Tag Archives: brexit

Edinburgh march for Europe: Worrying news about EU negotiations and Alex Cole-Hamilton speaks

People took to Edinburgh’s streets today to protest about Brexit and climate change. The European Movement in Scotland organised the event which was very vibrant and well attended.

Our Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton gave one of the keynote speeches. As he finished, someone behind me (name redacted to protect the guilty) muttered “Understated as ever.”

Alex condemned the shutting down of Parliament and said that we would continue to fight Brexit on the streets, in the tv studios and at the ballot box.

Also speaking at the rally was the author of Article 50, Lord Kerr.

He was intensely critical of the Prime Minister, saying that Johnson and the truth were strangers and that even if shutting down Parliament wasn’t found to be technically illegal, it was definitely improper.

He also revealed that Boris Johnson’s negotiators had asked for everything relating to workers’ rights, environmental standards and social policy to be removed from Theresa May’s deal. This should not be surprising given that the agenda of the right wing Brexiteers is to turn this country into a Singapore style deregulated  economy where hard won  safety standards, workers’ rights and human rights are minimised.

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21 September 2019 – today’s press release

Labour must come clean about their Brexit plan – Lib Dems

Responding to reports that Labour will only decide which way to vote in a People’s Vote after a general election, Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

It is totally unfair of Labour not to be clear about their plan in government.

Through choosing whether to support leave or remain after the election, millions of remain Labour supporters could help elect a leave government.

Instead remain supporters must back the Liberal Democrats in a general election. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit.

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20 September 2019 – yesterday’s press release

Umunna: Thornberry must withdraw Taliban remarks

Responding to the comments made by Emily Thornberry comparing the Liberal Democrats to the Taliban, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Chuka Umunna said:

Emily Thornberry should withdraw her inappropriate remarks. Language counts – comparing the Liberal Democrats to a murderous organisation is no laughing matter.

It is also grossly insulting to the 6 million people who signed the revoke Article 50 petition launched earlier this year, including many of the Shadow Cabinet’s constituents.

The Liberal Democrats are clear that every vote for us is a vote to stop Brexit.

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Revoking Article 50 alone isn’t enough

With the prospect of a general election on the horizon, we have just finished another successful Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Bournemouth. Jo Swinson delivered a stirring first leader’s speech and Conference backed several new policy motions, most notably the party’s new policy on Brexit. A future Liberal Democrat Majority Government would revoke Article 50 and instantly stop Brexit.

British politics now has a party that is prepared to do its utmost to put an end to Brexit, either by getting a democratic mandate to revoke Article 50 or failing that, by securing a People’s Vote with the option to Remain in the EU. Brexit has developed into the biggest peacetime political and constitutional crisis arguably since the 17th century. It is shaking British politics to its very foundations with our constitutional settlement being tested like never before.

It is not just enough to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50, we also need to heal our broken democracy. At the time of writing this, the case against the prorogation of Parliament is playing out at the Supreme Court. The Executive branch has been made to answer a case presented to the Judiciary in regard to its actions towards the Legislature. There is conflict between the three branches of government.

Britain unlike many countries does not have a single written (or codified) constitution with clearly defined checks and balances. In the absence of this, Boris Johnson’s government is able to railroad Parliament by utilising the ancient powers of the royal prerogative to enact a five-week long prorogation. The potential for an extremely authoritarian government being able to take power is very real under the current British constitutional settlement; a fact which is underlined by the majoritarian nature of the first past the post voting system.

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Brexit? Scrap-it.

Revoking Article 50 was proposed by Chuka Umunna before he joined the Lib Dems, but nobody was listening to him in those days. Now its time has come, and it is set to be our bold new policy.

It has at least two advantages over a final say referendum:

  1. It is not open to the accusation that we want to re-run the original referendum because we didn’t like the result.
  2. Unlike No Deal, or the agony of another bitterly fought referendum, it really is a clean break. Whereas no-deal ushers in interminable years of haggling, in which the hapless public will never hear the last of the B-word, revoking cancels out Cameron’s fateful mistake and allows us to address the real problems facing the country.

