Tag Archives: brexit

13 December 2018 – (not just) today’s press releases

You’d think that putting the day’s piece to bed after 11.30 p.m. should cover everything. But no, the Press Teams both in London and Cardiff had one last shot in the dying moments of yesterday, so I’m including them with today’s batch. Enjoy…

  • Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib Dems
  • PM must now change course and offer people the final say
  • Soaring numbers of children trapped in temporary accommodation is shameful
  • Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Prostate Cancer MRI Scans
  • Govt must set out plans to avoid NHS winter crisis
  • Lib Dems demand MPs holidays are cancelled to vote on Brexit
  • Cable:

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Love, actually

A message to Theresa May & all Britons on Brexit

Here is a video column from the D66 (Dutch Social-Liberal, pro-European sister party), featuring Kees Verhoeven, our MP for European Affairs.

Hope you enjoy!

https://twitter.com/D66/status/1072408573475463168

#makelovedontBrexit

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Why “Global Britain” must be rooted in our liberal democratic values

The world has changed a lot over the past 30 years, becoming both more open and democratic and more prosperous. Well-being indicators of those most in need, especially in terms of health and education, have improved dramatically. But we still confront tremendous challenges, ranging from climate change to growing inequalities, especially within countries, and from conflict and fragility to migration. In addition, a profound dissatisfaction with liberal democracy and perceptions about the way it works has set in, not only in the developing world but also in countries that have traditionally been considered the cradles of democracy.

So despite the progress, it can often feel like we are confronting the greatest period of uncertainty and instability we have experienced since the second world war. As happened after World War II, the collective problems we face today require collective ways to address them. The United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union itself, are all founded in the experience of what happens when the world fragments. Coming together to create rules-based regional and global communities was the answer in the post-War era. This is why it feels strangely anachronistic for the UK to press on with Brexit now – especially when considering that the EU has been the single most successful multilateral effort of peace- and state building and the promotion of development and prosperity we have known.

Prime Minister May launched the idea of a “Global Britain” in October 2016 to counter fears that the UK would become inward-looking after Brexit. The UK has been a powerful and influential player in the world stage, playing among other things a leading role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals. But it is also the case that the EU has been a major multiplier for UK development and foreign policy – just as the UK has been a multiplier for EU development and foreign policy – and both risk losing significant leverage. So regardless of whether Britain stays inside or leaves the EU, making “Global Britain” more than a slogan will require sustained leadership and continued investment and engagement in crucial international relationships and commitments, both with(in) the EU and beyond.

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The hunt for certainty

Theresa May has been telling MPs that they need to vote for her deal to give certainty.

That has always been hogwash because the Withdrawal Agreement kicks so much about our future relationship with the EU down the road as to be virtually meaningless. In fact, the very existence of the much maligned backstop is proof that it resolves very little and leaves us worse off.

But now, Theresa May’s quest to get her deal through the Commons is even more blighted. When she told Conservative MPs that she intended to step down ahead of the next election, she was probably thinking maybe sometime in 2021. The way some of her MPs, even those who supported her, are talking tonight, she’s got until March.

That adds even more uncertainty into the mix. We have no idea who will lead the negotiations shaping our future relations with the EU. Just imagine that Tory members elect Boris who thinks the chaos of no deal is just what this country needs? At least now we can revert to our membership of the EU but after March 29th we won’t have that safety net.

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Brexit: The forgotten option

Now, I am not normally the person to rush to the front of the queue offering ideas to help the conservative government bail itself out from an inevitable political meltdown. However, in a deep-felt belief that we all need to put the needs of the country before our political self-interest, I wish to suggest an option that not only offers a lifeline to Theresa May but also provides the hope for a brighter future for our country: Albania Plus.

Think about it. At a stroke, we would do away with all the problems of an advanced economy. We would phase out high-tech industries, scientific advancement and all that nasty complicated stuff associated with the ‘supply chain’. Once we stop trading as an advanced international economy, we will no longer have endless streams of imports and exports travelling the highways and byways of the country.  This will not only reduce congestion on our roads, but it will also avoid the need to turn the M20 into a lorry park. Problem solved.

