Tag Archives: brexit

Vince: The time will come for the People’s Vote

So, Vince’s The Leader column on the Party’s website looks like it’s becoming a regular thing.

This week, he talks about Tuesday night’s Brexit votes:

If there is a big loser from yesterday it is Jeremy Corbyn; his speech was beyond abysmal, embarrassing to his own side. It was the culmination of two years of procrastination: sitting on the fence over Brexit. A Labour rebellion last night helped the government snuff out a whole series of constructive amendments which would have probably opened a way forward, perhaps to a People’s Vote.

So where do we go next? The Prime Minister has been sent to Brussels to renegotiate, reopening the Withdrawal Agreement on the ‘Irish Backstop’ which she has been told repeatedly is not negotiable. There is a possibility that, in search of a quiet life, the EU Heads of Government and the Commission give in and abandon Ireland. I think not.

So what happens next – soon the People’s Vote has its chance:

So after two weeks pursuing her backbenchers’ fantasies (more time wasting), Theresa May then comes back without a new agreement and we finally reach a dead end: the deal which she originally negotiated versus ‘no deal’. No Deal then becomes a live possibility – no longer just bluff in a dangerous game of chicken. I believe that if we reach that choice, sanity will prevail. Theresa May will see the logic in taking her deal to the country in a People’s Vote against the option of remain.

He spoke to Japanese companies this week and suggests that we are in for a quiet exodus:

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31 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime
  • Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country
  • Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit
  • Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos
  • Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis
  • Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs
  • Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates
  • Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime

Responding to the Home Secretary’s plan to give new powers to the police to tackle knife crime, Liberal Demcorat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is in

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Could Labour back May’s deal?

Jeremy Corbyn is about to run out of road. He has to pick a side now. Does he go with the majority of his party and back a People’s Vote or does he enable a Tory Prime Minister to inflict a hard Brexit on the country by backing her deal.

Theresa May’s tweet about her meeting with Corbyn yesterday was interesting:

The 29th March date now looks to be a bit fluid as senior Conservatives seem to be coalescing around a delay of a couple of weeks. But if May doesn’t deliver Brexit in short order, she’s toast. And Corbyn wants it over as quickly as possible so his party stops banging on about a People’s Vote.

And when May met Lib Dems, it was Vince, Tom Brake and Alistair Carmichael who were in those meetings. Because it makes sense to have your Brexit spokesperson involved.

But Corbyn didn’t take Kier Starmer for his meeting with the PM. He took two members of his inner circle. HIs direction of travel is clear – out of the EU. And his mindset in not punishing those who voted with the Government when pro single market shadow ministers had to resign in earlier votes shows where his heart lies.

Robert Peston seems to think Corbyn could whip Labour MPs into backing a Brexit deal:

For what it’s worth, my understanding is that Corbyn sees the failure to secure a majority yesterday of the Cooper and Grieve motions – and Labour’s own one, which explicitly mentions the possibility of a referendum – as proof that MPs really don’t want a People’s Vote.

Even more striking is that those close to Labour’s leader tell me they can indeed envisage a moment in the coming weeks when it will be official Labour policy to vote for a Brexit plan.

Those at the top of Labour, and in the grassroots, who want a referendum should fear they are being properly outmanoeuvred.

If Theresa May can’t get the ERG onside, she will need more than the 14 Labour MPs who voted with her on Tuesday night. The hard core of Corbyn loyalists might just pull her through, even if the moderate Labour MPs defied the whip.

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“Apparently because of Brexit the supply of my tablets is low”

Yesterday, Brent Lib Dems’ chair Anton Georgiou got a text from his sister.

She has Epilepsy which is controlled by taking six tablets a day.

She had gone to the pharmacy to put in a prescription.

Here’s her text, reproduced with her’s and Anton’s permission:

This is the reality of what people are living with.

Problems with supply chains for medicines aren’t confined to Brexit and they are quite common. You can see some of the issues here on Epilepsy Action’s Drugwatch

Brexit, deal or not, puts added complications into the mix. This article cites problems coming from a weak pound against a strong Euro, so it is clear that Brexit is already having a detrimental impact.

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30 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Cable: CBI warning of no-deal plans reveals no faith in PM
  • Cable tells Japanese business leaders a People’s Vote is still possible
  • Lib Dems vow to fight on for death penalty guarantee
  • Cable: Barclays decision highlights the cost of no deal Brexit

Cable: CBI warning of no-deal plans reveals no faith in PM

Responding to reports that the Head of the CBI expects UK companies to speed up plans for a no-deal Brexit in response to votes in the House of Commons last night, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The voice of business in our country can’t be ignored. Businesses that make up

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29 January 2019 – today’s press releases

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”.

