Tag Archives: brexit

9 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Labour are still a party of Brexit
  • Prisons inspector reveals Tory neglect
  • Northern Ireland votes mark historic step towards equality
  • Cable: We must continue the fight to stop no deal

Labour are still a party of Brexit

Responding to the reports that Jeremy Corbyn has finally agreed that the next PM must put their Brexit deal or a no deal exit to a People’s Vote, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Labour are still a party of Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn can pretend all he likes that the Labour Party are finally moving towards backing the Liberal Democrat policy of a People’s Vote, but it is clear

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

8 July 2019 – today’s press releases

Two today, with two more embargoed until after midnight (we’ll publish them in the morning)…

Labour heads towards another Brexit fudge

Responding to the latest potential shift in Labour Brexit policy, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The unions seem to have moved to a position to support Liberal Democrat policy to stop a Tory Brexit. However, a Labour Brexit would be no better. Labour must rule out their Brexit-supporting leader negotiating their own Brexit deal.

Liberal Democrats have been clear for three years on our policy for Brexit. We will keep fighting to stop Brexit.

Even now, after millions of remainers have deserted

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

6-7 July 2019 – the weekend’s press release

McDonnell guilty of incredible hypocrisy

Commenting on John McDonnell’s appearance on the Andrew Marr show, Liberal Democrat Treasury and Business spokesperson Chuka Umunna said:

John McDonnell has displayed incredible hypocrisy pretending to be pro-Remain. Not only has he campaigned for decades to leave the EU, as recently as last year he argued that Remain should not be on the ballot in a People’s Vote.

The Labour leadership have let down Remainers again and again and can’t be trusted to campaign unequivocally to stay in the EU. Labour policy is still to facilitate Brexit and prioritise their alternative Brexit deal.

People can

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 28 Comments

4 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Govt must tackle obesity crisis to save lives
  • Lib Dems: Increase in SEND pupils will squeeze school budgets further
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Wales now a remain nation
  • Lib Dems: Overstretched school budgets are putting our children’s health at risk

Lib Dems: Govt must tackle obesity crisis to save lives

Responding to Cancer Research UK reporting that obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers in the UK than smoking, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

The reports that many cancers are more likely being caused by being overweight than smoking shows the need for Government to step up plans to tackle

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Chuka calls out Ann Widdecombe’s slavery comments

When I was 8 years old, I watched the tv series Roots. I was horrified at its depiction of slavery and it sparked in me a lifelong commitment to human rights, fairness, freedom and equality. The principle of one human being owning another was bad enough, but the brutality with which the slaves were treated shocked me to the core.

So when Ann Widdecombe came out with her nonsense comparing Brexit to slaves attaining their freedom, I was angry. How dare she attack an institution that is so committed to peace, democracy and human rights?

Chuka Umunna took her to task:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 13 Comments

3 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems demand new committee to assess no-deal damage
  • Lamb criticises whistleblower protections as “fundamentally inadequate”
  • Lib Dems produce bill to stop Govt’s publicity stunt approach to plastics
  • Lib Dems: Govt must tackle obesity crisis to save lives

Lib Dems demand new committee to assess no-deal damage

Today, the Liberal Democrats with a cross-party group in the House of Lords will attempt to create a a joint parliamentary committee of MPs and Peers to consider the impact of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement on 31 October 2019.

The motion not only calls for the creation of the joint committee, but that they …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

How able is “negotiator” Hunt as compared to Johnson?

The Tory leadership campaign of Jeremy Hunt is, according to himself and many supporting MPs in the media, based upon the premise that Hunt will be (far) more trusted and more easily welcomed at EU negotiating tables than Johnson. They say this is the case because the European players (national ministers, EU negotiators like Barnier) have come to know him as sitting Foreign Secretary, and that they would trust him more than Boris (who they also know from his accident-prone Brexit spell at the Foreign Office).

Hunt also insists he has experience as an entrepreneur, including negotiating deals, which Johnson lacks because he was a journalist, not a businessman, between his public school/Oxbridge education and his political career.