In the lead up to the referendum we were told that Brixit would bring multiple benefits: improvements to the NHS, reduced immigration and we would ‘take back control’ our laws.  No more meddling by bureaucrats in Brussels!

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11 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Amidst the chaos that is Westminster at the moment, at least somebody was trying to do something liberal. Admittedly, it wasn’t successful, but as another step towards a more liberal drugs policy, it was certainly worth the effort. Otherwise, another day of national humiliation for our country, as Theresa May found herself child-locked into a limousine. It’s a metaphor for something, isn’t it?…

So, what has gone out in the name of the Party today…

  • Lamb: Prohibition of cannabis is causing harm across the country
  • Cable: Govt economic analysis on Brexit misleading
  • EU confirms May has no room to renegotiate Brexit
  • Lamb: It is

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So it looks like there might be a Tory leadership contest after all…..

The rumours have been circulating all evening, but if Kuenssberg and Peston are now saying it, there has to be some plausibility to the story:

Our Layla got a bit over-excited:

How very unlike the Conservative Party to embroil itself in its own self-indulgent civil war at a time of national crisis.

Of course, even if the ERG has managed to get itself sufficiently together to submit the letters and settle on a chosen candidate, maybe even one who has had a haircut recently, getting the letters in is only the first part of the job. They then have to persuade a majority of their Tory colleagues to back them to force a leadership contest. Apparently there was a huge amount of cheering coming from their meeting last night, and we can probably assume that it wasn’t because they were happy that Joe Sugg had got to the final of Strictly.

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Why a People’s Vote enhances democracy

Of course we should have a vote on the final Brexit deal. 

Because otherwise, we’re giving a free pass to the Brexit campaign of 2016 to say whatever they want, regardless of whether it’s achievable.

The Brexiteers could have promised 100% employment, free homes for everyone and class sizes of 10 if they wanted to. And then when the public voted for Brexit and none of this occurred, they could just say it’s too late. Brexit means Brexit. Anything else is frustrating the result of the referendum.

There comes a point when, if what was promised before the referendum is nothing like what has been achieved in reality, that mandate needs to be held to account. We need to know if the public support the actual Brexit which is staring them in the face – rather than the one which was pitched to them two years ago on completely different terms.

We clearly reached that point a long time ago. 

The Brexit campaign was based on a vision of Brexit which just hasn’t happened. £350 million to the NHS per week? A generous trade deal with the EU? An economically more prosperous country? None of that has happened. 

If the Leave Campaign had campaigned for May’s Brexit Deal, or for No Deal, they would clearly have lost under either circumstance. That’s why I don’t like it when people justify a People’s Vote by saying that the public have a right to change their mind. This isn’t about changing minds. This Brexit was never voted for in the first place. 

Our Prime Minister doesn’t support Brexit. Our Parliament doesn’t support Brexit. The only reason that we are pursuing this policy is because it is “what the people want”. When so much has changed since the vote in 2016, shouldn’t we at least check that this really is “what the people want”? What’s the harm – from a democratic point of view? If the public really do want this version of Brexit then they will vote for it. No one is overturning anything. The public will get their way.

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Lib Dem policy is to withdraw Article 50 if we can’t get an extension for referendum or extra negotiations

This seems to be a good moment to remind you all of the motion passed at Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton. Essentially, if we can’t get an extension for a People’s Vote, or for extra negotiating time to avoid a no deal, we think that Article 50 should be withdrawn. And the ruling from the European Court of Justice yesterday proves that it can be done.

Read, learn and inwardly digest this paragraph:

(Conference calls for)The Government to seek to extend Article 50 if required to legislate for a referendum on the deal, or to provide enough negotiating time to avoid a catastrophic no-deal scenario, and if such extension is not agreed to withdraw the Article 50 notification.

