Tag Archives: brexit

Lord Roger Roberts writes…The demand is for statesmen rather than politicians…..

“We must all hang together, else we shall all hang separately” the words of Benjamin Franklyn on signing the declaration of Independence are as relevant today as they were back in 1776

When a future generation weighs the historical importance of the early twenty first century they might remember another quote – that the politician looks to the next election whilst the statesman looks to the next generation. We’re very short of statesmen but have an abundance of politicians!

Here in the UK, whatever the cost it’s 2024 and the election planned for that year that counts. Our government chose to continue with the withdrawal from the European Union even though circumstances in 2020 were vastly different from those of the referendum. The tiny majority that voted for us to leave had neither a virus nor probable economic depression to contend with and there were suspicions of a misleading leave campaign. Where did that £350 million a day for the NHS disappear to? And where are the crowds from Turkey hiding?

The messages of the politicians have led us into deep trouble and who knows where the end will finally be? People don’t trust hardly a word spoken by politicians and any promises Mr Johnson makes are treated with disbelief’ Whoever is Lib Dem leader has the massive task of rebuilding trust in the government of the United Kingdom and the new Labour leader is already facing mounting criticism within his own party. If we rebuild trust we might be on the way to shaping new statesmen and women.

But we must “hang together” globally. In the past few months we are seeing a better understanding between people of different backgrounds and respect for every person wherever they might be.

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Will the next LibDem Leader have national ballot appeal?

Who are the Liberal Democrats? How far does their leader embody their party? In what way would their leader be a desirable UK Prime Minister?

As Liberal Democrats go to the polls to elect a leader these should be the questions members of the party have at the front and centre of their minds. These are the questions voters will ask. We need a leader who has manifold capacities to govern the country, providing sound leadership on a global stage into the next decade.

Many will not believe such a thing possible. Many unbelievers will be Liberal Democrats. But just think for …

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18-19 July 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • PM must come before MPs after IfG Brexit warning
  • PM riding roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review
  • Liberal Democrats bid to block corporate lawsuits watering down protections post-Brexit
  • Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to genocide, Liberal Democrat warns

PM must come before MPs after IfG Brexit warning

Responding to a report by the Institute for Government which warns coronavirus has left UK firms unprepared for a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Boris Johnson is arrogantly setting the country down a path that threatens jobs and livelihoods, and this report confirms it. People deserve better.

Now is not the time to be playing politics. Our focus must be preventing a no-deal Brexit and ensuring business has all the help it needs to protect jobs.

The Prime Minister must come before MPs before the summer recess to answer how he will address the calls for preparation support, sector specific investment and more.

PM riding roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review

Responding to reports that the Government is planning to restrict judicial review, following a Court of Appeal decision against the Home Secretary, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

Threatening to weaken the courts because of a judgment you disagree with is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to run roughshod over people’s rights and allow Ministers to break the law with impunity.

Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals’ abilities to challenge the Government and uphold their rights. We will not stand by and allow Johnson and Cummings to undermine the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our society.

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13 July 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Children of parents who lose jobs over summer risk losing free school meals
  • New Govt campaign will fill businesses with horror

Children of parents who lose jobs over summer risk losing free school meals

Children of parents who lose their jobs over the coming weeks risk missing out on free school meals over the summer because of a loophole in the scheme, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran has warned.

It comes following a wave of job losses this week, with John Lewis and Boots alone cutting 5,300 jobs.

The current government guidelines say you must apply for a voucher for the Covid …

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11-12 July 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Govt must improve testing and tracing or they risk a second wave
  • Wasting money on Britain’s borders just more incompetence from Johnson’s Govt

Lib Dems: Govt must improve testing and tracing or they risk a second wave

Responding to Michael Gove’s comments this morning on the public returning to work and whether wearing face coverings should be mandatory in shops, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Face coverings should be worn in enclosed public spaces, and it is important that any government guidance on the issue is clear on exactly when and where they are recommending the public should wear them.

However,

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SNP divisions on Brexit make independence less likely

It feels as though from the minute that Scotland voted No to independence in 2014 the SNP have been seeking “IndyRef2”.

The independence debate in Scotland isn’t just whether you want to be part of the UK anymore, it is whether Scotland will re-join the EU if they become independent.

Although revoking article 50 was a part of SNP’s 2019 General election manifesto, their party isn’t united on the Brexit front. In fact over a third of SNP voters voted for Brexit. I suppose they are staying true to the party’s isolationism.