But right at the start of his term as Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt made a massive negotiating gaffe while trying to use his personal background to curry favour with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

At the start of his business career, Hunt had learned Japanese to be able to work as an English language teacher in Japan in the late 1980s; and minister Wang Yi studied Japanese and was a former ambassador in Japan (2004-07). As a minister in Cameron’s shadow cabinet, Hunt in 2008 met and married his Chinese wife, Lucia Guo. As the new Foreign Secretary negotiating in Beijing in July 2018, Hunt and Wang Yi had been speaking in Japanese, when Hunt, switching to English, made his gaffe when he talked about his wife and her parentage. According to the BBC, Hunt said “My wife is Japanese – my wife is Chinese. Sorry, that’s a terrible mistake to make.” The company at the table politely laughed it off, and Hunt went on to say that he and his wife had close ties with his in-laws still living in the Chinese city Xi’an.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

1 July 2019 – today’s press releases

‘No-deal war chest’ shows Hunt lost all sense of reality

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s proposed ‘£6 billion war chest’ to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Jeremy Hunt’s ‘no-deal war chest’ is no more based in fact than the mythical promises that were made during the referendum. £6 billion is nowhere near enough to protect the people of Britain from a no-deal Brexit.

Jeremy Hunt keeps promising that he will mitigate the effects of no-deal on British business, but what he could do is just not throw our economy under the bus in the first place.

It is

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

26 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Giving revenge porn victims anonymity is long overdue

Responding to reports that the Government is considering granting anonymity to victims of revenge porn in prosecutions as part of a review of image-based sexual abuse laws, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

Revenge porn is a despicable form of abuse. Guaranteeing anonymity for victims is a change that is long overdue.

The Liberal Democrats led the fight to outlaw revenge porn in 2015, but prosecutions are still far too low.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats tabled legislation to extend anonymity to victims back in 2016, but the Conservatives

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Escape from Brexit

When I asked my son why he had voted Leave, he replied “because the country must be independent and stand on its own two feet”. My son is severely handicapped and the concept of independence is especially important to him. That’s fair enough, but independence is important to everybody, which is why it was so powerful an idea driving Brexit. “Independence day!” was Boris Johnson’s joyous cry as the referendum result was announced, and it resonated with many people.

Independence is fundamental to all of us, inbuilt into our lives from the moment we are born and our bodies must start to fend for themselves. We grow up knowing we must leave the bosom of the family and make our way in the world. We welcome this change because it means freedom.

Britain broke away from its mother continent eons ago, giving its inhabitants freedom to shape their own culture and customs, in which we rightly take pride. America likewise broke free from Britain at the Boston Tea Party, to become a free and independent nation, and in both cases relations between the mother nation and its offspring have remained friendly; particularly so in the case of America, rather more ambivalently in the case of Europe. But then Brexit arrived.

Brexit arose as the culmination of an intense, prolonged and ferocious propaganda campaign against the European Union by Britain’s right wing press.  They painted Europe as the enemy, with vivid metaphors of “throwing off the shackles” and severing the tentacles of an evil oppressive force, often harking back to the Second World War. Brexit would be the Great Escape, not from Stalag Luft lll, but from its modern equivalent, Brussels. Who would not thrill to the glorious saga of the British people claiming independence? Certainly the cohort of elderly Tories now electing the next Prime Minister, though some of them are still fighting the First World War.

At the most recent meeting of my campaign group, Stratford for Europe, I was asked for my suggestions on new initiatives we could pursue. Jokingly I proposed we establish an escape committee, dedicated to getting individuals out of Brexit Britain, along a lifeline that would take them to new opportunities in the free world.

In that idea, ridiculous though it was, there lies a certain truth. As the gloss falls off the promise of sunlit uplands awaiting us, an appreciation may develop of the rights and freedoms we are about to lose. The next referendum, when it comes, will be inspired by the freedom to live, love and work in 27 other countries, not the freedom to be bullied by President Trump. Far from buccaneering merrily round the globe, we may find ourselves confined to an Alcatraz Britain marooned off the coast of a Europe that regards us with pity. 

