“Mandate”? A.B.dP.Johnson has a mandate from 0.14% of the UK population

There have been a number of Tory voices saying that A.B.dP.Johnson has a “mandate”. It is important to recognise that this “mandate” is from precisely 0.14% of the UK population:

For the record, those parroting the “mandate” word have included our old china plate, Dominic Raab on Radio Five Live (just after the result was announced) and Tim Montgomerie on Twitter:

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

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62 Comments

  • John Marriott 23rd Jul '19 - 1:06pm

    0.14% is indeed not much of a mandate for anything; but neither is the 38% of those eligible to vote a mandate to leave the EU.

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 1:18pm

    To which mandate are you referring?

    Boris certainly has a no deal EU exit mandate as that was in the Tory manifesto.

  • Chris Leeds 23rd Jul '19 - 1:52pm

    “Boris certainly has a no deal EU exit mandate as that was in the Tory manifesto.”

    I think you’re getting confused John. This was the Tory manifesto in the General Election the Tories didn’t win.

    Losers can’t claim mandates.

  • Paul Reynolds 23rd Jul '19 - 2:07pm

    For those small number of keen voters who have read the currently applicable Tory manifesto in 2017, about Brexit it says: ‘As we leave the European Union, we want to negotiate a new and special partnership with the EU, which will allow free trade between the UK and the EU’s member states. As part of the agreement we strike, we want to make sure that there are as few barriers to trade and investment as possible. Leaving the EU means that we will be free to strike our own trade agreements with countries outside the EU’. As Boris implements the manifesto he was elected upon, and pursues all the promises he supported, we can only wish him well with this free-trady, worldwidey thingummy. ‘Golly gosh, cinders and and ashes, was all that stuff in the glossy manifesto puffery ? Well, I never really sort of agreed with it all to be honest’ he might well say in his defence, whilst spuriously quoting from GATT and GATS Articles which interviews showed he clearly does not understand. What a mess. The indignity. We UK liberals will forgive but will never be fully able to forget the mendacity inflicted on the people of our great country.

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 2:28pm

    “but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK”

    The Withdrawal Agreement has been called many things – I’ve not seen many call it a good deal.

    I’m trying to get my head about what Lib Dems think Democracy means. I’m fairly sure most people wouldn’t reconcile the party forming the Government as meaning they lost the election.

    Losers can’t claim mandates? I assumed you were a Lib Dem – you certainly appear to be collectively claiming a mandate.

  • ……And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity, with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household…..

    Perhaps someone should tell Johnson that ‘guy ropes’ are the things that stop the tent from falling down; or was did he really know that?

  • Sue Sutherland 23rd Jul '19 - 2:31pm

    The Tories who support Boris aren’t thinking about the country, they are thinking only of their party and the Brexit party. This is a great weakness because they will become isolated from the general population. It’s our job to make the most of that weakness and point out just how prejudiced against ordinary people they are.

  • Paul Reynolds 23rd Jul '19 - 2:49pm

    Brexiteer democracy means you vote for a government and that’s it. The government (presumably the old cash machine Farage, and puppet Boris) stays in power in perpetuity, replaced by Farage junior and Johnson junior on their deaths…. even if genuine opinion polls show a large majority for another party. The reason why we don’t have governments in perpetuity in this great country is because we all know very well that politicians can be untruthful, their promises unimplementable, (ring a bell ?), circumstances changes, international rules evolve, plans are wide of the mark … and above all, leaders are human, not media-inflated Gods. What’s more Farage MEP in the European Parliament complained bitterly and noisily recently at the election of Ursula von der Leyen at Commission President. In effect he said she only won narrowly and had no mandate to implement ANY of her policies. Errr… she received 52% of the vote. Funny that. What a coincidence.

  • David Becket 23rd Jul '19 - 2:57pm

    @John Peters
    It is not a democracy when the PM is elected by 0.14% of the electorate.
    In a democracy electors can change their mind when the lies have been exposed and the facts emerge.
    The Lib Dems are therefore fully democratic, it is the Tories who have thrown democracy out of the window.
    Can we have no more of this nonsense that claims Lib Dem policy is not democratic.

  • I suggest the best indicator of whether Boris really has the balls or not, is whether he does as he has previously said and cancels HS2…
    However, I suspect he will be even more ineffectual than T.May, to the extent that J.Hunt will be seen as a safe pair of hands…

  • Peter Martin 23rd Jul '19 - 3:07pm

    @ Paul Reynolds,

    “Brexiteer democracy means you vote for a government and that’s it.”

    I don’t know about you but I haven’t! Who has ever been asked that? Who was ever asked to vote that the Lib Dems and Tories should form a government in the 2010 Parliament?

