in simply revoking Brexit if they actually won an absolute majority at the next General Election. (Something the bookies will currently give you odds of around fifty-to-one against). That’s reasonable. If the Lib Dems could win the election outright on an anti-Brexit policy, then they would have earned the right to implement that policy. (Just as Attlee won the right to wholesale nationalisation, and Thatcher subsequently won the right to wholesale privatisation).

    If the Lib Dems don’t win an absolute majority, but do win enough seats to influence events, they will instead call for a second referendum. I agree with Michael BG that it should be made a binding referendum, not an advisory referendum as was held in 2016. Making it a binding referendum would overcome your (not entirely unreasonable) fears, and would also silence the “Best of three?” jibes.

    We all now know much more about what Brexit might actually do for us than we did in 2016. It’s time we made use of that better knowledge.

  • I would have preferred us to have been arguing for the past two years that Article 50 should be revoked in order that Mrs May’s red lines could be removed and a sensible and not time limited discussion take place about our future relationship with the EU, thus implementing the result of the Referendum rather than ignoring it. I accept, of course, that such a policy would be a bit too subtle for those who think that “Bollocks to Brexit” is the acme of political sophistication, but it might have done something to mitigate the terrible polarisation that has taken place since the Referendum, and would not have alienated our previous supporters in Leave voting seats in places like Devon and Cornwall.

  • @David Allen

    I totally respect the parties stance for changing to revoke article 50 as i think this is the most honest stance for the party.
    However, I do not believe that the party would still respect the vote for leave, should they find themselves in coalition, or even as opposition. A binary referendum would still be subjected to votes AFTER the result was in and there would still be processes available to parliament to either stall or thwart the process altogether.
    Liberal Democrats will never vote through any kind of Brexit, that is a fact and so it is on that basis why I argue that calling for a 2nd referendum is totally disingenuous on the party and the reason why it should be resisted.
    It is not going to solve anything at all.

    But like I said at least we now have a clear distinction in this election.

    Liberal Democrats can campaign that they are a party to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU
    and leavers can campaign that a vote for Liberal Democrats is vote for abandoning Brexit and democracy and a Vote for labour is to murky the waters and kick the can down the road for years to come, wasting billions of pounds and causing uncertainty and only a Tory Government can deliver on the will of the people.

    We have a clear election battle ahead of us, it will be interesting to see what the people decide

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