Here’s the motion in full:

Conference notes that:

A.The Conservative Government are making a mess of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party are helping them to deliver this destructive Brexit.

B.Liberal Democrats campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum and have since campaigned for the people to have the final say on the Brexit deal, including the option to remain in the EU.

C.The Treasury have stated that a no-deal Brexit could require the UK to borrow œ80 billion more by 2033, the Conservative Government have begun releasing the 84 no-deal technical notes, and the UK health sector are stockpiling medicines in case of a no-deal.

D.The Chequers plan is unworkable, rejected by both the EU and Conservative European Research Group MPs.

E.A conclusive agreement has not yet been reached on many of the issues arising from the Brexit referendum, including Government red lines, and both sides have stated that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

F.Whilst the principle of a Northern Ireland backstop has been agreed, the UK’s plan to temporarily avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland has not been agreed and there is still no agreement on a long-term solution.

G.During the transition period, which is due to end in 2020, the UK will remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.

H.The draft Withdrawal Agreement stipulated that EU citizens will have to apply for pre-settled or settled status and if they fail to do so will be at risk of deportation; Irish citizens do not have to apply but can if they choose to.

I.EU citizens, who are not Irish or Commonwealth citizens, living in the UK are excluded from voting in UK General Elections or referendums and voting rights have been left outside the scope of Brexit negotiations by the EU Commission.

J.The 2016 EU referendum gave no clear destination for Brexit, as the terms of the deal were not yet known.

Conference believes that:

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10 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Well, that was the day that was, wasn’t it? Or was it? Theresa May has managed to get away again, somewhat in the style of a squid, squirting ink at its attacker and making for cover in the confusion.

By avoiding a vote she seemed certain to lose, she keeps her plan alive and, perhaps, if she can keep doing that long enough, she may reason that she can eliminate other options so that, as Sherlock Holmes famously surmised, if all other options are ruled out, what remains, regardless of how unlikely it might otherwise seem, is the solution.

It needs someone

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9 December 2018 – today’s press release

ECJ ruling expected to make clear it is the deal or remain

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has called on Theresa May to “stop scaremongering about a no-deal Brexit” ahead of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on whether the UK can halt Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50.

The ECJ ruling on this case, which Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake and Labour MP Chris Leslie were parties to is expected to come at 8am tomorrow morning (10th Dec).

The Advocate General for the ECJ, Campos Sanchez-Bordona, told the ECJ last week that it should allow the UK …

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Tom Brake MP writes: About that “split” with People’s Vote…

To keep up to date with Brexit developments these days it is best to have social media on a drip-feed. News of resignations, plots, and leadership bids leak out there first.

It was no surprise, then, that social media was the first to pick up last week on an apparent split between the Lib Dems and the People’s Vote campaign. The ‘split’ was a small disagreement over the best way to maximise the prospects of securing a Final Say on the Deal through a People’s Vote.

But social media’s unsurpassed ability to pick up stories as they break is matched by an uncanny capacity to blow them out of all proportions just as quickly. Rarely has a greater storm been whipped up in a tinier tea-cup.

What caused this restlessness? Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to the Prime Minister’s motion, in favour of a People’s Vote. Hardly a breach of the campaign objective!

There is total agreement between the Lib Dems and the People’s Vote on the need to maximise the chances of winning any vote on a People’s Vote amendment. But we can’t choose on Tuesday whether or not that is the moment to maximise support if the whole issue is left off the order paper. As things stand, we can choose whether to move it, based on changing circumstances.

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The Stephen Lloyd case shows there is no room for nuance in politics

Politics ought to be synonymous with good governance, but it’s not. It’s a game you have to play to get into a position where you can practise good governance. Politics doesn’t seem to have any room for nuances or counterintuitive positions, as the case of the Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has shown.