I’m afraid that we’re now well into the Lewis Carroll phase of Brexit, but on the plus side, my beloved Luton Town went five points clear at the top of League One…

  • Lib Dems: Safe standing an important opportunity for football fans
  • Travel insurance not guaranteed with no-deal Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Govt continue to scaremonger

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Brexit votes open thread

I’ve come home this evening with a very heavy heart. It’s more like the Spoilt Brat of Legislatures than the Mother of Parliaments, isn’t it? The debate this afternoon has been profoundly depressing, particularly the early stages which was more of a bunfight than anything else. Good job they weren’t debating anything absolutely essential to our existence, isn’t it?

There are only a few willing to talk about how the Emperor is stark naked.

While our lot are fighting the good fight inside, Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds is in Parliament Square:

On Facebook, I discover that several of my friends have received literature from Wetherspooons spouting nonsense about Brexit. There is a bit of me that is pleased that Tim Martin’s money will be wasted in Edinburgh.

Anyway, I’ve opened a bottle of red and am watching the events of the evening unfold.

Key votes will be on Yvette Cooper’s amendment to extend Article 50 for 9 months and Graham Brady’s to find some unicorns to patrol the Irish border.

It’s going to be a long night evening of votes – but there is some hope at the end. Layla Moran’s bill to repeal the Vagrancy Act will be debated when it’s all over.

So this is the Government’s motion:

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Another day’s Labour for the Government

Hot on the heels of failing to kill the Government’s truly egregious Immigration Bill, which rolls out the Hostile Environment on an industrial scale, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party approaches the Brexit votes tonight in disarray.

But first, a reminder of last night.

I mean, really. A reminder of that happened. Labour were originally down to abstain but after cries of disbelief from senior Labour figures on Twitter, they decided to make it a one-line whip on Twitter. Hardly a face-saving exercise.

You might remember that Mr Corbyn has been loudly refusing to meet Theresa May unless she takes No Deal off the table.

So, when one of his own side comes up with an idea that would prevent us from leaving without a deal on 29th March, you would think he would support it. That was certainly the mood music over the weekend.

But no. The Guardian reports this morning that they are growing cold on that idea.

Opposition? Not so much. 

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28 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Never let it be said that we’re not public spirited here at Liberal Democrat Voice. So, for those of you who haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return for the year ended 5 April 2018, the deadline is just seventy-two hours away. Don’t delay, don’t let it peck away at you!

Meanwhile, back on Planet Zog…

  • Lib Dems: Culture in our schools system is toxic
  • Lib Dems reject Tory Immigration Bill
  • Ed Davey: Labour abstention on Immigration Bill “pathetic” (see here)
  • Govt defeat in Lords shows backstop tinkering will not work
  • Lib Dems: Britain deserves a better opposition as Labour U-turn on Immigration Bill
  • Swinson: Proxy

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Lib Dems demand better than Brexit: Those that seek to divide us will never win

Another chance to see the heartstring-grabbingly brilliant Party Political Broadcast which highlights what matters to Liberal Democrats and how those who seek to divide us will never win.

The voiceover is by Hazel Grove candidate Lisa Smart.

Enjoy.

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LibLink: Guy Verhofstadt writes about the need for a new politics in Britain

We seldom consider the view of British politics from beyond our shores, something even Liberal Democrats are poor at. So, here’s a perspective from someone whose view matters, regardless of what his opponents might say…

Guy Verhofstadt has written for Project Syndicate on what he sees as being necessary for Britain to move beyond Brexit. He starts with a précis of the current position;

The populist revolts in the United States and the United Kingdom have each reached a critical juncture. At the start of his third year in office, US President Donald

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What did you think of the Jeremy Corbyn’s backbone meme?

Over the weekend, some imaginative people from our campaigns Department wandered around with a replica of a spine, with a label on it saying “property of J Corbyn” on it and took photos of it on a bus (where it actually got a seat) in a bookshop, in a cafe and having a lovely greasy vegetarian breakfast (only one egg – surely some mistake).

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when they did that. They surely must have got some really weird looks. And if they didn’t there is something a bit wrong with the world.

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Don’t let no deal talk distract from how bad the deal actually is

The next crucial vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal takes place on Tuesday. Much of the focus has been on taking no deal off the table. That’s important, because it would be a disaster.

However, we shouldn’t forget that the actual deal would damage us too, leaving us poorer and less safe.

Back in November, the Bank of England said that all forms of Brexit would leave us worse off than staying in the EU.

Vince said at the time:

The Bank of England has concluded that Brexit – with or without a deal – will leave the UK poorer, less productive and with an economy 4% smaller than if we had stayed in the EU.

