Lib Dems sign cross-party Bill to stop no-deal

Today Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake has signed the cross-party Bill which, if passed, will force Boris Johnson to request a 3 month extension if Parliament has either not agreed a deal or agreed to no-deal by October 19th.

Following this, Tom Brake said:

This Bill provides the means to rule out a catastrophic no-deal Brexit. If passed, it will ensure that Boris Johnson has to seek an extension so that he cannot drag the country off the cliff edge.

The Liberal Democrats have been working with others to ensure that this Tory-created mess does not lead to us falling out of the EU without a deal on October 31st. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure this is the case.

But ultimately the only way of bringing this sad chapter of our history to an end is to provide a People’s Vote and as, the strongest and biggest remain party, we will keep fighting to stop Brexit altogether.

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38 Comments

  • Jonathan Reeve 2nd Sep '19 - 7:01pm

    This drama is evolving along the lines of the Trial of the Seven Bishops in 1687 (through which James II lost his popular support and a short while later his throne). Fascinating that Amber Rudd appears now to be acting the part of the notorious Judge Jeffreys. Perhaps those who disregard our history may even now repeat it? We must ensure that the eventual outcome is a strengthening of our Parliamentary Democracy, as it was in 1689.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 7:15pm

    3 months? Why 3 months?

    What can happen in three months?

    A referendum can’t happen in 3 months. Referendum and revocation can’t happen in 3 months.

    A General Election could happen in 3 months.

    Johnson says, ” These pesky MPs have stopped us leaving the EU as I promised. Give me a majority and I promise that this time I shall deliver.”

    Farage says, “Told you, you can’t trust Johnson and the Conservatives to Leave the EU, vote for The Brexit Party, ”

    Corbyn, “Vote for us and we shall … maybe get a Labour Withdrawal Agreement and if that fails offer a referendum.”

    Jo says, “Vote Lib Dem the only sure way of stopping Brexit.”

    Assign percentages to these bids. eg 23% 23% 23% 23%
    Then reassign after tactical voting. 20%, 30% 20% 30%.

    But what ever we do don’t trust Labour. Smash them for NOT wanting exit from Brexit.

  • Is three months long enough for a “Peoples Vote”?
    1. Agree the question at a political level.
    2. Agree the wording with the Electoral Commission (not renowned for their alacrity)
    3. Arrange the mechanics and rules for the campaigns.
    4. Organise and hold the “Peoples Vote”.

  • A bill to prevent a no-deal in contravention of the spirit and principles of the Good Friday agreement without a solution to the border might have been a better PR pitch than what Brenda from Bristol might consider “not another one” (extension this time). But what does the remain / no-deal side know about PR!?

  • Struggling to see the point of this extension by itself, it isnt going to change UK or EU policy. Are we hoping for another Tory to fall in a scandal in a winnable by election seat?

    May as well lodge The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 7) Bill 2020 at the same but tippex out Jan and put April.

  • John Bicknell 2nd Sep '19 - 7:47pm

    As usual, no LibDem representative on C4’s supposedly balanced panel on their Brexit Debate programme this evening, though Alex Phillips, the ‘acceptable face of the Brexit Party’ gets another outing (after being on Politics Live earlier in the day). At least, if there is an election, broadcasters will be obliged to give LibDems some coverage.

  • Paul Barker 2nd Sep '19 - 7:47pm

    The rumour mill is currently talking up an Election on October 17th. If you run current Voting averages through one of the standard predictors that gives a substantial Tory Majority on less than a third of the Vote.
    How do we turn that around in 45 Days ?
    !st we need a short, clear message – Stop Brexit/Revoke. Drop any ideas of another Referendum if we win.
    2nd, maximum co-operation with other Anti-Brexit Parties. I have no idea how the “Unite to Remain” Talks are going. The public silence could mean almost anything. I hope they can be made to work. We should extend the offer to Labour if they drop their “Labour Brexit” plan.

  • Tonight Jo Swinson should consider reaching out to Hammond, Gauke, Stewart and co and consider offering them a place in the Liberal party. Many on here will say but they don’t share our Liberal values, and I understand that. But though their voices are different their voices could be accommodated if we have open hearts and mind. The reason we should do it? If we could bring 15 Tories across at once to our party the Tory party would face fighting all of those seats against a stronger Liberal party, further more many pro European Tories might follow suit. Indeed if we had someone like Hammond on board then we could run them against someone like Redwood in a remain Tory seat and stand a very good chance of winning.

    We could then credibly split the Tory vote. We need to have an open mind right now, this could be our chance to thrive.

  • Geoffrey Dron 2nd Sep '19 - 7:57pm

    I found this an interesting read on no deal brexit

    https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2019/0807/1067523-the-moral-case-against-a-no-deal-brexit/

    Yes, NDB is morally wrong, but so also are the attempts of the Brussels bureaucracy to impose on the UK terms (WA/PD) which even a remain voter like myself couldn’t accept.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 7:59pm

    Paul Barker those polls do not set political context ie Johnson not delivered his pledge.