The reason I’m mentioning this is it now makes the independence debate more difficult for those on the Yes side due to the fact that some want Scotland to re-join the EU if they became independent and some would rather Scotland become separated from both the UK and the EU.

Whether Scotland would be allowed to re-join the EU is a debatable issue in itself and even if Scotland were to re-join, it wouldn’t be the same relationship as the UK had with the EU prior to Brexit.

The SNP will cause controversy either way they choose to go but are most likely going to re-join the EU(if they can), as over half of their party voted to remain.

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2 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt making “dog’s dinner” of Brexit negotiations
  • Govt must move faster to improve NHS Test & Trace system
  • Govt woefully underprepared to ensure every young person can return to school

Govt making “dog’s dinner” of Brexit negotiations

Responding to news that the UK Chief Negotiator David Frost has stated that “significant differences” remain as the latest restricted round of talks concludes a day early, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Last month Boris Johnson asserted that he wanted a Brexit deal by the end of July.

But far from putting a tiger in the tank, David Frost appears to be making a

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The ethos of the service

My late father was at the opposite end of the Civil Service hierarchy to Sir Mark Sedwell. He never rose above the humble rank of Clerical Officer. However, one of his claims to fame was being (as a “Paper Keeper”) one of a small team of a dozen or so in 1940s Newcastle, who in the early stages of the implementation of the Beveridge Report started the Central Office of what became the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance – always known on Tyneside simply as “the Ministry”. This went through various mutations (DHSS, etc.).

A phrase which my father explained to me at a tender age was “the ethos of the service”. It affected the way he did his job in the office including, for example, how you dealt fairly with members of the public however difficult they might be, or how much effort was required to ensure that traveller family got their payments despite unpredictable movements. It also occasionally found its way home. If there were amendments to regulations that needed inserting (a laborious scissors and paste job), or if there was a fraud case (literally tied up with red tape!) that needed to be dealt with very urgently, he was liable to stuff the papers into his saddlebag before cycling home for tea. 

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9 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems secure cross-party call for Govt to take up Hong Kong Bill
  • Govt must prevent disadvantaged pupils falling behind due to COVID-19
  • Govt must help businesses and people excluded from support schemes
  • Govt wrong to deny Brexit extension

Lib Dems secure cross-party call for Govt to take up Hong Kong Bill

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support demanding the Prime Minister take up legislation to go further in UK support for Hong Kong.

The cross-party groups of MPs, led by Alistair Carmichael MP, has secured the support of former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in calling for a UK response to Beijing’s recent attempts to force a new national security law on Hong Kong.

Amidst reports of Hong Kong police firing tear gas and water cannons at several hundred demonstrators, the Government announced last week new measures to support visa rights and a path to citizenship for current British Nationals (Overseas) holders in Hong Kong.

However, the cross-party group of over 50 MPs want the Government to go further and take up Alistair Carmichael’s Hong Kong Bill for parliamentary consideration, which would also ensure greater oversight over each party’s adherence to the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

MPs from all parties and all political persuasions are backing Hong Kong with one voice today. We are calling on the Government to take up the Hong Kong Bill on a cross-party basis for debate and amendment. This is a critical moment.

That the Government has started to take action to support BNO status holders is welcome. We can and must go further, however. Measures including targeted sanctions and a reopening of the BNO passport offer deserve a full hearing.

Beijing is on the verge of wiping out the basic freedoms of Hongkongers with its draconian law. The Government must stand with us and take up legislative action to support the people of Hong Kong.

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2 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must review exports of security equipment to US
  • Lib Dems: PHE report fails to properly address inequalities in our society
  • Govt must extend transition given NI Assembly vote

Govt must review exports of security equipment to US

Responding to news that President Donald Trump has threatened to use military force to quell protests in the United States following the murder of George Floyd, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Today the US President threatened to use force against his own citizens. As things stand, our Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister have stood silent. Their silence is shameful.

The Prime Minister must make

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20 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Govt risking public safety with plan to bring back Parliament
  • Davey presents bill to extend transition period
  • Lib Dems: Govt has serious questions to answer over app delays
  • Lib Dems condemn failure to properly recognise contribution of foreign nationals working in NHS and care
  • Lib Dems: Charities need a multi-billion pound package to survive

Govt risking public safety with plan to bring back Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of risking public safety and warned “everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.”

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP raised these concerns with the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, having secured an Urgent Question in Parliament today.

