Tag Archives: brexit

Jo Swinson on “What’s next?”

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Use the arrows above to see a slide show of today’s People’s Vote march

After today’s historic session in parliament, which has extended PM Johnson’s unblemished record of defeats, Jo Swinson has written to party members with the following summary:

After today’s votes, the fight to stop Brexit continues.

Hundreds of thousands of people are marching outside Parliament, where I’ve just finished voting, to demand a final say.

After today’s votes, Boris Johnson must obey the law and send a letter asking for Article 50 to be extended.

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Norman Lamb: I can’t vote for this deal

Norman Lamb has been part of the MPs for a deal group in Parliament. He has from the start wanted us to agree the least damaging form of Brexit.

This morning he has tweeted a short video to explain that he will not be supporting this deal.

I think it is important to acknowledge how hard this will have been for him and to reflect on what he has said about the abuse he has received. We are better than this. Watch here.

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The last time the House of Commons sat on a Saturday

I remember the last time the House of Commons sat on a Saturday. It was in the immediate aftermath of Argentina invading the British Falkland Islands. The British Government had pretty much neglected the islands and their inhabitants, who didn’t want to find themselves under Argentinian rule.

I was 14 years old.

I spent the 1982 Easter holidays decorating my bedroom under instruction from my Mum with the new radio station Moray Firth Radio playing in the background. On the hourly news programmes, syndicated from Independent Radio News, Anna Soubry gave us up to the minute accounts of what was happening 8000 …

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The one thing about this Brexit deal that everyone should know

Basically it is being sold to the ERG as staking the ground for no deal in a year’s time.

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Daisy Cooper on why Boris Johnson’s deal is so bad for our country

I first met Daisy Cooper when we both had tea with Tim Farron in Portcullis House as newbie Federal Executive members at the end of 2012.

She is someone who has no problem with speaking truth to power and she quickly became a very trusted colleague.

I hope very much that we’ll have her as the MP for St Albans after the next election. She has put in so much work. She reminds me of Jo Swinson when she was campaigning to win East Dunbartonshire in 2005.

Today, she put a brilliant analysis of why Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is so bad on her Facebook page. With her permission, here it is. Share widely.

The PM’s so-called ‘deal’ is an attempt to pull the wool over peoples eyes and deliver a hard no-deal BREXIT by the back door. Worse still, it deletes the UK’s commitment to workers rights and environmental standards, which Johnson’s Conservative would happily trash. Here are three important facts:

1. Voting for Johnson’s deal is voting for No Deal in a year’s time. With no backstop (which ensured a soft Brexit), if Tories fail to get a hard Brexit Free Trade Agreement, it’s no deal at the end of 2020, as ERG will never vote for the transition to be extended.

2. Johnson’s Deal is bad for workers’ rights and the environment. The commitment to a “level playing field” by adopting these EU standards has BEEN DELETED from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement and now appears only in the aspirational Political Declaration.

3. Otherwise the deal still has all the flaws of Theresa May’s Deal. It introduces red tape bureaucracy as the UK will have to collect tariffs for the EU (derided by Johnson himself a year ago as a “crazy system”). It puts a border down the Irish Sea. It hastens the break-down of the Union and the UK (with Scotland already saying it wants the same advantages as NI, which will be subjected to an emulated customs union & single market arrangement). And it will open the door to smuggling, which will fund criminality and dissident activity. Northern Ireland is so divided it’s assembly isn’t even sitting at the moment – now it will have to uphold an international treaty and, whether it likes it or not, will have to hold “border polls” (referenda) every few years, and/but not until 2025.

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17 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people
  • Record high knife crime offences shows Tories failure to act
  • Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people

Welsh Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people

Commenting on reports that a deal has been agreed between the EU and the UK Government, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds, said:

It is remarkably clear that Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

His deal will create a hard border down the Irish Sea, hurting Welsh farmers

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Jo: The fight to stop Brexit is far from over

So Boris Johnson has struck an eleventh hour deal which he intends to put to Parliament as hundreds of thousands of marchers take to the street demanding a People’s Vote.  The Lib Dems will be meeting at the Duke of Wellington Arch in Hyde Park at 11 am.

Jo’s reaction was pretty clear. We continue to fight to stop Brexit:

The fight to stop Brexit is far from over.

Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

The next few days will set the direction of our country for generations, and I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit.