Fateful mistake? Yes, the one thing most people will agree on, Leavers and Remainers alike, is that it would have been better if David Cameron had never inflicted the referendum on the country, causing nothing but division, trouble and strife. Nobody asked for it, nobody wanted it, it was foisted upon us as his bright idea to deal with the internal problems in his own party.

So if we cannot travel back in time and dissuade Cameron from plunging the country into chaos, scrapping the whole sorry business is about as close as we can get.

But surely Brexiters will not melt away and disappear, surely they will continue to agitate? Yes, but much of the force will go, once our course is settled and there is no immediate prospect of turning back. Because revoking can only be done if it is done in good faith, if it signifies a genuine intent to remain. We cannot revoke merely to obtain another 2 years of negotiating time.

Of course, we should be prepared for the inevitable cries of “undemocratic!” We hear this for instance from Stephen Kinnock, whose group of MPs are pressing for a soft Brexit, whilst Polly Toynbee accuses us of extremism.

Yes, it would certainly be undemocratic to revoke article 50 without a vote, but in the context of an election it is a perfectly reasonable option. And indeed, I predict it will prove very popular. A simple no-nonsense message, direct and unashamed, which takes the Brexit bull by the horns.

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Let’s get our messaging right on Revoke…

Sadly work commitments meant that I could only spend the weekend in Bournemouth this year, but it was well worth the travel (even the post-Disco train journey home). I was impressed by our new MPs and struck by the time they were spending with members as they build connections within their new political home.

I did manage to stay for the Europe debate and although I am happy with the final result, I did think that the opponents to ‘Revoke’ did win the debate in the hall, if not the vote. Niall Hodson (rising star) and Simon Hughes (established hero) were especially memorable and raised clear and credible concerns regarding this sudden shift in policy position. Sadly I do not think their comments were properly addressed during the debate and this left real concerns with some groups within our party; especially I suspect those from the social democrat legacy who rightly raise concerns over how such a divisive position may damage to our communities. It also does not help equip our activists with the messages needed to combat the inevitable attacks we now face from Labour and the Tories.

At the same time, I have been canvassing over the past two weeks, including tonight, and I am personally very comfortable in being able to defend this General Election position with voters on the doorstep. My own conversations currently focus on the two main lines of attack we currently face.

From Labour, we are now seeing accusations that we are overruling the will of the people as unthinking extremists no more tolerant than Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson. Notably they are going to some lengths to misrepresent our position missing out some rather key information. It is therefore very important that we note:

  • As a party we are still prioritising delivering a People’s Vote ahead of a General Election.
  • However, due to Labour’s failure to support a People’s Vote over the past three years, it does now look most likely that we will have a General Election.
  • Therefore, in that scenario we are going put Remain on the ballot paper by recognising a MAJORITY Lib Dem government as a mandate for revoking Article 50 (and stopping this unbearable madness as quickly as possible).
  • Labour MPs in remain areas (including my own) are talking about revoking Article 50 but only to select groups in the now standard approach from their party in which they will say whatever they think the people you want to hear (our MP has also argued for a Norway model and supported Labour’s Brexit plan in the indicative votes earlier this year).
  • We are therefore being honest and clear; setting ourselves up in a strong position to support Remain in a referendum whilst giving the electorate a choice and a chance to Stop Brexit now.

From the Anarchist Party (formerly known as the Conservatives), there are similar attacks on “defying the will of the people”, but with more focus on this being somehow undemocratic. My response in these conversations are:

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What would you think are the odds on the Liberal Democrats winning most seats in a general election?

Given that we have 18 MPs right now, you wouldn’t expect the odds on the Liberal Democrats being the biggest party in the House of Commons to be that good.

Maybe 100-1, maybe 50-1 at best.

Well, not so much.

Look here and you’ll see a range between 9-1 and 16-1.

That reflects the fact that we have left Bournemouth with a clear path ahead.

We know that our primary objective at the moment is to stop Brexit in order to make creating the more caring, more equal society that we want to see so much easier.

We are clear that if the Liberal Democrats win a majority at the next General Election before we have left the European Union, the very first thing that Jo Swinson will do if she enters Downing Street as Prime Minister, before she even puts the kettle on, will be to revoke Article 50.

