Sunday morning media open thread – Chuka on Sophy Ridge, Jo on Marr

UPDATE: Summary

3 things about Lib Dem plan for election on December 9th:

Rules out no deal as it only comes into force if EU grants an extension

Prevents the PM changing the date of the election

Makes sure that PM can’t ram his awful bill through Parliament.

Conservatives dismiss it and Labour is in two minds – Diane Abbott says maybe and Jon Ashworth says it’s a silly stunt to get us on the telly.

Both Chuka and Jo emphasised how our preferred solution is a people’s vote but it doesn’t have the numbers because Labour won’t support it. They also point out that if the Withdrawal Agreement Bill gets through it will be on the basis of Labour votes.

Here’s the blow by blow account.

We have two Lib Dems on the main Sunday morning politics programmes this morning. No doubt they will end up being interviewed simultaneously, but we’ll have the details here.

Sophy Ridge will interview Chuka Umunna on Sky News and Jo Swinson will be on Marr.

So far on Ridge, Nicky Morgan has dismissed the Lib Dem calls for an election pre Brexit and says that if the Government doesn’t get its way, it will keep asking to see if MPs will change their mind.

Yet they won’t give the people the chance to change their mind on a decision made by a narrow majority 3 years ago when things have massively changed since then.

It’s also interesting that a common Tory theme is that we’ll spend 2020 on two referenda – a People’s Vote on Brexit and on Scottish independence. Of course, stopping Brexit would make demands for an independence referendum much less likely.

And, obviously, people need to be told that spending a few months of 2020 on a people’s vote is much better than spending much of the 2020s on trade negotiations and a potential no deal crash out at the end of next year.

Philip Hammond now saying that he wants to get Brexit sorted before an election. He says that he will run as an independent in any election if he doesn’t get the Tory whip back. And he makes clear that he won’t be toadying to the current leadership in order to get it.

He says that he expects that Parliament will amend the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to give itself more powers and in ways that are going to be difficult for the government.

The highlights of Chuka’s interview:

Loving how Chuka has got into the Lib Dem habit of outlining three things:

And now on a different subject:

And it looks like Labour won’t be backing our plan, dismissing it as a stunt to get us on the telly.

And then it was Jo’s turn.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Oh I wish I could share these rose tinted spectacles, but a reckless and desperate PM has convinced us to give him the only key to unlocking the mess of his own making, an early general election, when it’s not even true that there is gridlock. He could have had a real through last week if he hadn’t had a childish tantrum about a ridiculously short timescale. That is not gridlock, dissolving Parliament in these circs is not legitimate. Please don’t say that if the SNP advance their numbers that will stop them asking for IndyRef2, nothing will do that because it’s what they exist for. So, yes, we’ve helped the PM make Corbyn look ponderous and anti-democratic (somehow) … that should go well for the ‘get the Tories out’ cry!

  • John Marriott 27th Oct '19 - 12:15pm

    A General Election BEFORE Christmas? I guess that some turkeys are still alive – but for how much longer?

  • Richard Underhill 27th Oct '19 - 12:24pm

    This was also a chance to see who England’s opponents would be in the Rugby Union world cup in Japan. We recorded the Andrew Marr Show which enables pauses and conversation during playback.
    He is usually very well informed, but seems to have absorbed and accepted a misunderstanding about Lib Dem revoke policy propagated by rival parties, hostile newspapers and some members of the public. Marred.
    In a review of the papers a Green co-leader confirmed that they had been consulted.
    Greens also support votes at 16. Tories oppose it. Labour are currently unpersuaded.
    Jo Swinson was on first, unaccompanied by SNP. The SNP candidate she defeated in 2017 is standing elsewhere next time.

  • Richard Underhill 27th Oct ’19 – 12:24pm……………..In a review of the papers a Green co-leader confirmed that they had been consulted………….

    She also said they didn’t support it, Did you miss that bit?

  • Guargantuan call by Jo Swinson. If the early election returns a Conservative majority which then implements Brexit it’ll make the Coalition look like a picnic. It will enter political mythology that the party handed Boris Johnson the cake he demanded on a plate and that he proceeded to eat it. That will be devastating for the party. Equally if another hung Parliament ensues and we get the softest Brexit or no Brexit at all it will look like a masterstroke. I suppose senior politicans are paid to make calls of this size and it shows courage that Swinson is prepared to make such an epochal one so early in her career. Whether it’s a good idea or not… Time will tell.