    Nor do they address the consequences of the very difficult election discussion for the Cons as to whether to i) campaign explicitly for no deal and try to get TBP support, or ii) campaign for a deal and have to contest seats with TBP.

    i) would see us gaining votes from Conservative Remainers and ii) would see Tory votes migrate to TBP.

    The nearest model we have for what could happen is a repeat of the EU elections.

    Certainly, that is where we should begin our ambitions. With huge hope and confidence in our Party.

  • I see 2 things happening here.
    First Boris refusing to extend the brexit deadline as he has said.
    Opposition parties have no choice but to either call a vote of no confidence or agree to dissolve parliament.
    either
    Boris is returned with a slightly larger majority, however, Tory MP’s who have voted with the opposition have been deselected from running in the following election and so Boris has a new party of MP’s who will tow the party line and vote through whatever deal Boris gets or leaves with no deal
    or
    We end up with a hung parliament where the Tory Party are the largest party, but short of a majority
    And Liberal Democrats / Labour / SNP can try to form a rainbow coalition under Corbyn, but still falls short of an overall majority. There will be frantic negotiations between the party which will fail miserably and even if something was cobbled together (which i doubt) , it would not be able to get a vote of confidence, so therefore the queen would not be able to ask Corbyn to form a Government.

    Johnson would continue to run as prime Minister as a caretaker government (as the uk cannot be without a Government) whilst another election is run. Boris has Still refused to extend article 50
    The default position is that we leave on the 31st October, as that is what is written into law already.
    By time the rerun of the election has been held, we would have already left….

  • Intresting times, could Depeffle win an General Election probably, then we leave with no deal. The Brexi’s and Lexi’s enter the school for fools and sunlit uplands turn into days of endless running round trying to sort out the mess. They will look aghast as bad things happen and blame the EU, but over time they will become a reviled grouping, widely regarded as a bunch of lunatic idiots, tis sad but I fear the inevitable conclusion of a stupid idea led by charlatans, fools and lunatics, with the odd disaster capitalist. To those poor Brexi’s and Lexi’s who fail to make it through the school for fools, your sacrifice will soon be forgotten, your stupidity will linger for an age.

  • Nom de Plume 2nd Sep '19 - 8:33pm

    @Geoffrey Dron

    There needs to be a withdrawal agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement was negotiated and signed by the then UK Government. It was not imposed by Brussels. Its form is partially determined by May’s red lines.

  • Ross McLean 2nd Sep '19 - 8:53pm

    Christian – No. We certainly need to be open to working with others – and I think we are doing that. But being open-minded doesn’t necessarily mean letting just anyone join us because they’ve been kicked out of their party and need a new home. Don’t forget, people like Gauke and Hammond are actually pro-Brexit. They want to stop No Deal, but if we succeed in doing that they will then default to wanting to leave the EU anyway, with some kind of deal. That is not our policy.
    Wanting to stop a No Deal Brexit is a good quality and we should work with them on this issue – as we are doing. But if we start actually bringing people into the party who are pro-Brexit it would weaken our Remain message, and their lack of any Liberal values would damage us in the longer term. [Also, I also don’t think they would have any interest in joining us].

  • David Allen 2nd Sep '19 - 9:03pm

    It is tempting to agree with Paul Barker that we could now argue that a second referendum is not needed. Three Tory Leaders have all failed to achieve Brexit in over three years. We could argue that the 2016 vote is past its sell-by date. We could argue that a General Election is a good reason to vote afresh, and that a Lib Dem vote is a vote to revoke and Remain.

    The problem is that this would create a confusing three-way split, with Labour suddenly taking over our position as advocates of a referendum, while Johnson stands for the simple clarity of getting out. That is how to hand victory on a plate to Johnson, while Labour and Lib Dems split a larger vote and gain fewer seats.

    Better to stick with the demand for a referendum. Then, two clearly distinct and different parties would both call for a second vote on Europe. Johnson would be isolated in his attempt to drive through No Deal Brexit by force, by ignoring the law, by refusing to ask the public again, by ignoring the evidence that Brexit cannot work and is no longer what a majority want.

    We have to stop the coupists winning an overall majority. We do that best by retainng the call for a second referendum.

  • Interesting poll out today on Westminster voting intentions in Northern Ireland. Basically the Alliance party is up substantially since the 2017 GE, at the expense of all the main parties.
    DUP: 29% (-7)
    SF: 25% (-4)
    ALL: 21% (+13)
    UUP: 9% (-1)
    SDLP: 8% (-4)
    GRN: 1% (=)
    Others: 7% (+3)
    Via @LucidTalk, 9-12 Aug.
    The chat on twitter is that this would see Alliance gain South Belfast from the DUP, and be neck and neck with them (but just behind) in both South Antrim and East Belfast.