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Brexit: the penny drops as Sir Humphrey is wheeled in amidst the “whiff of sexism”

Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK ambassador to the EU, had to have an uncomfortable conversation with the then Prime Minister, Theresa May in 2016. He told her:

…you have made three commitments in good faith to different audiences, but they are not really compatible with each other.

You have said to the Irish, under no circumstances will a hard border be erected across the island of Ireland.

You have said to the Democratic Unionist community under no circumstances will there be divergence from the rest of Great Britain.

And you have said to the right of your own party that you are heading out of the customs union.

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15 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Car firm job losses show Johnson’s disregard for British business
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Poll shows we are now third party for Westminster
  • Lib Dems call for urgent action to tackle rising hate crimes
  • Lib Dems table People’s Vote amendment to Queen’s speech

Car firm job losses show Johnson’s disregard for British business

Responding to the reports that one in three car firms are cutting jobs, Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

It is time Boris Johnson woke up to the fact that the manufacturing sector, and the automotive industries in particular, are suffering badly from Brexit-related uncertainty. Jobs are being lost, investment is down

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Johnson’s Proposed Brexit Deal: Chances and likely Impact on UK economy and public finances

Whist there is history of EU negotiations going to the wire and wee-hours of coffee-fuelled (now smokeless) last minute give-and-take, these events tend to be about intra EU matters such as the EU budget or the “musical chairs” argy-bargy of who agreeing who and which country gets which plum jobs within the European institutions. 

Can a modified deal therefore be agreed between the Johnson government and the Commission in time to put forward to the European Council on October 17-18? 

On a range of probabilities, yes, but it is a low-probability one. But it would essentially require the PM to essentially converge – if not fully cave in – to the EU demands.  The chances that the required sequence of steps: agreement, Council blessing, agreement by UK parliament (inc DUP and ERG), and before askance from the other EU27 plus the European Parliament can all be addressed remains unlikely. 

The baseline remains that there will be no FULL agreement in place although the PM could then go to the electorate with a partial agreement that allows him to argue that he has “delivered” pre October 31st  even if the Benn Act kicks in for an extension (which as I have argued could go on to June 2020).

Johnson v May Deal Basics

  • The Johnson deal is to effectively agree that Northern Ireland will continue to, in effect, remain in the status quo governed by EU rules for all goods AND with no border checks with the Republic of Ireland
  • The UK will want to exit from compliance with EU rules on labour and environmental standards where previously there was to be no divergence from EU law
  • The J-deal seeks full flexibility for free-trade deals with 3rd countries where previously it was for services only AND
  • A Good-only EU-UK trade deal akin or “Canada minus”

Implications

  1. Not completely addressed so far but Northern Ireland would in effect become something between the Isle of Man and a full Home Nation and may well set in train the move towards full Irish unification. Leaving aside parliamentary arithmetic and the DUP, put to a referendum, voters in Northern Ireland would likely agree to this.
  2. Both the Johnson and May deals represent a worse outcome economically for the UK vis-à-vis the REMAIN position. 
  3. Modelling undertaken by Professors Menon and Portes (and excluding spillover effects such as a more brutal potential Scottish Independence) have shown that living standards – as measured by per capita incomes –  would decline more under the Johnson deal than under May’s…and both are worse than the current status quo of REMAIN.
  4. That there would be an ouflow of EU workers by up to 600,000 over the coming years partly compensated by an inflow of non-EU workers – with the result of labour shortages in key sectors inc NHS, falling productivity 
  5. No fiscal savings from exiting (aka the £350m per week fallacy) because the UK would have to set up its own agencies where currently the work is delegated to EU bodies, raise its own aid financing currently carried out by the EU and lose access to funds returned through Structural funds and grants for R&D and education
  6. And A WORSENING short-term fiscal scenario relative to REMAIN: around 2% of GDP worse off or equivalent to between £40-60bn.
  7. Beyond the macro-fiscal, there should be alarm bells ringing at the implied roll-back of structural reforms (Competition Policy, State Aid, Consumer Rights, Labour rights et al). The current Johnson deal is arguably even worse from a macroeconomic context and potentially imply a roll-back of a basic framework of labour and consumer rights not seen for generations

Summary

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We must put the case for Remain and do it repeatedly in the public domain

I sent our local newspaper a letter giving ten points for Remain; they published it on 1st October with the heading “Ten reasons for us to have a new vote”. That is because I prefaced it by saying “Let me express my joy should there be a public vote to remain.” My reasons were affected by my responding to Brexiteers’ previous letters expressing joy at leaving. I am showing this here because I think we need to be saying much more of this. So many people are unfortunately no longer interested in what goes on in Parliament but their reaction …

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Are you marching with the Lib Dems to stop Brexit next Saturday?