Posted in Op-eds | 35 Comments

Bungling Boris and his baffling Brexit bravado

Likely next PM, Boris Johnson, now has the unenviable task of facing disgruntled Tory party members at hustings across the UK. Worse, he has to do this side-by-side with the bland Jeremy Hunt.

Boris is surely aware that these disgruntled souls feel that way because, after 40 years of anti-EU and anti-immigrant campaigning by the far-right UK press, they were then promised (and voted for) a painless easy Brexit, and a grovelling EU. Once Brexit is implemented, the UK can then go about kicking out various foreigners, as they have been led to believe. Britain as a Great Power, they believe, would be able to trade with the EU on the same easy terms as now, and on better terms with the rest of the world … whilst ending free movement in the EU and severing all links with the European Court of Justice and its supposed terrorist-loving human rights regime.

The last three years has inevitably dented such ‘true faith’ beliefs as reality has set in. However the Tory members being faced by Boris in the coming weeks have been desperate to find a saviour who can restore their faith, and preserve their whole weltanschauung. Boris has found a very willing audience indeed for the view that the stalemate of the last three years is not due to inflated expectations at all. No. They are merely due to Theresa May, Olly Robbins and Mark Sedwill being weak negotiators. These Tories desperately want to believe in Boris and believe that all the promises can be kept and their patriotic beliefs kept intact.

Thus Boris has to give them what they want, and he has made it his raison d’etre. His audience must have hope to cling on to. Boris, though vague so far, does have a discernible plan for them to lap up. It will probably be presented to Tories like this.

He will say that Article XXIV of the GATT and Article V of the GATS (WTO conditions of membership) allow the UK to declare that after Oct 31st  they are ‘in the process’ of negotiating a new trade agreement and thus the EU is allowed to give the UK special treatment and continue the current tariff & regulatory regime as an interim agreement, giving the UK 10 years to negotiate a permanent deal. He will say that the EU will be forced to agree to this interim agreement, and allow the UK to exclude free movement and ECJ jurisdiction from it, because if they don’t accept all this, the UK will refuse to pay the £39bn EU exit fee.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Free movement: UK arrivals and departures

In an increasingly interdependent world UK public policy should acknowledge international mobility and diversity as a permanent social trend

Many people who’ve lived in Britain all their lives dream of winning the National Lottery and being able to move away to some sun-kissed paradise overseas.  Brits routinely holiday abroad and migration, whether short-term or long-term, is common.  

Most of us, however, continue to live in a country where we can enjoy beautiful countryside and coastline, historic buildings, a varied arts and culture scene, and a tradition of volunteering and community support groups. The population of the UK is generally tolerant and easy-going, happy to share these good things with people from other countries. That said, the media keeps telling us that since Brexit there has been growing xenophobia and resentment towards foreign nationals in Britain.

Yet in spite of social and political reserve in some quarters towards foreigners, many people do want to come and live here.  The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) notes that in the year ending June 2017 immigration to the UK was 572,000 (down 80,000 since June 2016) and emigration was 342,000 (up 26,000). To quote the report: “overall, more people are still coming to live in the UK than are leaving and therefore net migration is adding to the UK population.”  

So, what really attracts them to the UK?

In their recent study, Buying into Myths: Free Movement of People and Immigration 2016, Eiko Thielemann and Daniel Schade have suggested that migration flows between EU countries including Britain have been largely the result of high levels of unemployment in southern Europe and poor labour market conditions in Eastern European countries. Unemployment rates in the UK have been low compared to such countries. And when you don’t have work, one obvious option is to move somewhere else to look for a job.

Vasileva first came to Britain from her native Bulgaria in June 2008 She’s now  forty-something-years-old, is raising a family, and has lived in York for almost ten years. She has a permanent job as an office manager with an international training company. Vasileva says she enjoys the cosmopolitan feel of this country, the chance to share meals and conversation with people from all over the world. She loves the sense of community and support, and “people realising the value of these things.”