  • But Martin whisper it quietly, a no deal Brexit suits the SNP. It is there best chance for Indepence and like the Brexiteers their precious means everything to them and is worth any cost ( well it is worth any cost until the price comes due, then on the whole they will cry and whail; very much like our Brexi’s and Lexi’s will, they’ll just get to cry first).

  • @ Martin “She has to appeal to MPs in Labour and SNP to ensure this.”

    You must be having a laugh, Martin, if you think Labour and SNP MP’s will cheerfully ignore all the abuse churned out at them on LDV by some of its more right wing contributors over the last few years. It’s called how to win friends and influence people….. something the party used to be moderately good at in the pre-Clegg days.

    And I’d love to know how Ms Swinson will convince Ms Sturgeon that a second Scottish Referendem is a ‘bad idea’, but a second EU Referendum is a ‘good idea’. More than a bit of mental gymnastics required there.

  • @martin

    “Jo Swinson needs to speak out against a General Election without stopping a ‘no deal’ Brexit. She has to appeal to MPs in Labour and SNP to ensure this.”

    isnt that a bit odd, for the last few weeks Jo has been calling for a vote of no confidence and a “unity government” followed by a general election.

    All this talk of giving the “people the say”

    Now Boris is calling for just that, remainers are starting to run scared of it because it looks like Boris will be returned, possibly with a larger majority.

    One could be forgiven for thinking that remainers are only interested in giving people the final say, as long as they say what they want to hear

  • Matt,
    Depeffle may well get relected at which point Brexit will need to be paid for and the poor will be thrown under the bus. But we have nothing left to lose you cry, alas I fear you’ll find out how much more you can lose. I fear when the cost comes due you’ll be unable to pay it and in the devil takes the hindmost society our right wing leaders plan for, it will be your hindmost that gets ravaged. Ironic and sad you are voting for your own demise, but that appears to be what you are doing.

  • @David Raw – And I’d love to know how Ms Swinson will convince Ms Sturgeon that a second Scottish Referendem is a ‘bad idea’, but a second EU Referendum is a ‘good idea’.

    Well I hope Jo Swinson has a bit more nous than David Cameron et al and recommend Ms Sturgeon only holds a second Scottish Referendum after a second EU Referendum, only if that second Referendum gives a super majority for Leave.

  • @Martin
    “Also you have to factor time into the issue, prorogation and shortage of time has changed the assessment.”

    Really? Jo was calling for a vote of no confidence for as soon as parliament returned, if a unity government would not have formed it would have resulted in a General election, but that was something that the party was prepared to do. Now it seems as though the tables have turned and Boris will come back with a bounce, people are running scared of it. So I repeat, it feels very much like this call for a peoples vote is only if the people say what you want to hear….

    @frankie
    I happen to believe Brexit will be a success and there are opportunities out there for the uk outside the EU. As I have said time and time again, I believe the EU is busted flush on the brink, Italy is going to bring the whole project tumbling down when the next crash happens, which looks like it is going to be sooner, rather than later, my judgement is that the UK is best to weather that storm as far away from the EU project as possible.
    I guess we will have to wait a couple of years to see who is right and who is wrong.
    You say leaving the EU is going to cause us short term pain, I say staying in will cause us long term pain if we are still part of it when the pododo hits the fan.
    We shall see

  • David Allen 2nd Sep '19 - 11:35pm

    The answer to all those castigating Swinson for discarding the idea of a unity government is – Oh, do keep up! The Corbyn / Swinson / Gaukeist meeting agreed to go for a legislative route to avoid no deal instead, so that’s what’s happening. Simple.

    Martin is right. Labour should make sure No Deal is taken off the table before they allow an election. That’s in their interest, in the national interest, and in our interest. It sounds as if Corbyn is going to be persuaded of that.

  • its my recollection that they were calling for a unity government under clarke or harmen and I suspect since neither side would back down so they agreed on the legislative route.

    Liberal Democrats were calling for Jeremy Corbyn to call for a Vote of no confidence months ago, even when Vince Cable was still leader back in December Vince said ““Let me just say that I and my colleagues will fully support the leader of the opposition if he now proceeds to a no confidence vote, as duty surely calls.””

    So please lets not pretend otherwise.