    In recent years I have been asked to vote for a MP, a collection of local councillors, a selection of MEPs, and I’ve been asked to say whether or not I favour remaining in the EU.

    That’s it. Or have I missed something?

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 3:12pm

    @David Becket

    I have no doubt that you sincerely believe in Democracy and that the Lib Dems stance is democratic.

    I don’t believe that the Lib Dems stance is democratic and I believe many share my view that the Lib Dems have done severe damage to Democracy in the UK.

  • David Becket 23rd Jul '19 - 3:18pm

    @ Peter Martin

    If no one party gets a majority then the MPs need to try and put one together, as happens in most countries.
    In 2010 no party got a majority, and the best possible option was the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition. We made mistakes, but at least we provided five years of stable government, which the Tories have failed to do since.

    I assume you are happy with a Tory Party propped up by the DUP, who cannot manage to form a government in their own country.

  • Paul’s article raising an interesting question what is a political mandate? I think it is to vote in the way you said you would during the campaign and to support things you said you would support during the campaign and to vote against those things you said you would oppose during the campaign. It is generally accepted that a political party gains a mandate to implement the policies it set out in its manifesto if it forms the next government. For those of us who believe in PR, this must be “if forms the next government” and not “wins a majority of seats”

    Turning to Boris. Indeed he has a mandate to implement what he said he would do, as Conservative Party policy. However, the mandate for his government from the electorate is the same it was for Theresa May’s government. The Conservative 2017 manifesto stated that the Conservatives would “deliver the best possible deal for Britain as we leave the EU delivered by a smooth, orderly Brexit” (page 30). On page 36 there is “but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK”. However, I can’t see anywhere where it states that the Conservatives will only try to deliver a deal so we can have a smooth and orderly Brexit but if we fail we will leave without a deal in a disorderly and rough manner (which will set back negotiations with the EU over a future free trade agreement).

    I therefore think it is legitimate for Conservative MPs to say that they supported the 2017 Conservative manifesto promise to leave the EU with a deal and if they made it clear they didn’t support a no deal to vote down Boris’s government if it tries to leave the EU without a deal.

  • Paul Reynolds 23rd Jul '19 - 3:24pm

    The referendum ballot paper said ‘Should the United Kingdon remain a member of the European Union, or leave the European Union ?’ It was 52% vs 48% in favour of leaving, obviously, (although according to Farage this is not a sufficient mandate – and only 37% of the electorate voted for the biggest UK constitutional change since the 17thC). Now opinion polls point to 48% vs 52% the other way round, with support for remain slowly increasing. The 2017 Tory manifesto – in the pages about Brexit – did NOT (repeat NOT) offer a no deal exit to the electorate, so there is no mandate for that. But if the constitutional basis of a no deal comes from the Tory minority government of the day, it follows that if the Lib Dems and other ‘remain’ parties form the government, of MPs from various parties take control of the process, equally there is a mandate to stay in, on the Brexiteer logic.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Jul '19 - 3:24pm

    @ Paul Reynolds,

    “Ursula von der Leyen at Commission President. In effect he said she only won narrowly and had no mandate to implement ANY of her policies. Errr… she received 52% of the vote.”

    52% of what vote? From which electorate? Which contributors to this blog can say they voted for her? Or even voted for candidates of her party ie The German Christian Democratic Union?

    Who had even heard of her a couple of months back?

    In Germany, von der Leyen is toxic. Her stint as defence minister had been a disaster. She has overseen massive procurement overspends. She has blown €600m on management consultants in shady deals without proper tendering. It has been reported that the Wehrmacht have been sent of on exercises with broomsticks instead of guns!

    Frau von der Leyen was one of the greatest political liabilities in Angela Merkel’s cabinet. And how does Angela solve that problem? Simple. Just give her the top job in Brussels!

  • I don’t think the 0.14% line will cut much ice (though I understand why Paul used it).
    The easy response is that Jo’s mandate was 0.07% of the electorate.

    Better to focus on other Johnson absurdities, bluster and examples of being economic with the actualite….. and it’s even more important, for Jo to set out the case for decent social liberalism and liberal values.

    Boris Johnson accused: ‘you’re a nasty piece of work’ – video | Politics …
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2013/…/boris-johnson-accused-nasty-vide…
    Video for boris johnson interview with eddie mair▶ 1:45
    24 Mar 2013 – Uploaded by Guardian News. Eddie Mair, interviewing Boris Johnson on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show,

  • John Peters 23rd Jul ’19 – 3:12pm…………….I don’t believe that the Lib Dems stance is democratic and I believe many share my view that the Lib Dems have done severe damage to Democracy in the UK…………

    Democracy is government by the wishes of the majority of its members. A majority voted for ‘Leave’ three years ago but, if in the meantime, that majority changes its opinion then it is ‘democratic’ to refelect that change,
    There is no need for the vote of three years ago to be enacted before changing course. After all, if the commons voted for capital punishment and then overturned that vote at a later date, should the country wait for an execution before changing course?