Something that native monolingual Brits find incredibly hard to understand is that many people come to study, live and work here simply because they know that the best way to learn a language is to come to the country where it is spoken. There is a global hunger for learning English, and with this there is often a natural curiosity to learn about the culture that lies behind the language. Take Céline, for instance. She’s a 32-year-old French teacher who has also lived in the north of England for just under ten years. “I love speaking English every day, and sharing my passion for languages with my students and the children in school.” She loves the kindness she has experienced here as well as the British sense of humour. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Remembering the liberty message among the Brexit madness

The Liberal Democrat result in the European Elections has shown that the #BollocksToBrexit message has finally got through.  But my twitter feed in the last couple of days makes me think that our position on civil liberties is also very relevant to the chaos around Brexit and all that this stirs up for people.

Recently there was an article in the Telegraph  about secret talks between some Tory donors and Nigel Farage with a view to a pact to avoid Tory Brexiteer and Brexit Party candidates standing against each other. 

My twitter feed had a string of comments from people alarmed at this. The sharpest I saw was from @bulshdetector  on 16 June: 

 

This is a different time and the parallels between now and then shouldn’t be drawn too closely, but the anxiety is real and should be engaged with.

Christina Wieland’s majesterial book The fascist state of mind and the manufacturing of masculinity gives a perceptive account of how people’s real anxieties left them prey to strong-sounding leaders in Germany and Italy in the 1930s. Earlier this year, the Hansard Society’s 2019 Audit of Political Engagement showed 54% of Britons in favour of a “strong leader who would break the rules”. It’s tempting to read the show of machismo in the Tory leadership contest as a competition to take up that role — in eliminating Rory Stewart they removed the voice calling this out.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

With Tories deaf to Rory, and Corbyn rehashing Wilson, the Lib Dems should flourish even more

According to last night’s Newsnight, and Heather Stewart in the Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn told a very fractious shadow cabinet meeting that he was reading Harold Wilson’s memoirs as inspiration. Shadow ministers saw that as a signal that Corbyn, like Wilson, “is not ready to become a cheerleader” for EU membership. 

According to  those memoirs, published in  1986,  end in 1964, the year he became PM and  started grappling with the possibility of EEC accession which he asked for after vastly improving his government majority in 1966). 

In their book “Post-War Britain, 1945-1992” (Penguin Books, 1993), professors Sked & Cook tell us that Wilson as shadow Foreign Affairs spokesman  was “unenthusiastic” about the EEC and was “characteristically (..) content to follow rather than to lead”. Wilson wrote in 1962 that “a dying government doesn’t have the right (..) to take a divided nation into” the EEC.”

Andrew Marr (“A History of Modern Britain”; Pan/Macmillan, 2009, p. 295) writes about Wilsons opinion on the EEC in 1965: “the strongest view” he had about joining the EEC “was that he didn’t have a view”. And Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Wilson ) and Marr say Wilson never had a holiday on the continent; whereas his Tory successor Ted Heath had oodles of continental travels and ditto political conversations from the 1930’s onward (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Heath ; and Marr, p. 295, 327). And Marr writes that Wilsons contribution to the 1975 EEC referendum was mumbling “vaguely in support, rather than actively making the European case” (p. 348).

You can see many similarities with Corbyn; the only difference is he never wrote that the dying May/Johnson government doesn’t have the right to push the divided UK out of the EU.

So we cannot possibly, ever expect any strong Remain endorsement from Wilsonite Corbyn.

On the other side we have Farage’s raging Brexit Party, and a field of four Tory leadership candidates with unicornish ideas of blackmailing, cajoling the EU (with threats of No Deal and no Severance payments) into a “good deal”. The only voice of reason and realism about that, Rory Stewart, stayed in as long as he was useful to push Raab out, and then was left dangling.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Rory Stewart: you were honest with the Tory Party about Brexit, now it’s time you were honest with yourself

Dear Rory, 

As the only person standing for the leadership of the Tory Party (“Conservative” must now surely be considered an oxymoron) who recognises how much damage Brexit will cause our country, I was saddened to see you knocked out of the contest yesterday. 