Next Saturday, as Parliament sits for the first time on a Saturday in 37 years to try and sort the Brexit mess, a massive People’s Vote march will be taking place. MPs will be able to hear the end of the rally in Parliament Square.

The Lib Dems will be marching in support of a People’s Vote with the very clear aim to stop Brexit.

We will be meeting at 11 am at the Duke of Wellington Memorial Statue at Hyde Park Corner.

In October last year, I made the 800 miles

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Why revoke!

Revoke and put a stop to itIn an ideal world a referendum result would be annulled by a subsequent referendum, the symmetry is undeniable. This is why it has been and is Liberal Democrat policy to support a referendum in which the electorate can choose between a realistic Brexit agreement and revoking Article 50 to remain in the EU. Unfortunately. there is little chance this can happen for the simple reason that there is no Brexit agreement that Brexiters agree upon, nor anything they are likely to agree upon. Nonetheless if Johnson and his inner circle settle on a particular Brexit, it should be put to the electorate.

Three years on from the referendum Brexiters have manifestly failed to find a plan to implement the result. Instead Brexiters have boxed themselves in.  Mrs May. seemingly ignorant of the difference between the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and with a nasty, obsessive fixation about immigrants, issued senseless red lines and quickly sunk herself into a hole. She vainly endeavoured to pander to the most fanatical Europhobes for whom she, nor anyone else, could ever be anti-EU enough.

This failure was unsurprising, the surprise is that anyone might have thought it possible to find agreement between Brexiters who dreamt of an unregulated global free market and Brexiters who dreamt of closed borders and protectionist policies.

May threw away a Conservative majority and Johnson’s purge of the moderates has rendered his putsch incapable of governing. An election beckons, but that too is in the hands of the opposition. 

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10 October 2019 – today’s press release

Govt threats to deport EU citizens are appalling – Jardine

Responding to comments by Branden Lewis that EU citizens living in the UK could face deportation, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:

I am absolutely appalled. I have just been at a school where a Hungarian-born pupil told me she was scared about Brexit, and now I learn that the Conservative Government is threatening to deport people like her.

Brandon Lewis has finally confirmed what we’ve known all along: Boris Johnson has no intention of keeping his promise to automatically guarantee the rights of EU citizens living

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The EU logic for an extension through to the summer of 2020 and implications for the UK

In a nutshell, the 7-year EU Financial Framework runs 2014-2020. More straightforward for the management of the EU budget for the European Commission and a neat end-point. Or is it?

The noise out of number 10 to be un-cooperative to our continental partners may prove to be temporary bellicose “humbug” to use the PM’s own recent rhetoric – not least if the UK’s common interest in avoiding further regional turbulence in the Levant: military, economic – should US President Trump’s threats to destroy the Turkish economy bear fruit, further potential conflagration into an already fragile middle east that could lead to further issues of migrants that Turkey itself has been in effect paid by the EU to keep in situ through the ‘EU-Turkey refugee agreement’ through a €6bn pledge of which half has already been disbursed.

From the EU’s perspective therefore, there is no other major big EU-wide decisions in the offing for another year that Britain could threaten to either derail or upon which to simply do a spoiler akin to Farage’s MEPs turning their backs in the European Parliament. For EU capitals and the new incoming Commission and European Parliament a year offers enough time for the UK to go through the political catharsis: post October 31st “do or die” deadline gone, an election, perhaps a referendum, who knows maybe yet another election still, a possible Scottish referendum..

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LibLink: Luisa Porritt MEP: Britain’s Democracy Gap

In an article for Politico, Deputy Leader of Britain’s Lib Dem MEPs Luisa Porritt argues that the behaviour of the British Government is damaging democracy in this country.

A British government that is threatening to march the country out of the European Union because it claims its institutions are “undemocratic” shut down its own country’s parliament last month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson uses incendiary language and accuses those who disagree with his Brexit policy of “terrible collaboration” with the EU.