Lloyd is a classic liberal hero. He can thank the NHS for the fact that he can hear anything – indeed that he’s alive – because it saved him when his hearing and his life were seriously threatened as a toddler. He therefore believes in public services through deep personal experience. He also mortgaged and remortgaged his house to allow him to fight the traditionally Conservative stronghold of Eastbourne. He failed to win the seat in 2005, won it in 2010, lost it in 2015, and won it back in 2017.

The way he won it back in 2017 has sown the seeds of his decision to resign the party whip. Bear with me on the detail, because this is very important.

At the start of the 2017 general election campaign, Lloyd worked out that the only way he was going to win Eastbourne was to accept that the Brexit issue was over, and that despite his own views – he was an enthusiastic campaigner for Remain in the 2016 referendum – he would respect the referendum result. He quotes voters who said to him ‘I’d happily have you as my MP but I voted Leave and if you’re our MP you’ll work to scupper Brexit in Parliament.’ He therefore made a pledge that if the government did a withdrawal deal, he would vote for it.

Viewed from today’s perspective, it might be considered rash, but the vantage point at the time was different. The prevailing narrative was that Theresa May had called the election because she knew she’d increase her majority, and the question was merely whether her post-election majority would be 30, 60 or even 100 seats. The idea that she might lose her majority seemed fanciful, and therefore Brexit seemed as good as done.

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Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

Embed from Getty Images

Following concerns from Formula 1 team bosses, reported by Autosport magazine, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has warned that Brexit would “put Britain into the gravel trap”.

Seven of the ten current F1 teams, including world champions Mercedes, are based in the UK.

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Dominic Grieve’s amendment saves us from an uncomfortable Christmas

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Amongst last Tuesday’s excitement of Theresa May attempting a “Charles the First”, it was easy to miss the significance of Dominic Grieve’s Brexit amendment:

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The Economist backs a People’s Vote

A Leader article in this week’s Economist argues for a referendum on Theresa May’s proposed deal:

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Party identifies 14 key MPs who could swing People’s Vote

House of Commons 2010

Christine Jardine has written to party supporters asking them to email 14 key Tory MPs who the party reckons could swing a vote for a People’s Vote in the House of Commons next week. The 14 MPs voted both remain and leave in the 2016 EU referendum and are:

Leave:

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7 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I’ve spent my evening helping Colchester Liberal Democrats to select their new PPC, which is why this is a bit late in the day. I’m hoping that we’ll have their press release tomorrow, which is why I’m not telling you who won… So, without further ado, here are today’s press releases…

  • Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security
  • Liberal Democrats lead the march to a people’s vote
  • Labour must guarantee a people’s vote
  • The Economist backs a people’s vote
  • Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on the Home …

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6 December 2018 – today’s press releases

You begin to sense the uncertainty emanating from Whitehall, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the governance jungle…

  • Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal
  • Mental Health Review must lead to more investment
  • Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems

Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal

Responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s policy paper on Citizens’ Rights, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Ed Davey said:

The Government has finally admitted that free movement of labour won’t end this March.

The fact they tried to sneak this out shows yet again that people can’t trust anything this

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Wera Hobhouse: The road to stopping Brexit

As an MP, do I have to vote for any Brexit that is put in front of me in parliament?

My duty in our representative democracy is to listen to the people and respect their views. It is also to use my own informed judgement of what is the best for my constituents and the country as a whole.

So to the question, my answer is no. If any Brexit brought to parliament is, in my judgement bad for my constituents and my country, I should not vote for it.

The Prime Minister is using a different argument. She says we have to leave the EU even if it bad for the country because the people voted for it. She suggests that the dutiful thing for MPs in light of the 2016 referendum is to vote for something that we believe is bad for this country. On the contrary, we have a duty to do the opposite.

Does this mean we defy the will of the people? No, because British democracy is a representative democracy and not just a direct democracy.

What we MPs cannot do on our own, however, in light of the referendum in 2016, is to choose to stay in the EU. We can legitimately reject any particular Brexit deal in accordance with our judgement but we cannot move from there and cancel Brexit by ourselves. This is the true meaning of the referendum result.