I will not go as far as saying I would vote for you; fundamentally I only vote for people who will stop Brexit and address the real problems in this country through root and branch reform of our own broken political system. However, I did very much respect your open and honest approach with Brexit supporters and the clear way in which you explained the fundamental problems that are yet to be addressed by this failing government.

Sadly your Party appears to have chosen to “believe in the bin” and are duly committing themselves to the trashcan of history. 

However, although I admire the honesty of your campaign, I also think you have been naïve. Although, you have recognised and communicated the problems of ‘no deal’ Brexit, the only solution you were able to offer was to ratify May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Like many others, I don’t see the DUP, Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Lib Dems, Greens or ERG suddenly shifting position because of a People’s Assembly. However, even if you managed to get the deal through Parliament and avert ‘no deal’ in October, I believe this would only be a very short-lived stay of execution. Any such agreement would become the new rallying point of the Faragists and we would just face another battle to try to save a weaker agreement in which we are already relegated to being a rule-taker.

Fundamentally, I believe this is an attempt to appease the unappeasable. Such efforts actually only serve to undermine our work to crystallise support for a People’s Vote and rally opposition against the media-dominant isolationist agenda. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Press release: Cross-party legal claim against Met Police for stalling on Leave campaign investigations

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has joined a cross-party group of MPs in taking crowdfunded legal action against the Metropolitan Police in regards to electoral offences committed during the June 2016 EU referendum.

Following revelations by whistleblowers, the Electoral Commission found three individuals and three campaign groups had committed electoral offences for which the highest fines permitted by statute were imposed.

In line with its Enforcement Policy, the Electoral Commission referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police Service. In September of last year, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it had received over 2,000 documents and a full explanation from the Electoral Commission on the offences that had been committed.

The Metropolitan Police have been in possession of this information for over 11 months. To date, no decision has been reached as to whether any of these individuals and organisations should be charged.

Tom Brake MP said:

The public are entitled to know without delay the extent of any criminal law-breaking that took place in the run-up, during and after the EU Referendum campaign. Foot-dragging is not an option for the police when investigating claimsrelating to the integrity of our democracy.

The Electoral Commission report can be found here. The group of MPs include Ben Bradshaw MP, Tom Brake MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jenny Jones of Mouslecoomb, and ex-MP Fiona Mactaggart.

The group has instructed Bindmans LLP and have a legal team, led by Saimo Chahal QC (Hon). The legal team has drafted a letter before claim, which they are today sending to the Metropolitan Police challenging their delay in investigation and seeking an explanation as to their failure to reach a charging decision.

The crowdfunding page can be found here.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Does German History Hold the Answer to Our Current Brexit Impasse?

Britain is still a world power with significant international obligations and a major player on the European scene – irrespective of whether she considers herself part of it or not. A clarification of how “European” Great Britain considers itself would be paramount for future relations with her neighbours. The British are often confused as to whether they are geographically part of Europe or not.

A possible way out could be found when one looks at the scenario in post-war Germany in 1948/49. Germany in its bid for world power status had been decisively defeated, its territory reduced, divided and destroyed. The three Western Allies decided to combine the three military zones and create West Germany in the face of Russian non-cooperation. That led to the Berlin blockade of 1948/49.

A parliamentary commission was set up consisting of law professors and newly elected regional representatives such as Konrad Adenauer. They met in Bavaria and wrote the “Grundgesetz” (basic law) in nine months! The situation in the country could not have been more dire, with millions of the dispossessed, refugees and returning prisoners of war! Their work also had to be approved by the House of Commons, the US Congress and the L’Assemblée Nationale in Paris. The need to establish a new democratic system of government was overwhelming!

The brief was fulfilled and approved by all three occupying powers. The foundation of the Socialist German Democratic Republic in the Russian zone followed a few months later. The commission’s clear goals were the following: the need to prevent another dictatorship, the desire to incorporate the best aspects of British and American democracy, and to pay homage to Germany’s own democratic traditions going back to the revolution of  1848.