  • @Jackm

    I’m sorry to play the pedant, but do you really mean that “a reckless and desperate PM has convinced us to give him . . . “? There seems to be a currently successful movement to paint every idea in black and white without shades of grey or of colour: surely the word you mean is the now disappearing word “persuade”? (Or even, in this context, bamboozled.) This PM will never intentionally convince me of anything at all.

  • Nonconformistradical 28th Oct '19 - 9:30am

    “This PM will never intentionally convince me of anything at all.”


  • Dilettante Eye 28th Oct '19 - 12:18pm

    Alison Willott

    “Johnson and his menage are v happy with a no deal….”

    I hope so, because I suspect that a ‘bird in the hand’ No Deal, is still available in three days’ time.

    Tusk has offered a 3 month extension, but is Boris legally obliged to accept it? The Benn Act says yes, but I’m not so sure.

    I suggest that Boris didn’t sign the extension request letter because to have signed it he would, (as Crown Executive), have broken the law.
    So, exactly which law would he have broken by signing the request?

  • Alex Macfie 28th Oct '19 - 1:38pm

    Dilettante Eye: Yes, Johnson is legally obliged to accept whatever extension is offered by the EU. That he didn’t sign it is irrelevant as the EU accepted the request as valid (and knew perfectly well that Johnson didn’t actually want the extension; do you honestly think EU leaders aren’t folling UK politics?), but if his antics had invalidated the request then he certainly would have broken the law.

    David Evans: Vauxhall actually looked promising for us in the early stages of the 2017 campaign. What did for us there and elsewhere was the Jezmania surge, and Tim Farron’s religious issues. Although Momentum activists seem convinced that Corbyn can pull off the same trick in the next election as in 2017, it’s actually rather unlikely as he is a lot less popular now than he was before the 2017 election campaign started. And while it’s hard to know exactly what will happen during a campaign, I don’t expect Jo to trip over any banana skins as Tim did over that issue. Of course, the Left will seek to use her coalition voting record against her, but voters care a lot less about it than Momentum’s keyboard warriors would have you believe.
    Not saying that Lib Dems are necessarily going to be targeting Vauxhall this time around (and Kate Hoey is standing down anyway), but such seats are much easier to win starting fro an 18% nationwide share of the vote than a 7% share, and the 2017 election is a poor guide to our likely performance in the future.

  • As a Lib Dem member, I have to say I think we have made the wrong strategic choice. We should be making the game a long one, and support a return of Mrs Mays deal, subject to a confirmatory referendum. Parliament should steer the way to that referendum keeping the Tories as a puppet government, and taking control as and when necessary

  • Paul Barker 28th Oct '19 - 2:56pm

    I was all for stringing it out as long as possible but The EU have made it clear that they have run out of patience, there will be no more Extensions. An Election is the only option left & it has to be between the 3rd & mid December.
    We just have to do our best & have some self-belief.

  • Yeovil Yokel 28th Oct '19 - 2:57pm

    Good luck with that strategy, Paul D B, but there just aren’t the numbers in Parliament to do what you and most of the rest of us want to do. It’s a far from ideal world, but it’s the world we have realistically to deal with.

    I feel that Jo and her team are doing the best they can in a difficult and dynamic situation (and, even with 19 MP’s, she has only about 3% of the votes in the HoC to play with). None of the options before us are palatable, but with the Parliamentary arithmetic as it is, with Labour not playing ball, with Johnson aiming for Hard Brexit (whatever he might otherwise claim), and an extension only until 31 January, it’s the least worst route to follow.

    Our Parliamentarians appear to be united behind her (at least in public), and, rather than carp from the comfort of our keyboards, I feel that we should pitch in with whatever resources we can muster and do the same. This is a battle for the very future of our country.

  • Yeovil Yokel 28th Oct '19 - 3:01pm

    P.S. I agree with Alison, Alex, & Paul.

  • David Evans 28th Oct '19 - 5:19pm

    Alex Macfie – “looked promising” is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard when it comes to determining target seats. Vauxhall was never in play. Even if Jeremy Corbyn had made a total mess of things plus the second coming anointed Tim Farron as his chosen mouthpiece on earth and it still wouldn’t have been winnable.

    Pretending it was winnable was just self indulgence and clearly – to plagiarise your own phrase in another thread, “We don’t want to put on 8,000 votes (a third of what was needed) in a vainglorious attempt to win Vauxhall but lose Sarah Olney in Richmond Park by 45 votes. That is the danger of overly confidence at current polling levels”.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Oct '19 - 8:41pm

    expats 27th Oct ’19 – 3:10pm
    We already knew who had, the SNP and the Lib Dems.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Oct '19 - 8:46pm

    27th Oct ’19 – 12:24pm In the Commons today and in interviews there has been strong and consistent support for votes at 16, from Jo Swinson and from the SNP leader in the Commons.