Although the headlines are drawn to the dramatic economic collapse forecasted in the event of no deal, this report shows that the deal will cause harm to our economy and the living standards of people around the country.

The Conservative Government must stop using fears of no-deal to pretend that its deal will be good for the economy; today’s assessments put that myth to bed. It is time for a final say on the deal, with the option to remain.

This came around the same time as Philip Hammond admitted that there wasn’t an outcome of Brexit that would leave the country better off.

Tom Brake said:

It was shocking to hear the Chancellor candidly admit that Brexit will make the country poorer.

The Government’s own analysis shows real wages falling, every region in the UK worse off and no Brexit dividend.

The assessment of Theresa May’s deal assumes a rapid transition to a frictionless trade deal with the EU and other free trade arrangements with third-party countries, but the prospect of these negotiations happening quickly is wildly optimistic.

In reality the Conservatives’ deal could leave the UK much worse off than even these dour assessments forecast.

The case is stronger than ever for giving the public the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

And Ed Davey found the Withdrawal Agreement withdrew the UK from useful information networks:

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Scotland’s way out

No deal is better than a bad deal.

Theresa May

My prediction is that the UK is heading for a no-deal Brexit. If Theresa May thinks what she had was a good deal, then all other deals must be a bad deal, so if all other deals are bad deals, then by her logic, we’d all be better off with no deal.

No one will get a deal that suits the majority because you can’t have the Customs Union without freedom of movement. One side don’t care about the Customs Union as long as freedom of movement is cancelled, and the other side don’t want a deal without the Customs Union.Therefore, a majority in the Commons will never be achieved no matter what deal is brought to the table by whoever – leaving this country in a situation where disaster contingency plans are being put in place and businesses are relocating their HQs.

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24 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats continue fight for a people’s vote
  • Tory failures result in increase in violent crime
  • Cable: Airbus warning a stark reminder of the livelihoods at risk
  • European Court of Human Rights rules against UK Govt on privacy case
  • Govt must repay £1.95 million to EU citizens

Liberal Democrats continue fight for a people’s vote

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the Government’s Plan B calling on the Government to prepare for a people’s vote with an option to remain in the EU.

The amendment, supported by all Liberal Democrat MPs, also calls on the Conservative Government “to take all necessary steps to rule …

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Out of Brexit Chaos part 2: Government of National Unity

In the preceding article, on the People’s Vote , I argued that the process should be given significantly more time.

However, we also have a real problem: both of the big parties are too fractured either to govern or to face a General Election. The unedifying results create the opposite of the sense of stability needed for such the People’s Vote.

This is the time for a Government of National Unity bringing people together from across Parliament, not as a formal coalition between parties, but as an interim arrangement, which would need a more collaborative way of working. The obvious person to lead this is Kenneth Clark. This is partly because of his considerable depth and experience. Age means he is also likely to stand down at the next General Election, so it would be clear that the Government of National Unity is there to provide stability in an exceptional time without being subsequently returned to power. He is also sufficiently unpopular with the right wing of his party to mean that MPs from across the Commons could support him.

The clear message from forming a Government of National Unity is that we are in exceptional times. Something exceptional needs to happen to enable the People’s Vote to happen fairly. Frustration with politics will have produced a different way of doing politics.

How can a Government of National Unity form?

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, an election happens if the Commons passes a motion that it has no confidence in the government and doesn’t then pass a motion that it does have confidence within a fortnight. With sufficient agreement among MPs in advance, it would be possible for Tory MPs to vote with the Opposition “no confidence” in Theresa May’s government, and then “confidence” in the Government of National Unity.

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Out of Brexit Chaos part 1: People’s Vote

Introduction

The Brexit process began as an internal Tory party squabble, but its resolution has to move from there to mature thinking about the future.

This means asking the rest of the EU for a significant extension to the Article 50 period. This is not for significant further negotiation — if Brexit has to happen, May’s deal is pretty good — but to enable things to be done with considered thinking about the future.

I suggest that the process needs a People’s Vote, but on a longer timetable than people are proposing to allow adequate preparation. It requires a Government of National Unity to provide stability for this to happen, and for enough time afterward for political parties to draw up manifestos in the light of the result, on which to have a General Election.

I’ll pick up the idea of a Government of National Unity a the second article (published tomorrow).

People’s Vote

Downing St recently drew criticism for suggesting that it could take a year to organise a People’s Vote. In the present state of anxiety, it is tempting to accelerate the process, but my plea is for it to be given more time because it is more than just enabling people to put crosses on ballot papers. Several things lie behind this:

Preserving democracy

Referenda risk undermining representative democracy. Unless the question is very specific, they carry a sense that those elected can’t be trusted. Proceeding too quickly now risks compounding this it can be spun as “MPs couldn’t fix this, so the people had to”, and inviting an “anti-politics vote”.