Speaking via Zoom from Orkney, the Liberal Democrat MP accepted “none of us are blind to the inadequacies of online scrutiny,” but added “if it is a choice between that and putting the safety of members, their families and the staff of this House at risk then that is no choice at all.”

In response, despite MPs taking part in debates and ask questions via Zoom over the last few weeks, Jacob Ree-Mogg rejected the call to allow MPs to work from home and refused to acknowledge any of the concerns raised.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

Tens of thousands of people have already died during this pandemic. To protect vulnerable people, we should all follow public health advice and work from home when we can. We must set the right example.

It is an insult to those who have suffered and died for Jacob Rees-Mogg to suggest that MPs should put their communities at risk by traveling hundreds of miles to London each week for the whims of the Government.

Parliament has demonstrated in recent weeks that we can scrutinise the Government while working from home and ensure communities across the United Kingdom have their voices heard. Everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.

We should instead be looking at how we can retain the best features of the virtual system to ensure safe and equal representation for every part of the UK. The Government must think again.

Davey presents bill to extend transition period

Today, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has put forward a bill which, if passed, would force the government into a two year extension of the transition period.

An extension to the transition period is essential, ensuring that the government could focus its full attention on tackling the spread of coronavirus crisis.

Speaking ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

It is clear the government have not made nearly enough progress on the Brexit trade talks.

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20 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 1)

So many press re;leases today…

  • Lib Dems announce digital conference and fresh timetable to elect next leader
  • Govt must drop ‘dog ate my homework’ approach to Prevent review
  • PM backs Lib Dem calls for COVID hero honours round
  • Govt has no answers for Brexit border issues for Northern Ireland

Lib Dems announce digital conference and fresh timetable to elect next leader

The Liberal Democrats have announced a fresh leadership election timetable and plans to hold an online Autumn Conference – the first for any major political party – in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a meeting of the party’s Federal Board last night, the party agreed to holding their leadership election from June through to August. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the contest will make use of online hustings and online voting.

President of the Liberal Democrats Mark Pack, who chairs the Federal Board, also confirmed the Liberal Democrats decision to hold a digital conference in the Autumn follows “careful consideration of the latest expert advice.”

Liberal Democrat Party President Mark Pack said:

Following careful consideration of the latest public health advice concerning the coronavirus pandemic, the Liberal Democrats are planning to run the biggest online conference in British politics.

Conference plays a key role in our democratic party as well as being an important training and information exchange event. I am therefore pleased we will host an online alternative, the first for any major political party.

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Daily View 2×2: 20 May 2020

A big day for some people, and definitely an interesting one, to look forward to, and we’ll be covering that in half an hour, but in the meantime, the debate over the General Election Review rumbles on, and we have some history, and some local politics to offer you during the day, with some thoughts on inter-generational fairness in the evening. So, on with the medley!

2 big stories (apart from that one!)

So much for schools reopening on 1 June. It’s already clear that parents aren’t keen, and that the teaching unions are wary, but when Conservative councils (Essex and …

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19 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must not be allowed to forget unacceptable five week wait for UC
  • Govt must get a grip on coronavirus crisis to prevent further deaths
  • Govt needs to get a grip of care home crisis
  • Govt pledges to look into Lib Dems’ Mental Health plan for NHS & care staff
  • Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Trade Bill
  • Govt must request an extension to the transition period now

Govt must not be allowed to forget unacceptable five week wait for UC

Responding to ONS statistics out today which reveal a rise in unemployment and a six fold increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, Acting Leader of …

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16-17 May 2020: the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Covid-19 mental health implications a ticking time bomb
  • Lib Dems call for permanent remote voting option for MPs
  • Govt must be transparent if they want public support for reopening schools
  • Davey: Govt approach to tracing ‘totally inadequate’
  • Lib Dems: Govt putting ideology above people’s lives in refusing to extend Brexit talks
  • Govt must not pursue isolationist approach to vaccine

Lib Dems: Covid-19 mental health implications a ticking time bomb

Responding to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ findings that psychiatrists fear a ‘tsunami’ of mental illness after the pandemic, Liberal …

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15 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt urged to protect funding to house homeless
  • Lib Dems call for Coronavirus honours list
  • Davey: Govt must get a grip on care homes coronavirus crisis
  • Davey: Public would expect Brexit extension

Govt urged to protect funding to house homeless

Responding to reports that the Government will no longer fund local councils to house homeless people during the Covid-19 pandemic, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The Coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. It is leaving the most vulnerable in our communities at risk and it is our duty to look after them.