  • Boris was chosen by a majority of his electorate and Jo was chosen by a majority of her electorate, as was Jeremy C come to that. The point is that legitimacy to govern is acquired by getting a majority of the whole electorate. Surely, this can only be tested in a general election. Given that the Cons (under Boris), the Lib Dems, the Brexit Party, the SNP, the Greens, the Ni Parties and Plaid all have clear policies on the EU – Leave or Remain – wouldn’t a General Election in fact double up as a 2nd Referendum? I appreciate that the Lab Party is still dithering, but the landscape is getting clearer.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Jul '19 - 3:40pm

    @ David Beckett,

    “I assume you are happy with a Tory Party propped up by the DUP….”

    Neither more nor less happy than I was with a Tory Party propped up by the Lib Dems!

    But you’re missing the point I was making. We don’t, contrary to Paul Reynold’s claim vote for a Government. We vote for an MP in our constituency. They may well not be elected. Even if they are, they may or may not vote with the government afterwards.

    I don’t have any objection to any sort of coalition. I do understand and accept how the system works.

  • Not sure what the issue with the 0.14% is. It’s actually bigger than any parliamentary constituency (be it Uxbridge or Maidenhead).

    Is the implied proposal from this article that we should have a directly elected Prime Minister?

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 4:04pm

    As I am told that the Lib Dems believe in Democracy what will they do if there is a second referendum and Leave wins again? Will a further series of votes be required?

  • A second referendum may well be close again, albeit the other way round. I fear that the campaign will be as negative as the last one (on both sides) and whoever loses will probably rightly be able to claim that the winner lied. Therefore, I think a General Election would be more help in sorting out Brexit, for the reasons I said earlier. We also need someone to address other pressing issues – affordable housing, a sustainable environment, cyber security, education (at all levels) and social care to name but five.

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 4:41pm

    I would not call someone who only accepts a vote if it goes their way a Democrat.

    Would you?

    https://order-order.com/2019/07/23/jo-swinson-wont-accept-result-second-referendum/

  • John Peters

    Remain won the first referendum convincingly but Leavers campaigned for a second chance for decades – John Major’s “Bas***ds”, the Referendum Party etc. We were promised “the easiest deal ever” with the EU as part of the 2016 Leave campaign but not a choice between a deal and Remain or between no deal and Remain. Parliament could not agree what to do so what is undemocratic about putting it back to the people?

  • nvelope2003 23rd Jul '19 - 5:27pm

    John Peters: Should the Labour Party have given up if they had not won the first election they contested ? Is it not democratic to go on fighting for your beliefs ?

  • Dilettante Eye 23rd Jul '19 - 5:43pm

    “It is not a democracy when the PM is elected by 0.14% of the electorate.”

    And yet it is a curious form of democracy which has handed, in backroom deals, Ursula von der Leyen the Presidency of the EU with 0.00000001% of the voters of Europe?

    I think Lib Dems need a re-calibration of just what democracy is?

  • nvelope2003 23rd Jul '19 - 5:54pm

    Dilettante Eye: Democracy from the Greek word demos = people and kratos = power. I assume this means the rule of the mob. There is no implication of the need for a majority.

  • Steve Trevethan 23rd Jul '19 - 6:01pm

    Perhaps the support for Mr Johnson tells us something about the current concerns of the members of the Conservative Party who seem to prefer entertainment skills to committed research and thought skills.
    (See: Faux BoJo sings “The Great Pretender” – You Tube)

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 6:11pm

    Perhaps a trip to High Laver is in order. With all that free energy at least our energy problems will be solved.

  • Dilettante Eye 23rd Jul '19 - 6:25pm

    “There is no implication of the need for a majority.”

    Yes I’ve noticed that does seem to be the general Lib Dem view of democracy.

    Jo Swinson, also doesn’t see a majority vote as a valid indicator of democracy. She has just told the BBC that she wants a second (peoples vote?), and when asked if that vote again endorsed leave, ’Would she accept the result of that peoples vote’ she said NO.

    I think Jo is off to a very bad start

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Jul '19 - 6:29pm

    @John Peters and @Dilettante Eye

    Perhaps you might recall that earlier this year even a Swiss court overturned a referendum result on the grounds that voters were inadequately informed.