It has become evident that our unwritten constitution is no longer able to serve the interests of the people. A written constitution with a true devolved structure and a supreme court, which makes sure that rules are kept and constitutional conflicts avoided, are necessary! The exercise of codifying the responsibilities and decision-making powers at different levels of government (local, national and international) would reduce the confusion and conflict substantially.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

Prorogueing Parliament will scupper any EU goodwill in Trade Talks, prorogueing the Tory Party Conference is better

Hearing British politicians talk in a cavalier way about proroguing parliament to push through any controversial policy should remind the British of the age when prorogueing and circumventing Parliament was all the rage (and instilled a different rage in the electorate): the reigns of kings James I and Charles I. In trying to get money without having to ask Parliament, Charles adulterated the “Ship Money” statute by applying it not just to the coastal and harbor cities, but to the whole of England. According to its Wikipedia item, demanding Ship Money of its own was possibly even an infringement …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

12 June 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Leaked memo confirms no-deal Brexit medicine fears
  • Farron calls for new deal to fix broken social care system at PMQs
  • Lords pass Lib Dem law to raise age of criminal responsibility
  • Lib Dems: We must ensure next PM cannot shutdown Parliament

Leaked memo confirms no-deal Brexit medicine fears

Responding to a leaked Cabinet note revealing the UK will not be ready for a no-deal Brexit by October 31st because is will take “six to eight months” to build up supplies of medicines, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

This Government document will be extremely concerning to people who rely on medicines like insulin to stay

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

Why we don’t need a “remain alliance”

As somebody who joined the Liberal Democrats primarily to fight Brexit, I have since come to appreciate even greater the importance of fighting for liberal democratic values. What’s more, it is evidently how important this is for the entirety of the United Kingdom.

I used to be more sympathetic towards electoral pacts, in fact, at one time I was well on board with it. I’m still desperate to stop Brexit and so disappointed at what the leave campaigns achieved; especially as my wife is a EU citizen with only EU treaty rights currently protecting her status in the U.K. This really hurt us both and fuelled me to do what I could to stop Brexit. I am also thinking of my twin brother, Eddie (some here may know him), who is now living in France.

However, an article Mark Pack published titled “Standing for election isn’t just about winning”, encouraged me to stand as a paper candidate in the local elections and removed any doubt from me that electoral pacts are a bad idea. It drove home to me the importance of standing in every seat we can. This way we can build our core vote, keep track of potential target areas and give voters the choice they need for the good of democracy.

After all, if people cannot vote Lib Dem, what is the chance they will join? Or simply just lose the habit of voting for us? It could destroy our local bases for a long time.

I am aware that people have pointed towards past success for electoral pacts but is this a viable long term plan for a party of government? I am sceptical. Given our recent electoral successes; we are clearly the party for remaining in the EU, for the environment, for the economy and for liberal values.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

William Wallace writes: Opportunity for Lib Dems as Labour and Conservatives crumble

It’s going to be even more confusing in the next few weeks and months.  Last Sunday Philip Hammond stated clearly that it’s no longer practical for the UK to leave the EU on October 31st, given the further delays caused by the pause for a Conservative leadership election.  A majority has then to be recreated for some sort of agreement, a bill has to pass through the Commons and the Lords, and preparations for implementation by an over-stretched civil service have to be completed.

Michael Gove has now followed Hammond, suggesting that October 31st may not be a hard and fast deadline.  The passion with which other candidates for the Conservative leadership are now pledging that they will produce a rabbit out of the hat and have everything ready in time, come what may, also suggests their anxiety that this is becoming more and more difficult to manage.  

You will have noticed wilder suggestions (from Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and others) that Parliament might somehow be bypassed, that a new Prime Minister would use prerogative powers to prorogue Parliament and let the UK leave without an agreement or a legal framework: executive sovereignty overriding parliamentary sovereignty, flatly contradicting the rhetoric of the Leave campaign.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

30 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems urge ‘No to No-Deal’ coalition

The Liberal Democrats have today reached out to MPs from across the political spectrum in a bid to form a ‘No to No-Deal’ coalition ahead of the Conservative Party leadership contest.