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Stephen Lloyd resigns Lib Dem whip over Brexit deal

According to BBC South East’s Helen Catt.

It’s because of what he called “irreconcilable differences” between what he sees as his obligations to his Eastbourne constituents and the party’s anti Brexit position.

Stephen promised his constituents, a majority of whom voted to leave that he wouldn’t block Brexit. Perhaps the party’s mistake was allowing him to stand on that basis in 2017.

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Roger Roberts: Are we to be known as the Canutes of History?

Here is Roger Roberts’ speech to the House of Lords on the Brexit deal. His theme was what sort of life are we setting up for future generations?

Leave and Brexit are about   my seven grandchildren, all your Lordships’ grandchildren and all the children in our country. Will it be better for them to have fewer benefits than we have had, or should we think first of them when we vote on this deal?

Just after the Second World War, the community of Llangollen in north Wales established the international musical festival, which has brought people from many countries together. It still goes on; I spoke only this morning to its press office. This past year it brought applications from 3,919 competitors from 64 locations; it brought together people who had been at enmity ​with one another. As people who have been fighting each other, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we either stretch out to one another in friendship or say we want to carry on building a wall.

When the first eisteddfod was held, one choir hitchhiked from Hungary to reach Llangollen—I find it difficult to think of a choir hitchhiking. The following time, a German choir from Lübeck came over to Llangollen. Members of the choir were not sure what sort of reception they would get because we had been at war. They were going to sing to those who had been their enemies and they were very uncertain. But the compère at the eisteddfod on that day was Hywel Roberts, who greeted them by saying, “We are now going to hear from our German friends”. It has taken a long time to build this: to build relationships and get over the enmity of the past. But it has been done, in many different ways. Will we continue with these feelings of friendship? Will we continue building bridges and not walls?

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5 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I see that one of my colleagues has gotten here first… but here’s the list in full…

  • Govt plan to trap Britain on a never-ending Brexit hamster wheel (as published here)
  • Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights
  • Corbyn too in pockets of the unions to back a People’s Vote

Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights

In the Chamber this afternoon, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was asked about lifting the ban on asylum seekers working in the UK.

He said “We currently have no plans to change that arrangement but it is one of the …

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4 December 2018 – today’s press releases

It perhaps tells you all that you need to know about the state of our politics when the Government is found to have acted in contempt of Parliament and yet, hours later, nobody has resigned. But you can guess what’s dominating today…

  • Lib Dems demand urgent action on prisons crisis (already covered here)
  • UK can get out of Brexit mess
  • Moran: Govt is fostering a culture of senseless competition in our schools
  • Cable: Legal advice must be published urgently
  • Parliament wins back control, but people must have their say
  • Cable: Bring country together with a People’s Vote

UK can get out of Brexit mess

Responding to the …

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Devstatingly powerful Commons speech from Margaret Beckett

Last year in the “Article 50 debate” we featured the text of Kenneth Clarke’s Commons speech, because it was so good.

Today, we again highlight a speech from someone in another party. Labour’s Margaret Beckett made a calm but devastatingly powerful speech in the Brexit Commons debate. She lays into Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy, saying:

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3 December 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a busy day, perhaps not a great surprise as the Brexit debate in the Commons reaches its denouement…

  • Cable: Halt “egregious imbalance” of May vs Corbyn Brexit debate
  • Lib Dems back amendment to stop no deal Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Govt have held Parliament in contempt
  • Govt remain clueless on immigration
  • Lib Dem peers defeat Government on civil liberties (see here for our earlier coverage)
  • PM must stop pandering to the Saudi regime
  • Lib Dems lead fight for renters’ rights
  • Govt must publish Brexit legal advice

Cable: Halt “egregious imbalance” of May vs Corbyn Brexit debate

Today Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable has called on the …

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Peoples’ Vote – are we ready?

If there is a Peoples Vote it is not clear that Remain would win. For Remain to be guaranteed to win we would be much higher than 10% in the polls.

Our leaders need to understand what is driving people to support Brexit, and have some answers.