The political earthquake that it would take for us to go from 18 seats to 326 would be more than sufficient mandate.

If we don’t win an overall majority, we would go for a people’s vote with a Brexit option and the option to Remain.

Over the last few days, Jo Swinson has shown herself to be a calm, capable, infectiously enthusiastic, likeable and determined leader, surrounded by a talented team.

She has been in the job for less than 2 months and already she tops the popularity ratings.

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We must create a non Brexit dividend

The Liberal Democrats have been the proud standard-bearers of the rearguard action from the 2016 EU referendum. That Britain is still in the EU, and we as a party are enjoying a revival from the drubbing of 2015, are direct results of our commitment to what looked at the time like a lost cause.

But if, as seems likely, we go into the next general election with a policy of revoking Article 50 without another referendum, it will become absolutely vital for us to present to the electorate a ‘non-Brexit dividend’ – otherwise we will fail the very society we have claimed to bat for over several decades.

Last year I wrote in LDV that our party’s approach to the most pressing issue of our time should be summed up by paraphrasing Tony Blair’s dictum from his time as shadow Home Office Secretary – we should be ‘tough on Brexit, and tough on the causes of Brexit’. We have been brilliant at the first but not so good at the second. That must now change.

There are no policy disagreements here. Whatever the question was, Brexit isn’t the answer. The EU is far from perfect, but the idea that we’re better off outside than inside is preposterous. But precisely because Brexit makes no sense, we have to look at why so many people voted for it. And to dismiss it as just years of anti-EU hectoring by the press won’t bring people round to understanding our view.

Our line to date has been that we want a people’s vote. In other words, there is so much doubt about what the 2016 Leave vote meant, and how legitimate the mandate is, that we have to put it back to the people. But if we’re not now putting it back to the people, we have to show that we’re as tough on the causes of Brexit as on Brexit itself, or we really will leave ourselves open to accusations that we are illiberal and undemocratic.

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That Brexit conference motion in full – and links to all the papers for Bournemouth

Here below is the Conference Brexit motion in full. It is motion F17 “Stop Brexit” to be debated at 11:50 on Sunday. In the main Conference Agenda document, this motion simply appears as “F17 Europe” with no detail. This was to allow a motion to be written closer to conference that is up-to-date. The motion text appears in the Conference Extra document which has now been published.

You can find all the Conference papers here and the excellent Conference app is available for iOS/Apple and Android. With the app you can read through the agenda and fringe meeting list. You can then add items to your phone calendar so you can assemble your “wish list” of conference activities all in one place and get the usual reminders etc.

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Why calling for Article 50 to be revoked actually makes stopping Brexit less likely

I want to make the case that Jo Swinson MP’s proposed policy of revoking Article 50 if the Lib Dems win a majority government actually makes stopping Brexit less likely.

Calling for a final say referendum on any Brexit deal has been our defining policy for over three years and has brought this party back to life and back to electoral popularity. The reason a final say referendum has grown in popularity (with the public and in Parliament) is not especially because the arguments for voting Remain have become more persuasive than the arguments for voting Leave, but because it is seen as a sensible way of unblocking the Brexit process. If we change our policy and start calling for revoking Article 50, we risk narrowing our tent and losing people who are beginning to see the logic in having a second plebiscite on this issue.

On Tuesday Sir Oliver Letwin MP voiced his support for a referendum as a way to break the impasse. I fear we risk losing people like Letwin from this growing people’s vote coalition with this policy change. It makes us seem like the Brexit Party of Remain in that we will be perceived as Remain at any cost rather than willing to put our case to the public again in a referendum. In my opinion, the Brexit Party has made Brexit less likely as they have popularised the act of Brexit into an extreme ‘clean break’ scenario which has become untenable for a majority of MPs. If we pursue revoking I fear we will do the same to Remain.

I understand the attraction of going for revoke, we can better distinguish ourselves from Labour and clarify that we want to stop Brexit even further. This may have worked well in a European Parliament election with proportional representation, but in a General Election we need much broader coalitions. With our current policy we can say to even Leavers tired of Brexit that a referendum will end the Brexit mess for good.