The move comes as a host of Conservative Party leadership hopefuls, including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, have said they would be willing to leave the EU without a deal if they become Prime Minister.

Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson, has written to MPs representing the Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Greens in order to form a …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

From Catherine Bearder MEP, Leader of the Lib Dem Group at the European Parliament

Wow! What a few days it has been. I wanted to write you a little message from Brussels about the incredible European election last Thursday and how we can build on from our stellar result.

First of all can I just say a huge, huge thank you to all of you. In just three weeks, our activists put in a marathon effort to deliver millions of leaflets, bang in ‘Stop Brexit’ and ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ stakeboards and knock on thousands of doors (and this was on the back of an enormous effort to get all those wonderful councillors elected!).

Now we are sixteen MEPs and I finally have some colleagues with me to fly the Lib Dem flag in Brussels and Strasbourg! There are some past MEPs coming back into our midst like Chris Davies, Phil Bennion and Bill Newton-Dunn, but there also some rising stars in the party like Irina Von Wiese, Antony Hook and Caroline Voaden and so many others who come with a whole range of skills and life experiences. It is truly a great and diverse team – over 50% are women and two MEPs are BAME.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Our message to the nation following the EU Election results

What a great night it was for those who want us to remain in the EU, working for a better Britain, a better Europe and a better world.

The result presents a challenging opportunity for us. Are we up to it?

It will be a challenge to convert the Stop Brexit voters into our true supporters and activists.

It’s a challenge to outdo the Conservatives in taking on the Brexit party’s claim to represent the nation, constantly reminding people that the total vote share for remain (40.4%) was greater than Leave (around 34.9%). We need to repeatedly remind people that the Brexit Party started not from nothing, but from a large UKIP platform, with its discriminatory elements and empty promises based sorely on anger at an unfair system.

It’s a challenge to out-do the Labour party in its claim to represent ordinary workers, whose best deal is within the EU and developing our people’s skills in a less centralised UK.

The opportunity is there to state more clearly the case for remain, for improvements to the EU, for stepping up the use of our power within the EU, for our power and influence in the world for justice and peace, for dealing with inequality and migration in the UK and the world and for dealing with huge world economic entities and the environmental crisis.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 24 Comments

28 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Winning is, it has to be admitted, so much better than losing, but the ramifications of the European Parliamentary elections keep coming. A block of sixteen MEPs are a significant factor in choosing who leads Europe for the next five years, and Liberal Democrats have an opportunity to be heard at the top table, with seven Liberal members of the European Council.

And today’s press releases give you a flavour of the possibilities…

  • Corbyn remains a block to Labour support for a People’s Vote
  • Catherine Bearder elected to lead Lib Dem MEPs
  • Prime Ministers meet to discuss election result

Corbyn remains a block to Labour

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson Lib Dems reaped the rewards of unapologetically supporting a People’s Vote

Somewhere in the long night on Sunday, when she was dotting about between various media outlets, Jo Swinson found the time to write an article for the Times Red Box looking at the reasons for the spectacular Lib Dem success. Being clear about what we were about paid dividends.

Our message at the elections was crystal clear and it worked. Voters recognised the Liberal Democrats are the largest and strongest Remain party. For the past two and a half years we have been unapologetically making the case for a People’s Vote and we have successfully built a cross-party, cross-country movement in support of it.

But while Labour and the Tories lead the country to a disastrous Brexit, we have more to do:

Even as we celebrate these excellent results, we can’t ignore that the Brexit Party made significant gains, that the favourite in the Conservative leadership contest panders to the far right to advance his career (and is certainly not fit for public office), and that the leader of the opposition is yet to take a stance on the biggest issue of the day.

Brexit has turned us into a laughing stock internationally. It’s detracted attention for the real challenges we face, such as the climate emergency, widening inequality and struggling public services. And it’s preventing us from making the most of the technological revolution right ahead of us.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Let’s leave Brexit for another time

Referendums are strange things. Uniquely divisive, and their outcome unpredictable. No matter what the issue, voters flock to opposing sides like supporters at a football match. There is no sitting on the fence.