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 7:19pm

    @Dilettante Eye

    Good for the Swiss.

    There is no question of that here though is there? I agree that Remainers were confused but there was no doubt in the Leave vote. The closest we had was the NHS bus claim which the court found to be factual.

  • The electorate after Brexit could vote to shoot all Brexiteers, now it would be democratic, but would our resident Brexiteers say “O well, better get up against the wall, no point campaigning to over come the decision, will of the people and all that” I think not, so I’ll take no lessons of them about campaigning against a silly idea, all he it not as stupid as the one I hypothesised.

  • chris moore 23rd Jul '19 - 7:31pm

    @John Peters You say “The closest we had was the NHS bus claim which the court found to be factual.”

    No court found the NHS bus claim was factual.

    Get real!

  • chris moore 23rd Jul '19 - 7:46pm

    @Dilettante Eye.

    Imagine if Remain had won the 2016 referendum. Should all the euro-sceptics have stopped campaigning against the EU? Should UKIP have disappeared?

    Certainly not.

    They should have gone on trying to persuade the electorate of the need to think again. And of the disadvantages of EU membership/ advantages of being out.

    The Lib Dems are a pro-European party who will always be in favour of close links with Europe. We are not going to start campaigning to leave Europe.

    If you have another opinion on EU membership, don’t vote for the party.

    What we can’t have is the silencing of debate and campaigning because of the 2016 referendum.

  • John Peters 23rd Jul '19 - 7:59pm

    @chris moore

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48554853

    In the detailed reasons

    ““The alleged offence set out in the Application for Summons is that the Claimant “repeatedly made and endorsed false and misleading statements concerning the cost of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union”. It appears that if the Claimant had said/endorsed a figure of £350m per week gross, or £250m per week net, there would have been no complaint.”

    The Claimant did repeatedly make clear this was a gross figure.

  • Dilettante Eye 23rd Jul '19 - 8:12pm

    “The Lib Dems are a pro-European party who will always be in favour of close links with Europe. We are not going to start campaigning to leave Europe.”

    Brexiteers also didn’t campaign to leave Europe, nor do we want to leave Europe. We campaigned and won by a clear majority, the vote in 2016 to leave the EU

    You make the common mistake of using EU and Europe as interchangeable text when they are not.

    We never asked or voted for that EU layer of governance. If you want to blame anyone, then blame John Major for this mess. He arrogantly signed the Maastricht Treaty on behalf of the UK. The problem was that he never bothered to ask the people of the UK first.

  • My only question to all my good LibDem friends in this thread (that’s everyone except for dilettante eye and John Peters) is, why are you bothering to argue with them? Seriously, what’s the point? Can I gently suggest you go out and sign up some new members instead, or send a donation to Jane Dodds. It’s like it’s really lovely and sunny outside and you’re all staying indoors to argue with some people who you’ll never convince and who don’t like our party anyway. Think about it. 😉

  • “The problem was that he never bothered to ask the people of the UK first.”

    No but they had a say in the 1992 election when the Conservatives standing on a manifesto endorsing Maastricht got more votes than any party has ever received

  • We are practicing care in the community Tom. If we didn’t give them a bit of attention, they’d only bore the ears of some poor sod in Wetherspoon’s with their tinfoil policies. So we get to see the paucity of the Brexiteers argument and the bods in Wetherspoon’s gets a quite pint; tis a win win and our Brexiteer posters get to think they are men of distinction.

  • Small point, but shouldn’t the % be calculated against the total electorate of the country and not its total population?

  • John Peters,

    The link you provided to the BBC report states, “Reasons for the High Court’s ruling will be given at a later date”. It does not state that the judges found that the statement were not said by Boris, nor that they found the statement to be true.

    It seems to me that the reason the case was dismissed was because the court decided that Boris was not “acting as such” i.e when he made these statements he was not acting as a public officer, that is carrying out the duties of his public office (https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019ewhc-1709-admin-johnson-v-westminster-mags-final.pdf).

  • John Peters 24th Jul '19 - 5:57am

    The court threw out the summons as it had no merit.

    They didn’t have to point out the bus claim was in actual fact correct but did so – probably to make clear that an appeal was pointless.

  • Richard Underhill 24th Jul '19 - 8:53am

    This morning, 24/7/19,the £ sterling is at $1.24, a slight recovery from yesterday’s fall.
    There can often be a ‘dead cat bounce’.

  • chris moore 24th Jul '19 - 9:36am

    @Dilettante Eye . You make the common mistake of using EU and Europe as interchangeable text when they are not.

    It’s quite clear from the context what I mean. Nobody thinks the EU and Europe are the same.