So those of you going to Conference on Sunday please consider this policy carefully. We are the most pro-European party in the country, but we are also democrats and our policy of a people’s vote to stop Brexit is a product that people have just voted emphatically for in the European elections. Let’s not make our message Remain at any cost, but end the Brexit mess so we can move on and fix the real problems in our country.

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Brexit Impact for UK Citizens living in the EU outside the UK

“This is the fourth of a five-part series of pieces highlighting the issues of concern to Liberal Democrat members beyond our shores. For the first in the series, click here…”

The 2016 Referendum result has plunged the lives of the 1.2 million British citizens resident outside the UK in the EU into a maelstrom of loss and uncertainty. It is important to remember that about 600 000 of them are disenfranchised by the 15-year rule for overseas voting and thus many of the individuals most heavily and directly impacted by Brexit are those with no democratic voice in the process of the removal of their EU Citizen’s Rights.

As Prime Minister Johnson continues to wield the threat of a No-Deal Brexit to extract concessions from the EU and plays fast and loose with the rights of our EU citizen friends and relatives resident in the UK, he is entirely dependent on the goodwill of the other 27 EU Member States towards our Citizens, resident within their borders. For while it is in this British Government’s power to grant rights to EU citizens resident in the UK, British citizens must rely on the generosity of the EU Member States to maintain at least some of the rights that they depend on to conduct their lives.

There are a myriad of reasons why British citizens took the opportunities afforded to them by their EU Citizens rights and moved to live in other EU countries and the scenarios in which they now find themselves are no less diverse. There are those who depend on their Freedom of Movement in order to work across multiple countries, particularly those who are involved in the service sector, who will find themselves heavily impacted by the increased barriers to trade after Brexit.  Then, there are retirees, with pensions that have already seen their value fall by about 25% due to the Pound’s downward course since 2016 and now face the loss of their S1 reciprocal healthcare provision and the removal of pension uprating in 3 years time. So, while the British Embassy Outreach events seek to assure us that nothing much will change in our daily lives, it is actually hard to gloss over the fundamental erosion of rights and opportunities that is occurring.

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Revoking Article 50 is a highly risky strategy

Death is in charge of the clattering train!

(Edwin James Milliken)

The now seemingly inevitable general election that we are doomed to endure will without a doubt be one of the most divisive and decisive in British political history. Boris Johnson’s strategy is to divide the Remain vote and set himself as the people’s champion – no matter how irrational that theory is. Labour, who plan to try a rerun of their 2017 campaign and put Jeremy Corbyn forwards as a radical, reforming leader, and polling miserably for an opposition to a disastrous government. Dominic Cummings is intent on capturing northern working-class seats who want a no-deal Brexit, as he successfully did for the Leave campaign in 2016.

Both main parties will have to offer manifestos that capture the public imagination and offer clear paths forward. They will have unfunded spending sprees, promises of immigration caps, and patriotic tirades. No change there, then. The sceptre of Brexit does, however, add an extra dimension – the polarisation that has divided the country will shape any public vote.

For the Lib Dems to succeed, they need to offer a new message disenfranchised voters, beyond the boundaries of the Remain-Leave divide.

Jo Swinson’s announcement that the party will be arguing in their manifesto for an unequivocal reversal of the referendum result must be treated with caution therefore. Many voters on both sides of a traditional Liberal base – Tory voters despairing at the economic crisis of a no-deal and Labour voters outraged at Corbyn – are not natural Leave voters. Neither are they going to be brought over, I suspect, by the option of revoking Brexit without a public vote. Voters who want to revoke Article 50 would pick the Lib Dems as the main pro-European voice in Parliament as it is. This latest move brings little support and many even detract from it.

Brexit has divided many, but beyond the date Britain leaves the argument for revoking will become less. The argument for another referendum will become more credible, as the consequences of the exit become clearer, and the powerful Remain voice is no longer the establishment.