You could have a referendum on whether we leave the earth and live in outer space, and it could succeed, who knows? Humans will have to colonise space sooner or later to survive, but the time is not here yet. And the time for leaving Europe is not here yet. It may come, if the EU fails to reform itself and technology solves the Irish border problem, but it is not here yet.

Revoking article 50 was proposed by Chuka Ummuna just recently as a solution for our crisis, though it did not stir much reaction. But perhaps it deserves a second look.

The big advantage of revoking is that it keeps our powder dry. We can always trigger article 50 again at any time, and thus retaining our negotiating power. What we can’t do is unbrexit once we have left, and lost all our negotiating power. The fact is that we currently have the best deal of all 28 countries, and the other countries are jealous of us. If we throw it away, we will never get it back.

So what we can do is say to the EU “We are halting our departure to give you a stay of execution. Take note of our discontents and reform yourselves, otherwise we will leave for real next time”.

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

22 May 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s not easy being in a political party’s Press Team when the governing party is in meltdown. After all, Theresa May is seemingly holed up in 10 Downing Street, a chair wedged under the door handle to prevent anyone from getting in. The Leader of the House is gone, and who knows if she’s merely the first of many?

And all this on the eve of European Parliamentary elections in which the Conservatives are expected to take a kicking not dissimilar to that the Liberal Democrats took in 2015…

  • Lib Dems: Botched Apprenticeship Levy implementation hurting most disadvantaged
  • Gove clutching at straws with

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Leadsom’s resignation – is history repeating itself?

Ten years ago, as polls closed in the local and  European elections, it looked like a coup against the unpopular Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown was underway. At 10pm, James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary resigned.

Peter Mandelson, the Prince of Darkness himself, came back from the sidelines to knock heads together and take the temperature of the resentment against Brown down to merely simmering for the remainder of his time in office.

I did wonder if we were about to see history repeating itself when Andrea Leadsom resigned this evening.

We shall see how many of the Cabinet are left in post at the end of Friday. Although if there was a good time for a government to implode on eve of poll, when they are in single digits in some polls and facing a hoofing is probably it.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

21 May 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Moran: Let’s hope more Universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive
  • Hobhouse: End short prison sentences to cut crime
  • Cable: Stop Brexit altogether to end turmoil for British business
  • Chancellor’s warning must trigger No Deal U-turn
  • Cable: Lib Dems “now indisputably the strongest remain party”
  • Lamb: Govt must end abuse of our most vulnerable
  • With no guarantee of a People’s Vote the PM will get no support from the Lib Dems
  • Jenny Randerson: Brexit endangers devolution settlement

Moran: Let’s hope more Universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive

Responding to the news that Oxford University is set to overhaul its recruitment processes, and will commit that at least 25% of students will be …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 24th Aug - 5:18am
    For me, I would call myself a non-socialist conservative basher a.k.a a typical New England liberal NYT reader.
  • User AvatarThomas 24th Aug - 4:32am
    Michael BG, Joseph Bourke - I think two of you are the ones should definitely read this article and give comments. https://internetofbusiness.com/south-korea-automated-nation-earth-says-report-uk-nowhere-robotics/ “the UK lags...
  • User AvatarThomas 24th Aug - 4:19am
    TCO - how they will vote is the only thing matter. There were also numerous predictions in 2016 in the US context that Gen Z...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 24th Aug - 1:40am
    Joseph Bourke, I have read widely on UBI. I think you have read my 2018 LDV article - https://www.libdemvoice.org/can-we-afford-a-universal-basic-income-56572.html Malcolm Torry suggests changes to NI...
  • User AvatarJohnny McDermott 24th Aug - 12:12am
    But I wonder if it’s a case of last one holding the bag? Who would challenge decision to revoke even if unconditional? Brexiteers at home...
  • User AvatarMartin 23rd Aug - 11:49pm
    John Marriott: what do you mean by "an ulterior motive"? Perhaps you are suggesting he may have savings or a pension in the UK and...
Sat 24th Aug 2019
Thu 29th Aug 2019
Mon 9th Sep 2019