  • chris moore 24th Jul '19 - 9:39am

    John Peters 24th Jul ’19 – 5:57am
    The court threw out the summons as it had no merit.
    They didn’t have to point out the bus claim was in actual fact correct but did so – probably to make clear that an appeal was pointless.

    The claim on the bus was that “We SEND the EU 350 million a week.”

    We do not.

  • Brexit is just a ruse by wealthy Tory tax payers to take advantage of popular dislike of foreigners to hold onto power in order to secure further reductions in taxes as is quite clear from Boris Johnson’s election propaganda. Even Nigel Farage is hoping we can remain in the EU as membership of the European Parliament provides him with a substantial supplement to his income with very little effort judging by his poor attendance record.
    They seem to be quite happy to be controlled by the US particularly while Trump is President, although it will be no different under any other President, as he is determined to force us to allow US commercial interests to take control of the vast NHS. Strange how being one of 28 members of the EU is anathema to some while being ruled by the US is apparently OK. Are any of these Brexit trolls private people or not ?

  • @Tom McLean 23rd Jul ’19 – 9:14pm
    My only question to all my good LibDem friends in this thread (that’s everyone except for dilettante eye and John Peters) is, why are you bothering to argue with them? Seriously, what’s the point? Can I gently suggest you go out and sign up some new members instead, or send a donation to Jane Dodds. It’s like it’s really lovely and sunny outside and you’re all staying indoors to argue with some people who you’ll never convince and who don’t like our party anyway. Think about it.

    Tom, you are right!

    I’m going to send a donation.

  • Charles Smith 24th Jul '19 - 11:36am

    The outspoken politician has been gun-ho in his approach to Brexit, claiming that he would leave the EU on October 31 “with or without a deal”. Although the long-time Brexiteer said that he would look to secure a deal as leader, he would not be afraid to walk away from the bloc empty handed.

    But the former foreign secretary has sparked a number of resignations from the cabinet – and has endured a fair share of criticism from politicians and even past Prime Ministers.
    https://worldabcnews.com/eu-latest-remainer-mep-says-boris-johnson-has-only-one-goal-in-mind-world-news/

  • One of the few benefits of getting older (slightly more than Marriott J., but three weeks less than the venerable Lord Greaves A.R. – happy birthday on Saturday, Tony)…. is that I have a long memory of politics and politicians. I can remember the oratory of Jo Grimond, Nye Bevan, Harold Wilson, Iain Macleod and Harold Macmillan. They could all make a speech and a half.

    But I have to say that watching the Johnson speech outside number 10 just now was like watching a Conference League team on a wet February night or a selling plater at Kelso races. The man just isn’t up to it. He is the epitome of the decline in British standards that he romances about. A cardboard Winston Churchill who believes in and is interested in one thing – Boris Johnson. He can’t make an appropriate speech if it was to save his life.

    He’s a lazy dissembling empty privileged expensive public school Bullingdon boy who, according to his Oxford tutor, fell asleep in a tutorial. In the next six months he will
    implode.

    A good dig by Jo Swinson at PMQ’s today by the way. Go for it lass, it’s all to play for.

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Jul '19 - 4:53pm

    Seriously Ruth, you know full well there is a “deferred payment scheme”, which puts a local authority charge on the property for care costs minus the allowed £23,250.

    So yes, they don’t have to sell the property immediately !, but the asset is accounted for in the care costs upon death.

    It’s this kind of daft ‘spin’ or dare I say ‘fake news’ which causes political mistrust.

  • As ever a Brave Brexiteer struggles with detail and complexity, no shock there.

    Does my home have to be included in the means test?

    In some situations, your home won’t be taken into account in the means test. There are a few circumstances where this applies:

    If you need temporary or short-term care only, your home won’t be included in the means test.

    Your home also won’t be counted if it’s still occupied by:

    your partner or former partner, unless they are estranged from you
    your estranged or divorced partner IF they are also a lone parent
    a relative who is aged 60 or over
    a child of yours aged under 18
    a relative who is disabled.

    So its complicated, if only it wasn’t but it is.

    https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/paying-for-care/paying-for-a-care-home/do-i-have-to-sell-my-home-to-pay-for-care/

  • @ frankie “Does my home have to be included in the means test?”

    Much more civilised in Scotland in the system set up by the then Lib/Lab Coalition Scottish Executive (Government).

  • @David Raw “Much more civilised in Scotland in the system set up by the then Lib/Lab Coalition Scottish Executive (Government).”
    ..… and only at the insistence of the LibDems in that coalition David. The Labour leadership didn’t want to do it. We made it a red line and forced them. (I was there).

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