Campaigning in this Brexit Capital of the Midlands (Newcastle under Lyme), the reasons people want Brexit are obvious. Some of the reasons have an element of truth; others are totally false, fuelled by the Brexit Campaign and the tabloid press.

Some of the arguments they put forward that we must provide answers to …

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2 December 2018 – today’s press release

Gove admits final say may go to the people

Responding to comments from Michael Gove that a People’s Vote is possible, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Government has made a Horlicks out of Brexit and now one of its chief architects has admitted that the final say might go back to the people.

Nobody voted for this bad deal.

Michael Gove is right. If Parliament rejects the deal, the Liberal Democrats and many others across the House will demand a People’s Vote with an option to remain in the EU.

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Why Delia could be the People’s Vote campaign’s most potent advocate

Three weeks on Tuesday, I’ll be preparing my family’s Christmas dinner, as I have done for the last three decades, by following the instructions in my battered and splattered copy of Delia Smith’s Christmas. You know, I bought the updated version a few years back, but it’s the old one I always reach for.

In a dark cupboard, as I write, it’s Delia’s Christmas cake that’s slowly maturing, helped along with the occasional injection of brandy, waiting for me to ice it on Christmas Eve.

We’ve started every New Year for decades with her Filet de Boeuf en Croute. In fact there was one year we didn’t and that was a bloody awful one. We won’t be doing that again.

You get my drift. Generations of cooks have grown up to instinctively trust Delia. Her recipes work and they’ve become engrained in many a family’s rituals.

So when she appears on the political programmes telling us that Brexit is a recipe for chaos and we should have a People’s Vote and choose to stay in, with the same passion as she’s enthused us into buying every cranberry or lime in the country in years gone by, we’re going to listen to her.

Here she was on the Andrew Marr Show this morning:

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Are you stressed out by Brexit?

A social media post by a friend of mine, citing Brexit-induced stress for lack of sleep made me realise this week that I feel the same way. Even if I don’t reach for my phone to check the headlines if I wake up in the middle of the night, the impending disaster facing the country is never far from my mind.

Then this morning an email arrives in our inbox telling us about Headspace’s new meditation packs for stressed out British people with one targeted at the almost three quarters of us who cite Brexit as something that is worrying them.

I’m not sure that a few moments’ meditation will help with the worry about what happens to our already crumbling public services if, as every forecast suggests, we will be worse off and we don’t have the people here to work in them.

I guess those of us who want to stay in the EU should be stressed. While the chance to get out of this mess has never been bigger, there’s a pretty tortuous process ahead over the next few weeks to get there. It’s a bit like the three dimensional chess they played on Star Trek: The Next Generation. When is the best time to play the People’s Vote card? In the Times on Friday, Matthew Parris said that Tory MPs should wait until after the deal has been defeated to come out for another vote and definitely shouldn’t do it now:

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  • User AvatarDavid Evans 14th Dec - 1:08am
    David Warren, Indeed you are right. Unfortunately our MPs have a reputation of putting looking after the Conservatives ahead of looking after our Voters and...
  • User AvatarGlenn 13th Dec - 10:53pm
    Frankie Spell my name right and learn what a nuanced response is. The term hardliner refers to someone with unbending beliefs and a refusal to...
  • User Avatarexpats 13th Dec - 10:31pm
    Paul D B 13th Dec '18 - 9:40pm..........People should not be apologists for the Labour Party. They created the free-loading loosely regulated conditions (in parallel...
  • User AvatarSean Hyland 13th Dec - 10:29pm
    Paul D B - note that i was not apologising for Labour. Just saying to correct your initial post that they caused the 2008 crash....
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    David Raw 13th Dec '18 - 9:10pm @ expats. Come on old lad, that Boris is a real hard man who learned his trade in...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 13th Dec - 10:14pm
    @Yeovil Yokel: As Commons Speaker, John Bercow does not currently sit as a Conservative MP, so was not amongst the 317 who had a vote...