LISTEN: Christine Jardine on Any Questions

Christine Jardine was on Any Questions last night along with Ann Widdecombe (representing the Reform Party), Thangam Debonnaire and Sir Robert Buckland.

She travelled to Bridgwater in Somerset.

The first question was on whether we should have closer relations with the EU, following this week’s news from Northern Ireland and the fourth anniversary of Brexit.

Christine said that Northern Ireland is a very special case and we should welcome this week’s agreement as a starting point. She pointed out that the people of Northern Ireland had been denied democracy for years because of this. Too cheers from the audience, she took Rishi Sunak to task for his comment that Northern Ireland now has the best of both world. She simply said “Didn’t we all used to have that?” She pointed out that businesses in her constituency were concerned at the amount of red tape they now have to complete to export to the EU that they didn’t before. While she didn’t see a quick path back to the single market, she thinks that that is the direction we should go in but the EU and the British people have to want it. But let’s hope that someone at Lib Dem HQ was listening to the audience cheers which surely suggest that the door is open for stronger arguments on closer relationships with our closest neighbour.

Thangam Debonnaire continued with the fiction that Labour’s Brexit would be just lovely but she sounded much more enthusiastic for closer ties than that position implied.

Thangam did intervene on Christine’s behalf when Ann Widdecombe referred to her as “the Liberal Democrat.” “She’s got a name.”

The next question was about tax cuts. Thangam Debonnaire invoked the spectre of Liz Truss’s irresponsibility. The country, she said, was broken after 14 years of the Tories.

Christine took Robert Buckland to task, again to cheers from the audience, saying people tell her every week that “this Government doesn’t understand” as they wait 15 hours for an ambulance and can’t get an NHS dentist. Buckland tried to deflect onto the SNP (Scotland) and Labour (Wales) and Christine retorted “You’re all failing.”

The next question was on local services and Christine was quick to put the blame entirely on the Government for underfunding local councils for years. She said that she was worried that the Barnett consequentials of the money given to councils in England would disappear in Scotland.

She said that we needed a different form of local taxation to the Council Tax. The time has come, she said, that we have to look seriously about how we are supporting local services and social care. We have to make big decisions, she said and we can’t keep putting them off for political reasons.

There was an interesting question on free will and how it affects political belief. Christine talked about John Stuart Mill and the “harm principle.”  Ann Widdecombe asked her where you draw the line. She replied that it was people putting their own wealth first above helping people using foodbanks, or their own benefit ahead of people breathing clean air or saving the planet.  She talked about the importance of the community.

The final question was, in tribute to the monkey lured back to the Highland Wildlife Park by Yorkshire Pudding. You’ll have to listen to find out what Christine’s was.

Listen here.

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  • Alison Willott 4th Feb '24 - 5:07pm

    Christine was really good, and got the biggest cheers from the audience. Well done!

  • David Garlick. 4th Feb '24 - 5:38pm

    Perhaps the Beeb might be persuaded to invite her on to Question Time.

  • Mary Fulton 4th Feb '24 - 6:51pm

    @ David Garlick
    I remember watching Christine Jardine on Question Time several years ago. Since she was elected in 2017, I guess she must have appeared on QT in 2018 or 2019 – certainly pre-covid.

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