The recent surge in Lib Dem support and new recruits in parliament show that a new, radical liberal movement has palpable support nationally. This requires new policies that can bring swing voters over and ensure that the party does not continue to fall foul of the first-part-the-post method that shows no sign of being reformed.

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Jo tackles Boris on sexist insults

Twice this week, Boris Johnson has used sexist insults. In deeply dignified and mature behaviour for a Prime Minister, he called Jeremy Corbyn a “big girl’s blouse” the other day. And now we discover he called David Cameron a “girly swot.”

This is how Jo Swinson responded.

She took the fight for liberal values to him the other day and he was all over the place as a result. Jo is usually very prepared about what she is going to say, but she was clearly furious with his dismissive answer when challenged on his dangerous racism and she handed his backside to him on a plate.

Jo is fired up and ready to go when the inevitable election eventually comes along, after she and others have protected the country from government shenanigans which could force no deal on us.

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Lib Dem Lords vs Brexit: Middle of night special

It’s 12:55 am and the House of Lords just got to the amendments on the first paragraph of the timetable motion for the avoiding no deal  bill. They have been going for the better part of 11 hours now and the vote they are on now is, I think, the 16th. According to Lib Dem Peer Paul Strasburger, this is the most votes ever in a single session.

This is part of the Government’s attempts to filibuster out the Bill to stop a no deal Brexit in its tracks which was passed by the Commons earlier.

There were rumours on Newsnight that Jeremy Corbyn had done a deal with the Government to allow an election in mid October in exchange for the filibustering to stop, but this appears to have been averted after MPs of all parties prevailed on Corbyn to not trust a word that comes from the Government.

So, No 10, I understand, has told the Lords to keep filibustering.

The Lords chamber is still pretty full. Every single vote has been won by the Rebel Alliance. And by some margin. It is the most colossal waste of time ever.

Some of our Lib Dem Lords may be in their element. It does rather read like a Lib Dem constitutional review, but even after an hour of watching, I am ready to throw things at the telly.

If you are trying to frustrate business with hundreds of frivolous amendments, you might at least make them interesting. I mean, why not include proposals for unlimited marshmallows to be provided, or to play beer pong at the bar of he House?

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4 September 2019 – today’s press releases

Time to put Liberal Democrat Voice to bed for the night, unlike our Parliamentary Party in the Lords, who are preparing for a long night of voting to stop Conservatives filibustering.

It’s been a dramatic day in Westminster, although there seem to be no shortage of those these days. But the media operations continues regardless…

  • Kicking the can down the road will not prevent Windrush-style scandal for EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: We have a duty to stand with the people of Hong Kong
  • Davey slams Spending Review as “fantasy figures”
  • Jane Dodds delivers maiden speech in Parliament
  • PM cannot be allowed to use an election to

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3 September 2019 – today’s (other) press releases

Readers may have noticed that the news of Phillip Lee’s defection was fast-tracked onto our front page earlier this afternoon, but his dramatic move to the Liberal Democrat benches shouldn’t overshadow the good news story that was Jane Dodds’s arrival on our benches, especially given how many Liberal Democrat Voice readers lent a hand in Brecon and Radnorshire…

HS2 Should not be funded with a ‘blank cheque’

In response to reports that HS2 could be delayed for up to seven years, with an additional estimated cost of over £20bn, former Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

It is shameful that the Conservative Government

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All aboard the rollercoaster

A Prime Minister with no mandate intends to shut down Parliament to pursue a reckless agenda which could lead to food and medicine shortages. He threatens to end the careers of anyone on his side who defies him.

No, not the plot of some fanciful work of fiction I read on holiday. Quite possibly the plot of a film in a few years time.

There is a surreal feeling about what’s happening at the moment. A colleague of mine commented when we heard that Conservative MPs were being summoned to the garden of Downing Street that some of the rebels may not be allowed to leave.

An emergency debate today will lead to a Bill being introduced by the opposition tomorrow. That bill will compel the PM to ask for an extension to Article 50 to the end of January. If the European Council ask for it to be to a different date, MPs will have the chance to accept or reject that date.

Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats, have been heavily involved in planning over the Summer.  Our aim is ultimately to stop Brexit by means of a People’s Vote. That is something that was supported by 280 MPs the last time it was debated.

Boris Johnson knows that there is a good chance that this legislation will pass. It was pretty extraordinary to see Michael Gove refuse to confirm that the Government would abide by this new law.

Last night’s ultimatum, when he threw a general election into the mix, looks like it may not succeed. The only way an election can be called is if Labour votes for it and it looks from what their people are saying that they will resist that, at least in the short term. My worry is that an election called for 14th could be delayed to 31st once Parliament is dissolved, when it’s too late to do anything to avert no deal, by a Prime Minister who is  not exactly known for keeping his word.

This is a hugely anxious time for anyone with a liberal mindset. A government taking an increasingly authoritarian, anti-democratic course needs to be stopped. Every vote is going to shred our nerves and send our blood pressure through the roof. A longer term objective surely has to be to end the 15 minutes of drama that goes along with every Commons vote. Pressing a button would end that agony.

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2 September 2019 – today’s (other) press releases

Leaked doc shows Govt has no answer to the Irish border question

Responding to the leaked civil service document showing the Government’s failure to come up with a viable alternative to the backstop, Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit secretary Tom Brake said:

As we continue to get closer to October 31st, with Boris Johnson attempting to shutdown our democracy, this leaked document rings alarm bells. It proves the Government has no deliverable solution to the Irish border, let alone being able to find one within the next few weeks.

The fact that in this document there is not a single option that can be

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Lib Dems sign cross-party Bill to stop no-deal

Today Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake has signed the cross-party Bill which, if passed, will force Boris Johnson to request a 3 month extension if Parliament has either not agreed a deal or agreed to no-deal by October 19th.

Following this, Tom Brake said:

This Bill provides the means to rule out a catastrophic no-deal Brexit. If passed, it will ensure that Boris Johnson has to seek an extension so that he cannot drag the country off the cliff edge.

The Liberal Democrats have been working with others to ensure that this Tory-created mess does not lead to us falling out

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We must start to nail the big lie

As Boris Johnson apparently snakes his way to a General Election in which he will represent himself as the people’s champion, fulfilling their will in the face of Parliamentary treachery, we must confront the central lie of their campaign. For three years Brexiteers have been allowed to establish a massive shield of credibility around the claim that the result of the EU Referendum in 2016 is sacrosanct for all time – an incontrovertible and irrevocable expression of the will of the British people. They have done so simply by repeating at every possible opportunity that to call for a fresh …

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31 August – 1 September 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Good morning, readers, and welcome to the start of another week here at Liberal Democrat Voice! Some of you may have been wondering where this feature got to over August, and the simple answer is that I’ve been away visiting family and looking at glaciers (but not at the same time). And now I’m back…

Stop chasing unicorn Brexit deal

Responding to Michel Barnier rejecting Boris Johnson’s demands for the Irish backstop to be scrapped, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said;

Boris Johnson’s Brexit chaos is a national embarrassment. With just 60 days to go until we crash out of the

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Jo Swinson joins Judicial Review of prorogation launched by Gina Miller, with Sir John Major and Tom Watson

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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has added her name to the legal challenge from Gina Miller aimed to prevent Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament. This follows yesterday’s High Court announcement that the case would be considered.

Jo Swinson said:

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It’s 1914 again …

… and I think I’m a conchie.

Brexiteers are fond of invoking the spirit of the Second World War for their all consuming mission. They assemble a war cabinet, Boris Johnson dons the mantle of Winston Churchill and strikes a pose as heroic saviour of the nation. No doubt a spitfire flypast is planned for November 1st.

Yet if we insist on military comparisons, in truth the atmosphere resembles more the run up to World War One. In the summer of 1914, as the Guardian columnist Rafael Behr puts it, “martial drums grew louder, pacifist voices grew fainter, a fog of fatalism descended. The nature of the question shifted from averting possible cataclysm to managing one that seemed inevitable”.

Although in theory our exit can be stopped, the armoured tank that is Brexit now has a lot of momentum and it is unclear how exactly to disable it. Though we assume all routes are still open, many may have already closed off. Historians, contemplating the build up to the Great War, are similarly uncertain when the point of no return occurred.