It would be irresponsible for the Government to pull emergency funding for local

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Roger Roberts writes: A post-pandemic United Kingdom

I’ve never been a revolutionary! Just a  hopefully useful Minister of the Methodist Church and that faith still steers me from day to day. I have many wonderful friends who belong to other faiths or have no religious faith at all.

At times of global crises what every individual believes directs our thinking. In all probability that decides how we respond to various situations. I don’t know the beliefs of a man who said that Donald Trump was the greatest President of all time and of others who adore Mr Johnson. I only hope that on November 3rd the United States decides differently, or else we’re all doomed!  I’m proud that Abraham Lincoln had a drop or two of Welsh blood in his veins.

What Trump and Johnson believe can decide the future of so many people. The news of the deliberate destruction of Refugee Camps and the readiness to deny so many people basic human rights must surely lead us to instigate a modernisation of the United Nations. It will be a struggle but that incredible organisation that has done so much good in 75 years old and much has changed in that time.

The very thought of the United Kingdom acting as an independent offshore island is so harmful. Whatever the arguments for a hard or soft Brexit we are, as a result of the Coronavirus, trying to decide the future of the United Kingdom in the most unfavourable climate possible. It is now an Impossible Brexit and yet this government refuses to think again and extend the transition period beyond the end of this coming December. The predictions of the consequences of a hard Brexit were of the doubling of unemployment numbers- this on top of the virus catastrophe will mean extra hardship for millions of people.

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14 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Aerospace industry needs support to avoid mass redundancies in Wales
  • Govt misled businesses over post-Brexit customs checks
  • Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Immigration Bill
  • EU Commission launch legal action against UK government’s failings over citizens’ rights
  • Govt must continue to help businesses and families

Aerospace industry needs support to avoid mass redundancies in Wales

A dire assessment of the aerospace industry’s current situation by Aerospace Wales Chief Executive John Whalley has prompted the Welsh Liberal Democrats to call for the Welsh Government to give the industry a much-needed financial lifeline.

Aerospace Wales is the umbrella organisation which represent aerospace companies in Wales. Collectively it employs around 21,000 people, …

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Non-publication of SAGE minutes could mean that the government are taking decisions contrary to the scientific advice and we won’t know it until it is too late


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Over on the Debated Podcast there is an excellent interview with Judith Bunting, a scientist by training, who was PPC for us in Newbury and West Berkshire in 2015 and 2017, and also MEP for the South-East of England from 2019-2020. Will Barber Taylor engages with Judith on the following topics:

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Daily View 2×2: 5 May 2020

There’s almost too much going on at the moment. Certainly, there’s too much going on for the Government to cope with, given its evident bandwidth problems…

2 big stories

Buzzfeed News is claiming an exclusive insight into the Goverment’s proposed ideas in terms of relaxing the current restrictions and, on the face of it, they look fairly sensible. But, as I commented yesterday, are the British public willing to return to the ‘old normal’ so soon? My sense is that they generally aren’t, but the Government needs to change that mindset if their desire to taper down the level of support …

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A longer read for the weekend: The case for an extension to the Brexit transition period

It’s hard to believe that something which had dominated our lives for so long – Brexit – has almost completely fallen off the radar.

After the shock of the December General Election, and the brutality of losing our jobs and heading home from Brussels in January, we former MEPs were geared up for the long haul of holding the government to account as it ground its way through tortuous post Brexit trade negotiations with the EU.

And when Boris Johnson spoke of ‘healing the rift’ between leavers and remainers, it seemed an impossible idea. 

Little did any of us think a global pandemic would sweep across the globe and make those two words almost redundant within weeks. We are now a people divided between frontline workers and those who stay at home, the vulnerable and those less at risk, the sick and the well.

But while many people have far more urgent things to concentrate on, it is vital that some of us don’t take our eyes off what’s happening with Brexit. The transition clock is ticking loudly and it’s only a few weeks until the UK has to decide whether it will ask for an extension to the transition period that is due to end on December 31. 

Senior Europeans say that while the case for an extension is overwhelming, there is little appetite for it on the UK side. And while the Government might be tempted to use COVID-19 to camouflage the disaster of a crash out from the single market and customs union at the end of the year, the costs will be high – and less affordable than ever. 

This government, picked for its adherence to the Brexit mantra rather than its ability to steer us out of the COVID-19 crisis, still seems hell bent on crashing out, rather than looking at the changed landscape we now find ourselves in and accepting that not only we, but other governments too, have other things to think about.

