LibLink: Tim Farron – Government can’t conduct Brexit talks like a hostage negotiation

Tim Farron is getting a lot of visibility on a range of subjects at the moment. In the Guardian he writes about foreign policy in respect of Boris Johnson in an article entitled “Boris Johnson has been humiliated – his circus show isn’t funny any more“:

And this is what Conservative Brexit ministers gloating and briefing against Johnson should realise: just as Johnson was humiliated at the G7, so Britain will be humiliated in Brexit negotiations if ministers go in firing off demands like a hostage negotiation. You simply can’t have a good deal while demanding a hard Brexit, especially if you leave the decisions to Johnson rather than trusting the British people with a say on the final deal, as Liberal Democrats demand.

The Conservative Brexit government should be drawing the country together and strengthening friendships with key allies. Johnson, as we all predicted, has shown himself incapable, and must be sidelined. The real fault lies with May in leaving the court jester free to become the crown prince. Because Johnson’s antics shame – and weaken – us all.

You can read the full article here.

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

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Bill le Breton 13th Apr '17 - 3:45pm

    Again, the UK is not demanding a hard Brexit. Read the PM’s January speech – especially point 12.

    Nor does it serve the British people to deliberately confuse membership of and access to the Single Market.

    The Party is engaged in a campaign of disinformation – which will back fire.

  • @ Bill le Breton

    ‘Access’ is a red herring. We need to be part of the single market, with free movement of goods. If we aren’t the damage will be massive.

  • nigel hunter 13th Apr '17 - 6:14pm

    It is good he is getting mentioned in the Guardian, Indie. The Huffington but he needs to push more in all other papers.

  • Mick Taylor 13th Apr '17 - 7:35pm

    As usual Bill Le Breton is whistling to keep his spirits up.
    Wake up Bill. Brexit will be a disaster and no rationalising on your part will change the facts.
    The best outcome is for the UK to remain in the EU. If we do leave then full membership of the customs union and the single market will be vital for our continued export success.
    Do stop playing an out of date illiberal tune.

  • I have respect for Bill le Breton but “Access” is a virtually meaningless word in this context. The only countries denied all access are pariahs subjected to sanctions. So – the Governement if it aims merely for access – is shooting for us to be on a rung above North Korea. I dont recall a time in the last 30 years when the UK Government has gone further into Taliban mode.

  • Martin Land 13th Apr '17 - 8:12pm

    If the EU want Boris as a hostage I for one have no problem in handing him over.

  • There are two types of Brexit:

    1) Leave the EU.

    2) Stay in the single market , customs union ,free movement of people, large budget payment to EU & EU court jurisdiction……This is the EU with a different name.

  • I have never heard an argument that is pro-EU, only variations on Project Fear.

    Why should we look forwards to political integration, more Europe, joining the Euro? That is the future if we stay in.

  • Graham Evans 13th Apr '17 - 10:48pm

    @ Peter The problem with promoting the benefits of the EU is that many of them are only of interest to limited numbers of voters, eg the Galileo Project, Euratom, European Patents Agency, European Medicines Agency, the European Arrest Warrant, etc. Cumulatively they impact upon most voters lives, but taken in isolation they are of little direct interest. Cheap air travel is perhaps the one issue which affects very large numbers of voters and which is starting to immerge as important, having been barely mentioned during the referendum campaign (though the boss of Ryanair did warn that Brexit could have an adverse impact on UK air travel). This is why the emphasis is on issues like the economy in general (rather than specific sectors other than perhaps financial services), immigration in general (rather than specifically, as for instance foreign students), and sovereignty (a rather vague concept but somehow linked in many people’s minds with national identity). Moreover, because the British mainland has not been occupied by a foreign power since the Norman invasion, most British voters do not perceive the preservation of peace and democracy on the European mainland as having any relevance to them, even though it is of fundamental importance to most other European countries. The Brexiteers often compare the EU to a club, asking why we should have to pay to leave it. But a club has a very specific purpose and if you are no longer interested in its activities you are certainly able to leave with few adverse consequences. The EU however is not a club, it is a community – perhaps it was a mistake to rename it a Union – and its activities many and varied; and like a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the earth, the interconnections are often significant and yet imperceptible.

  • @Peter, “Why should we look forwards to political integration, more Europe, joining the Euro? That is the future if we stay in.”
    Sounds as if you’ve succumbed to Project Fear, and doubt a ‘sovereign’ Westminster’s resolve or ability to stand-up for UK interests, even though you currently expect it (a ‘sovereign’ Westminster) to stand up for UK interests – a contradiction that has been at the heart of the Leave campaign all since it took up the slogan “Give us back our sovereignty”…

  • What does it matter – we have red white and blue brexit means brexit taking back control. Oh and I have a bridge you may like to buy. Theresa May can spout literally any old nonsense and the Press dont hold her to account, Labour dont hold her to account and 10-15 percent of Lib Dem voters are drinking the kool aid. In terms of positives – how about 3 generations of peace. How long after the article 50 declaration was it before we had a former Tory leader talking about war with Spain! Spain! Come on – you cant make this stuff up – it is surreal.

  • Andrew Tampion 14th Apr '17 - 6:00am

    Mick are you sure it is not you whistling to keep up your spirits by predicting catastrophe because if leaving the EU is not the disaster you predict then your whole world view will have been proved wrong?
    Graham if your vision of the EU is right then it’s not surprising Remain lost.

  • “Theresa May can spout literally any old nonsense and the Press dont hold her to account,”

    In the night following Trump’s move to ban travel from some majority Muslim countries and when the UK government stated that they had sought to protect UK citizens from this, this was the night that the presenter on 5 Live decided to properly question the Tory Minister. In all other occasions this government is allowed to say “The conservative gov has a plan, believes work is best, isn’t labour” and despite it being used to respond to studies or statistics which suggest strongly their policy is bad they are never challenged further. A monologue or meaningless catchphrases and empty statements.

  • Bill le Breton 14th Apr '17 - 8:04pm

    Further indications that there will not be a hard Brexit – this time from the EU side

    Or more whistling in the dark, perhaps. 😉

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