It was famously said that Europe was plunged into the First World War by the inexorable operation of train timetables. In other words, at a critical moment the carefully laid mobilisation plans could not be deactivated. Today, mobilisation is already proceeding apace and our diplomats in Europe have been ordered to take the train home. Parliament is set to be suspended, blue passports are being printed, celebratory coins are being struck, before long Brexit will be a fait accompli even before it has happened.

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Please sign the petition against proroguing Parliament

Earlier today, I signed the petition against proroguing parliament and about 150,000 people had also signed it. I’ve just looked and now 604,612 people have signed – and it’s going up all the time! (P.S As I published this post it had gone up to 622,453)

Please do sign the petition here – it just takes a few seconds.

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+++Jo Swinson: PM is trying to remove the voice of the people

Responding to the reports that the Government is expected to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament from mid-September, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

Shutting down Parliament would be an act of cowardice from Boris Johnson. He knows the people would not choose a No Deal and that elected representatives wouldn’t allow it. He is trying to stifle their voices.

By suspending Parliament to force through a No Deal, Boris Johnson and the Government would remove the voice of the people at the most important time. It is a dangerous and unacceptable course of action which the Liberal Democrats will strongly oppose.

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Jo Swinson joins 120+ MPs in signing Church House Declaration to defy Johnson attempts to close Parliament

Embed from Getty Images
From The Guardian’s Ben Quinn:

Boris Johnson was described as a threat to the very nature of British democracy at a cross party meeting of MPs who signed a pledge to an alternative parliament in the event of the prime minister shutting down parliament to make a no deal Brexit happen.

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More from Jo Swinson on this morning’s cross party talks

Speaking after this morning’s meeting of opposition leaders to discuss stopping a no-deal Brexit, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

“This was a positive meeting with a clear objective to stop the nightmare that is no-deal Brexit, which the Government have admitted will lead to medicine and food shortages.

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Jo Swinson says cross-party talks were “very positive”

Embed from Getty Images

The Guardian reports:

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has told the BBC’s World at One programme that the meeting in Jeremy Corbyn’s office with other leaders trying to stop no-deal Brexit was “very positive”. Swinson confirmed that the leaders did not discuss who would lead a caretaker government if the prime minister lost a vote of no confidence
She told the show:

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Surely there is a way that Johnson can give us a treat on Halloween, rather than a trick?

Embed from Getty Images

WARNING: This article contains high amounts of hysterical optimism (or at least non-pessimism)

Here are, to my mind, three significant things about Boris Johnson in the context of the current Brexit dilemma:

1. It is conceivable that he harbours ideas of having statues of himself built in future. When grappling with the choice of being a politician or a journalist, he allegedly once said:

They don’t put up statues to journalists

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Closing Parliament to force no deal would be an outrage

You may have seen reports that Boris Johnson is considering closing Parliament for six weeks in order to block MPs from extending Article 50 for a further period.

Our Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake remarked on this yesterday:

If Boris Johnson can find a kooky or irregular way to shut Parliament out of the Brexit process it will be an outrage.

No deal will destroy our economy, it will have a dramatic impact on the cost of living and it will mean less access to medicines that keep people alive. Parliament must be able to challenge Ministers on the damage it will cause.

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  • User AvatarMichael BG 22nd Sep - 11:51pm
    Bill le Breton, Kingston was a second tier target seat in 1997. So they received some outside support but members were not encouraged to go...
  • User Avatarfrankie 22nd Sep - 11:47pm
    Well Roger they have their first major Brexit test, getting the Thomas Cook tourists home. Now I know the Brexi's and Lexi's will wail tis...
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 22nd Sep - 11:10pm
    If we expect an election very soon, perhaps we should be looking forward to the next one, in 2024, perhaps? It looks quite possible that...
  • User AvatarJohn Grout 22nd Sep - 10:57pm
    I think Niamh O'Connell's standout speech from the Europe debate deserves a place in the list of favourites, among the speeches that actually happened. I...
Thu 10th Oct 2019