We are so far away from reaching an agreement with the EU that it is fantasy to assume it is now possible. The timeline was extremely tight to begin with, but after talks stalled due to illness and isolation, the prospect of a deal has become even less likely.

And the UK’s refusal to make their negotiating mandate public is infuriating EU capitals. They don’t even know what the UK side is aiming for.

“The problems are immense: the British texts, which are not made public, don’t cover a number of key priorities. Nothing substantial on a level playing field, no text whatsoever on fisheries so far, no recognition of the role of ECJ or ECHR, no commitments regarding climate change, no certainty in the protection of data… The Political declaration is forgotten,” said one senior European who is well aware of what’s happening in the negotiations. 

The source said there was nothing concrete so far on how the UK sees its relationship with EU security or defence policies but by contrast they are making huge demands about access to European data, with no strings attached. 

“More generally, there is an aggressive tone which hurts and doesn’t help. There are many reasons why the talks are only talks, and not proper negotiations. The risk of a no deal is serious and obviously a scenario which has some traction in London.” 

During a remote meeting of the UK-EU Friendship Group set up by MEPs before the UK contingent headed home, Polish MEP Radek Sikorski (EPP) said: “We should all prepare ourselves for a super hard Brexit at the end of this year.”

And French MEP Nathalie Loiseau (Renew Europe), said: “The pace of negotiations is pretty slow. There’s very little progress. We ask for no posturing ideology, but for care for individuals and businesses who will be affected by this.”

The feeling in Brussels is that the UK still wants an agreement with all the benefits, but with minimal obligations. Their language is couched in ideology and hubris. Never mind the details of what being a ‘third country’ means in reality, fulfilling an election promise still seems far more important – regardless of the fact that whole world order has fundamentally changed. 

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A longer read for the lockdown: Why I left the Tories and became a Lib Dem


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It wasn’t Brexit that made me leave, but a stark realisation that there was something deeply wrong with the Tory party.

I owe my life in Britain to a Tory MP. In 1957, newly elected Keith Joseph was instrumental in persuading the government to grant sanctuary to Jews fleeing Egypt following the Suez crisis, which included my father aged 8.

My grandfather, a 32-year-old dentist at the time, was asked by Egyptian authorities why he was leaving the country. Predicting a surge in hostility towards non-Arabs inspired by President Nasser’s populist speeches, he responded “because you’re allowing me to”.

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To help defeat coronavirus, we must campaign for a 2 year extension to the EU Transition

Wall to wall coverage of Brexit has understandably given way to our urgent need to defeat the coronavirus pandemic. But as the 30 June deadline to extend the negotiations on our future EU relationship rapidly approaches, the fallout from Brexit is again rising up the political agenda.

The UK faces a likely double whammy, one a public health and economic crisis, and the other an entirely unnecessary government-made fiasco. Government machinery is now almost entirely consumed by the urgent effort to defeat COVID-19. We simply cannot afford to crash out of global arrangements, notably trade, without an EU agreement, whilst at the same time as trying to defeat the pandemic. As former Chancellor Alistair Darling stated “It’s madness to contemplate shooting yourself in the foot on an entirely man-made political decision at a time when you don’t need to do that”. Sir Ed Davey and others have accordingly called for an extension to the negotiations.

The COVID-19 crisis though provides excellent cover for the Conservative Government and ideological EUphobes to progress their dream of the hardest of Brexits. The adverse effects of crashing out without a deal could fairly easily be confused with and be blamed on adverse effects of the pandemic, rather than attributed to the Government’s damaging EUphobic policy itself.

Chief UK negotiator, David Frost, tweeted on 16 April:

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The Party of Human Rights

Much has been made of the repurposing of the Liberal Democrats in the aftermath of December’s General Election.  Enter the Orange Bookers, the social liberals and the FBPE Europhiles all of whom are beginning to set out the course they feel the party should embark on as it looks to the future.

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Why didn’t remain politicians connect?

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What did the 2016 Remain campaign and the 2019 Revoke Article 50 position adopted by the Lib Dems teach us?

– That policies must engage people, not patronise them.

Let me explain.

Most analyses agree that Brexit will negatively impact the more deprived communities the hardest.

So the question being asked by so many people is this: why on earth did Cornwall, one the UK’s most deprived regions which receives so much funding from the EU, and which appears to have a lot to lose and little to gain, vote for Brexit?