    I have a lot more admiration for the members on here who are at least honest and are calling for the party to switch to revoke entirely rather than another referendum as it is more transparent and reflects the parties true position on brexit.
    All this cloak and daggers approach to thwarting brexit is not going to win trust back with the electorate and it will not bring back voters the party desperately needs AFTER brexit is all done and dusted

  • Ross McLean 3rd Sep '19 - 12:16am

    matt – if you think Brexit is going to be ‘done and dusted’ anytime soon, I fear you are gravely mistaken. If we leave on 31/10, that will be just the beginning, not the end. Especially if it’s No Deal.
    There is an excellent article by Ivan Rogers in today’s Spectator about the reality of a No Deal Brexit. He is not starry-eyed about the EU, nor about the tactics of Remainers. But he is someone who knows what he is talking about, and we can all gain from his insights: https://www.libdemvoice.org/lib-dems-sign-crossparty-bill-to-stop-nodeal-61908.html#comments

  • Ross McLean 3rd Sep '19 - 12:19am
  • Bill le Breton 3rd Sep '19 - 7:20am

    Labour have said that they won’t vote for a General Election, when Johnson moves for one on Wednesday.

    We therefore have a few days bashing Labour as being frit and not wanting to fight Johnson and why? Because they don’t want an end to Brexit, they want a Labour Brexit.

    A simple message that is designed to put us forward as The Leader of the Undisputed Anti-Brexit Movement.

    That is gold dust for us. Remainers will assess in their own constituencies which Party is their best bet for sending back a Remainer. This must be us in as many constituencies as possible. And in most of those we are going to rely on messages carried by other people and through other media than our own.

  • Will Swinson and the Lib Dems be joining Labour and voting against any attempt by Boris to offer a general election? If so that would be as great a constitutional outrage as the traducing and overturning of the people’s referendum vote for Britain’s independence. It will be more evidence of the enormous damage the appalling Fixed Term Parliament Act has done to our political architecture. The country is crying out for a general election. If Johnson doesn’t get two thirds support by MPs for a GE he should immediately start the process to repeal the Act whose only purpose is to keep unworthy MPs in their jobs.

  • The Prime Minister needs to be totally embarressed. Today I would hope the MPs take over the Order paper and get their bill passed at 2nd reading. Then if the government carries out an attempt fdor an election that Labour hold their fire and do not support, that will prevent a two thirds majority in the House and really the PM mioght well have to go as his power having been almost totally eroded. I am not optimistic over the Court cases, what will the Courts see as reasonable? Is the action of the government unlawful and/or unreasoanble? Is it an abuse of power? Dodgy. We need a Ken Clarke led government till the Spring of 2020.

  • John Marriott 3rd Sep '19 - 9:43am

    @Bill le Breton
    There you go again, trying to gain political advantage over a situation that ought to transcend party politics. ‘Labour bashing’ is not the thing to do, especially as deciding to reject the poisoned chalice offered by Johnson takes away one of his trump cards. Besides, the Lib Dem’s might need to work with Labour in the future.

    Cameron was great at ‘EU bashing’ before he was forced to concede a referendum. No wonder they didn’t give him much when he needed them. As for the Lib Dems being ‘The Leader of the Undisputed Anti Brexit Movement’ (shouldn’t the ‘undisputed’ go with ‘Leader’?), shouldn’t you be careful what you wish for? I am not that sure that a significant majority of voters really have changed their mind, certainly not in Lincolnshire, where I have lived for the past 42 years.

    It’s time you raised your head above the barricade and smelled the coffee.

  • Mark Seaman 3rd Sep '19 - 1:04pm

    A Bill to stop No-Deal … signed by the same people who opposed the Deal that the EU offered, and hence led to No-Deal. Double standards on a scale that would have made even Stalin blush 🙁

  • I wish those Brexiteers who blame members of the opposition parties for Theresa May’s deal not being passed would stop. On Newsnight last night it was said that 32 Conservative MPs voted against the deal. And of course the DUP voted against as well. It was because Theresa May could not get all of the supporters of her government to vote for her deal that it was not passed. When she talked of changing the deal to gain Labour support her party got rid of her.

  • @ John Marriott Quite right, John.

  • @matt “I happen to believe Brexit will be a success and there are opportunities out there for the uk outside the EU.”
    Well, you obviously know something Moggy doesn’t know, as he doesn’t expect it to be a success for decades; unless he is a closet green and looking forward to the UK exceeding its climate change and related targets.
    As for opportunties outside of the EU, I suggest you reread up on why Thatcher was so keen on the Single Market – which has over the decades opened up continental Europe to UK businesses. As for all those “so easy” trade deals, they are largely worthless; the history of the Single Market evidences this; a trade deal is just the starting point, to do business you need to build relationships and as any one who has been in business for any length of time will know, building new business is expensive, serving existing customers well is profitable business. Hence you actually need a solid base ie. your EU market, to enable you to grow to a scale that enables you take on the expense of exporting to the RoW.

    This is why Brexit with no eye on a future mutually beneficial relationship with the Single Market is totally stupid.

  • Peter Hirst 6th Sep '19 - 12:59pm

    The only thing the Conservative government is interested in is leaving the eu by the end of October. So everything they try to do is aimed at achieving that. It’s only when that becomes impossible that other options will be explored.

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