Britain today is increasingly out of step with the basic principles of democracy it once would have championed.

The Brexiteers, ironically, decry the EU as undemocratic. That’s simply not true:

Compare that with what’s happening in Brussels. While my British parliamentary colleagues were shut out of their chamber against their will, members of the European Parliament have been pressing on with urgent issues.

The European Parliament is scrutinizing the incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s new team and has taken a strong stand against nominees with potential conflicts of interest. MEPs have also set an ambitious agenda to tackle the climate emergency and ensure that the EU’s member states uphold the rule of law — something our own government needs reminding of.

How far, she notes, we have fallen:

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9 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • New figures show 2.7 million EU citizens without Settled Status
  • Swinson: Millions in Britain value our place in the EU

New figures show 2.7 million EU citizens without Settled Status

The Liberal Democrats have warned that the Government is failing to guarantee the rights of all 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK, as new official figures show that fewer than 1 million people had been given Settled Status by the end of September.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme Statistics, published today by the Home Office, show that 929,600 people had been granted Settled Status by the end of September 2019 – meaning …

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8 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: Brexit would mortgage our children’s future
  • Jane Dodds Calls for Pledge to Maintain Last-in-Town Banks
  • Blame for the Brexit mess sits with the Tory Govt

Davey: Brexit would mortgage our children’s future

Following reports from the IFS that a no-deal Brexit will push UK debt to the highest levels since the 1960s, Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

This new analysis is a body blow to Boris Johnson’s election spending plans – as it shows the cost of Brexit is much higher than thought.

Brexit would mortgage our children’s future, plunging Britain into the red and threatening years of new austerity.

There is simply no

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PREVIEW: Luisa Porritt MEP’s Brexit Reality film

London LIb Dem MEP Luisa Porritt has made a film about the reality of Brexit and how it affects the NHS. It’ll be out later this week.

Here’s a preview:

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The Government’s Brexit plan is dangerous for Ireland

The wheeze the Johnson government has come up with to salvage the “complete UK exit from the EU Customs Union”, having customs controls on companies’ premises, may look clever.  But in a Northern Ireland with every so often bomb and mortar attacks by dissident, extremist Republican outfits like the “Continuity IRA {CIRA}” and/or “Real IRA {RIRA}”on policemen doing their job (or standing at a petrol station in a street), it carries obvious and serious risks, dangers. 

And trying to reconvene the Northern Ireland Assembly, where DUP and Sinn Féin deeply distrust each other about things like green energy projects and use of the Irish language, to have them decide by any procedure about starting, continuing or stopping Johnson’s border policies, where Republicans suspect the DUP could get an advantage or veto, only increases the provocation to dissident Republicans; and could increase their support base.

The first and obvious danger is that, as the Real IRA has already attacked the homes and cars of Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers (as happened on 21 February 2017 so the homes and vehicles of HMCE officers also could be attacked. And that also increases the risk that neighbours and shops near such homes get hurt, are damaged; even more homes and shops are at risk as a result.

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Heidi Allen: I joined the Lib Dems to stop Brexit, heal the rifts and rebuild the UK

A very big welcome to Heidi Allen, our 19th MP.

Over on the Lib Dem website, she has written about why she took the decision to join, saying that Jo Swinson’s party was the only one in Britain offering to stop Brexit, heal the rifts in society and stop Brexit.

When I became an MP in 2015, I could never have imagined we would find ourselves in this position. Through the prudent and practical decisions taken during the coalition years, the economy was recovering and our country was on the up.

Coming from business, joining the Conservative Party seemed the logical thing to do. But two general elections and an EU referendum later, the landscape has shifted beyond all recognition.

In February 2019, I resigned from the Conservatives to sit as an Independent MP, because I recognised the Party had drifted irreversibly to the right and was more concerned with its own survival than the national interest.

The party had become utterly unrecognisable, uncompassionate and willing to wreck the economy and peace in Ireland by not just contemplating, but actively courting a No Deal Brexit.

The European Elections in May 2019 highlighted the need for MPs to work together in the national interest, putting aside party interests. Voters were crying out for a Remain Alliance to offer an alternative to the future portrayed by Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

Believing that if you get the right people around a table anything is possible, I have always been comfortable with cross party working. So through the Summer and into the Autumn, as an independent broker, I have worked with the Liberal Democrats, Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the Independents to build that Remain Alliance across England and Wales through the organisation I formed, Unite to Remain

Confident that good progress has now been made on building that Remain Alliance, I recognise that as with most things in life, I am stronger and more effective when I am part of a team.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know that the best way to serve my constituents and country is to join the Liberal Democrats.