  • Sounds like Heidi Allen is packing it in – not standing in S. Cambridgeshire- and big Sam standing in pretty hopeless Kensington.

  • Politics is a gamble. You never know how anything will be perceived or turn out. My guess is the Lib Dems researched the Revoke stance with Focus Groups etc, not died in the wool ancient members like myself. BUT there has to be an election to run the policy. Bassetlaw, unlikely to be effective there. But overall in a General setting it could run and run. Regulars to this site know me as the sceptic, who almost got the number of LIb Dem MPs right in 2015 & 2017, there I go bragging again. At the moment I would p;lace a bet on 80.

  • Yeovil Yokel 29th Oct '19 - 1:39pm

    Be careful how you express yourself, David: I wouldn’t put it past Sam’s opponents to use your phrase “pretty hopeless Kensington” out of context in order to attack him.

    From a party recently with no BAME PPC’s or MP’s there’s a chance we could end up with Sam and Chuka Umunna as next door neighbours!

  • Ross McLean 29th Oct '19 - 1:41pm

    @David Raw – Have you read Heidi Allen’s letter about why she is not standing? I don’t think it’s anything to be flippant about, myself.

  • @ Ross McLean. My comment was not flippant. It was a statement of fact.

    @ Yeovil Yokel. Your optimism is admirable Mr Yokel, but if the duo do pull it off I’ll follow the example of a more illustrious Yeovil resident and eat my hat. What odds are the bookies offering ?

  • Ross McLean 29th Oct '19 - 2:46pm

    David – I think “packing it in” is a pretty flippant phrase, under the circumstances. What has actually happened is that a very capable woman MP has decided she can no longer take the attacks and nastiness that comes with the role today, so has ended a promising career for that reason. It is bad for her, bad for the party, and bad for politics. In her letter she says she is ‘heartbroken.’ But of course you say nothing about all that. Just that she is “packing it in,” then move on to a size-ist comment about Sam Gyimah.
    Yeovil Yokel is right. It would be really nice if all LibDems would agree not to publicly undermine any colleagues’ chances in this election. Whatever we might think privately, let’s maybe not do our opponent’s jobs for them. Surely that’s not too much to ask, just for the next few weeks?

  • Yeovil Yokel 29th Oct '19 - 2:58pm

    I’m a pessimist by nature, David Raw, which why I used the word “chance”.

    If Sam and Chuka do end up as neighbouring MP’s I’ll remind you of your promise – I suggest a pork pie hat for edibility.

  • @ Ross McLean You’re a bit touchy today, Ross. I thought size-ist was supposed to relate to waist lines – whereas Big Sam Gyimah is a tall chap with a trim waist line. You’ve obviously never heard of ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce or ‘Big Jack’ Charlton and if you get to Glasgow you’re sure to be offended if the call you ‘Big Man’… with a name like yours you ought to know it’s a compliment.

    Yes, I was sorry to hear about Heidi’s circumstances …. especially given I was brought up in what was Jo Cox’s constituency not far from Heidi’s home village…. but you’re being hyper sensitive to regard ‘packing it in’ as flippant. You’ve obviously forgotten what I posted immediately after your post on 7th October :

    “A good hearted West Yorkshire lass with a Cambridgeshire constituency she might well retain. Let’s hope the party will now have something to say about welfare cuts and its associated cruelties and injustices. I well remember a passionate speech by Heidi Allen responding to a speech by Frank Field.”

  • Ross McLean 29th Oct '19 - 6:52pm

    David – I am Scottish and have lived in Glasgow all my life, so I don’t need lessons in what expressions mean here, thanks.
    Sam Gyimah is not a ‘tall chap’. He is well below average male height, which is why your term ‘big Sam’ grates so much. Now, if you tell me you didn’t know his height when you said that I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but maybe it could be a timely reminder to ‘think before you post’ sometimes.
    If I am ‘touchy’ it is because we are about to enter a General Election and I don’t like to see party members publicly declaring our target seats to be ‘no hopers’. Call me old fashioned, but I hope for a better sense of solidarity than that. Kensington, it seems, has been chosen as a target seat. That may turn out to be a good decision, or it may turn out to be a bad one, but the decision has been taken. So today I wish Sam and the local party nothing but good thoughts. I’m excited for them that they’ve been given that status and I’m keen to see what happens. The activists there are going to be working like hell over the next few weeks, freezing, and some of them may well read LDV. So my instinct is to be as supportive as I possibly can, rather than demoralising and undermining them. I wish that was an instinct that we could all share on here, that’s all.

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