The Leave message during the referendum may have been based on misinformation and lies but it was packaged as a message of hope for improvement and change. This was a stark contrast to the Remain campaign which consisted merely of warnings, hence it being dubbed ‘Project fear.’

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Brexit, our Party`s Future and CANZUK (Canada, New Zealand, Australia and UK)

CANZUK and dependencies

On Friday the UK left the European Union and has now entered a transitional period, intended to develop a trade agreement with the EU and other areas in the world. I feel, therefore, that it is important to discuss what our party should be doing moving forward, and can see that there will be a good deal of debate over this and the options, most likely: rejoin as soon as possible, rejoin after a time or other alternatives. Here, I shall make the argument for the latter case and chiefly examine what I believe to be our next best option, a CANZUK (Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK) Agreement.

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Liberal Democrats should campaign to fix Brexit

What should Lib Dems do now?

Should we just be campaign to rejoin the EU? Or something else?

I suggest that we fix Brexit first.

Last year people voted Conservative because they thought Brexit was a distraction from Britain’s real problems. Over 70% of the public thought this. Most people who voted Remain thought this. They thought that the only way to get Brexit out of the way, was to push it through.

Of course this isn’t true. Brexit isn’t over. And we’ll be stuck with the problems it creates for decades.

But if we campaign to rejoin straight away, it will be counter-productive. People won’t see the problems caused by Brexit, because most of them won’t be obvious until the transition period ends.

And, just as everybody sighs in relief that Brexit is over, we’ll look like obsessives wanting to restart the argument. A bit like John Redwood in the 1990s.

The British people have given the government a chance to get Brexit right.

Lib Dems should therefore work to fix Brexit. Fixing Brexit means accepting it’s happening. For now.

That means minimising the damage. Damage done to the economy. And damage done to our friends and neighbours.

Today there are three things we can campaign on.

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Lib Dem councillors – the thin orange line between Britain and the harsh effects of Brexit

We fought hard, we won where we could, but lost where it mattered. Brexit is on the doorstep.

And that’s where we should be too.

A wise man once addressed the European Parliament in the wake of our most successful European elections ever and told us that Brexit is not inevitable. And while that may not be as true as it once was, the most devastating consequences of Brexit for our communities are not as inevitable as they may feel sitting here in the crushing aftermath of a truly momentous step back for Britain.

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Is it time to ditch referendums?

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Is it now time to accept that referendums are no way to decide anything? Or is it time to say that they should only be used, if the result produces a clear majority, of say two thirds of the voters, or 50% of the entire electorate?

The decision to use a referendum to decide major constitutional issues has always appeared, in the past, to be the sensible way to tackle those issues, as people vote at General Elections on a wide range of issues and it was thought that a referendum would give a clear answer on a single issue.

The UK remaining in the EU, or Scotland leaving the UK have both been put to a referendum where the side getting 50% of the vote could claim victory, but it was clear in both cases that people would vote each way for a variety of reasons on both issues, leaving the question, “What is the point of a referendum if it doesn’t clearly answer the question put?”

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Our President writes: I’m immensely proud of how we’ve stood up for our values over Brexit

Our Party President, MarkPack, sent this email to members yesterday evening:

For the last four years, the Liberal Democrats have proudly fought to stop Brexit.

I am immensely proud of everything we did. We stood up for our values. We campaigned so hard. But I also accept that at 11pm tonight, we will no longer be members of the European Union.

Our European story is not over. Tomorrow our fight continues, to make sure Britain has the closest possible relationship with our allies in Europe.

Today, I want to take stock of everything we did achieve in our fight to stop Brexit.

When the results of the European referendum were announced on that sad day in June 2016, we knew that something must be done. Our leader at the time, Tim Farron, did not wait to say that we deserved a vote on the final Brexit deal.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 50 Comments
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  • User AvatarMichael Bukola 12th Aug - 10:56pm
    @ James Moore I sense an air of disappointment in the qualities displayed in the current Leadership race. We have to be careful not to...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Aug - 10:54pm
    @ Mark.. "Does our modern media-driven politics allow risk-taking, or big ideas? I’d suggest not". You're probably right, .... but they do it for the...
  • User AvatarRichard Lowe 12th Aug - 10:21pm
    Agreed. Two things I'd like to see are minutes, especially of the Federal Board, and also voting breakdown. How do we know who to vote...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 12th Aug - 10:01pm
    @Tony Greaves The volunteer team who run LDV permit use of pseudonames in the public part of the forum - see https://www.libdemvoice.org/comment-policy Some people may...