Now is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder with, not just alongside, those I have collaborated and found shared values with.

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Lord William Wallace writes… Brexit endgame?

This feels like the endgame for Brexit – and quite possibly for Boris Johnson. Briefings in Sunday papers on how the prime minister will refuse to resign when Parliament next votes him down – remember, he hasn’t won a single vote yet – to force the Queen to dissolve Parliament and let him fight an election on the ‘betrayal’ of Brexit suggest that he doesn’t expect the latest negotiations to succeed, and doesn’t know how to evade the terms of the Benn ‘Surrender’ Act.

The tactical judgement of Johnson’s advisers is that they can win an election on these terms, …

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4 October 2019 – today’s press release

Commonwealth Games organisers fears over Brexit impact revealed by Lib Dems

For the first time the Commonwealth Games organisers deepest fears about the impact of Brexit have been laid bare as a result of a Liberal Democrat investigation.

The Games’ organisers state that there is a risk that the UK’s EU Exit will negatively affect Games deliverables, by changes to Government policy, economic impacts across markets and industries. This could result in potential workforce attrition and cost inflation. They count this risk as the highest possible, 20 out of 20.

In another document, marked ‘sensitive’ from February, the organisers in a meeting …

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3 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds: Politicians must right WASPI Injustice
  • Jane Dodds: Irish border plan designed to fail

Jane Dodds: Politicians must right WASPI Injustice

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has responded to the WASPI campaign’s defeat in the High Court, claiming it is the responsibility of politicians to right the injustice suffered by WASPI Women.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MP commented:

This ruling will undoubtedly be disappointing for all those women affected. Women who have campaigned tirelessly to reverse the unfair change to their pensions. My thoughts are with all these women today.

This ruling must remind us politicians that it is our responsibility to

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2 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds: Mid Wales Growth Deal funding insulting
  • Swinson: ‘Getting Brexit done’ puts lives and jobs at risk
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s plans to create two borders ‘ludicrous’

Jane Dodds: Mid Wales Growth Deal funding insulting

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Jane Dodds has called the UK Government’s £55m funding for the Mid Wales Growth Deal insulting.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns used his speech to Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to announce £55m of funding for the Mid Wales Growth Deal over 15 years.

The UK Government are contributing £500m to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and £241m …

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Is this why many “leavers” are against a People’s Vote?

The latest polls on a third referendum:

Jacob Rees-Mogg was recently asked by an LBC listener:

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Jo Swinson on Johnson’s speech: ‘Beneath the bluff & bluster, he’s determined to crash us out of the EU’

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Commenting on PM Johnson’s Manchester speech today, Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson said:

When you strip away the bluff and bluster, this was a speech by a Prime Minister who is determined to crash us out of the EU without a deal.

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Johnson has deeply split the Tory party – on an historic level

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It is worth standing back and pausing to consider how remarkable the historic split in the Tory party has been under PM Johnson is just a few weeks.

“One Nation” Tories have been the backbone of the Conservative party for a couple of centuries. But now they have been cast out of the party.

This extraordinary split can be seen in the words of two “One Nation” Tories who now sit in Parliament as independents.

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Sam Gyimah MP writes… Distorting reality is no way to run a country


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Steve Jobs, the legendary founder of Apple was often described as using a ‘reality distortion field’ to convince himself and others to believe almost anything. Employing the techniques of bravado, hyperbole and sheer persistence, he could make an impossible task seem possible.

Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s Chief strategist – a known fan of tech titans such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk – seems to want to employ these techniques in pursuit of Brexit at any price and to crush the hopes of Remainers.

The Government’s multi-million pound advertising campaign telling us all to ‘Get Ready For Brexit’ on October the 31st is designed to subliminally suggest to the voters that this is the only option open to us. Everything we know points towards the fact that there is no orderly way to leave the EU by that date. Despite this, the Government’s social media, radio and TV adverts are running every day, as if in total denial of reality.

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Where we are – Lib Dem morning briefing

The Lib Dem press office has provided an excellent summary of where we are this morning, together with the agenda for Parliament today:

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