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22 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Labour must stop ‘chasing their unicorn Brexit deal’ – Jane Dodds

Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds has criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s “intentionally ambiguous amendment” and urged the Labour leadership to stop “chasing their unicorn Brexit deal”.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Brexit is a national embarrassment. The Prime Minister’s plan B looks no different to her plan A. Meanwhile, the Labour leadership continues to ignore its members, its voters and the country’s interests.

With just 66 days to go until we leave the European Union, we do not have the luxury to wait for Corbyn to slowly inch his way toward backing

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Relax! Brexit is going perfectly

If you were hoping to see Britain make an orderly and dignified exit
from the EU on 29th March this year then I imagine you think that the
Brexit process is going very badly indeed. But if, like me, you hope
that Britain doesn’t leave the EU at all, then I think you should be
delighted with how things are progressing.

Some of the problems currently besetting the Brexit process were
predictable from the beginning. It was clear even during the 2016
referendum campaign that people were voting Leave for a wide variety
of reasons, which (being generous) could not all be satisfied at once.
To put it another way: regardless of the eventual terms of exit, when
asked “Do you want to leave on *these* terms”, a majority of British
people would say “No”.

But a lot of the things that are crippling the Brexit process now were
not nearly so predictable. The unexpected result of the 2017
election, which suddenly gave huge influence to the DUP, thwarted the
only obvious way to satisfy the exit conditions laid down by the prime
minister – which required some divergence between Great Britain and
Northern Ireland – and helped to ensure that the resulting withdrawal
agreement was unpalatable to many MPs. The legal ruling secured by
Gina Miller ensured that MPs got a “meaningful” vote on the withdrawal
agreement – and roundly rejected it. And the legal ruling that the UK
can unilaterally revoke article 50 meant that MPs *could* reject the
withdrawal agreement without fear of it automatically resulting in a
“no deal” exit. As a Remainer, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect
combination of events!

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Fee waived for EU nationals – but that doesn’t make the process right

The 3 million EU nationals in this country may no longer have to pay a fee for settled status but that doesn’t mean that we can have any confidence in the process. It doesn’t mean that we should be any less angry that our friends and neighbours and family and partners are being put through this. They were citizens, free to enjoy pretty much the same rights as us. Overnight they become people who are subject to immigration control.

If we could trust the Home Office to make humane, reasonable, rational decisions about people’s lives, it would still be insulting to these people that we are putting them through it, but we could at least have reason to believe that they would be treated fairly.

The thing is, the Home Office often makes heartless, inhumane and unreasonable decisions that defy any sort of fairness.

The most recent example is that of an elderly Iranian couple who have owned a house in Edinburgh for four decades and who are an integral part of the support system for their grandson with autism. There is, by the way, a petition to the Home Office which I would urge you to sign. Adverse publicity can sometimes help, so do what you can to spread the word. 

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WATCH: Lib Dem MPs challenge May on Brexit

Lib Dem MPs tackled the Prime Minister this afternoon as she made her Groundhog May “nothing has changed” statement. Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Vince Cable, Jamie Stone and Tom Brake challenged her on various aspects of her intransigence.

Christine Jardine asked the Prime Minister to consider asking to extend the Article 50 period.

The PM isn’t even willing to ask the EU the question – and we all know that if we don’t ask, we definitely don’t get.

Vince mentioned the troops put on standby over the Brexit period and asked how they would be carrying out their duties.

I, too, welcome the fee waiver and the Prime Minister’s willingness to engage in serious conversations, including about the merits and practicalities of a people’s vote. May I ask a specific question? At the end of last week, the Secretary of State for Defence put 3,500 troops on Brexit standby. Will she clarify what their rules of engagement would be in the event that they face angry and violent demonstrators, and would they be armed?

She wasn’t so clear in her response. Had she even thought about it?

Jo Swinson tackled her on the “massive game of chicken in the Tory Party” and expressed her incredulity at the prospect of the PM allowing a disastrous no deal Brexit:

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Towards a Referendum Programme for Remain

The original remain campaign was negative and defensive. Nigel Farage, in his debate with Nick Clegg, has been described as “pushing on an open door”. Is all we can offer negatives – there is no European Army – there is no federal state – Turkey is not going to become a member – when all of these things are partly untrue?

Our opponents will say that “remain in the EU as we were before” would be to ignore the previous result; to betray the people’s vote, to disillusion the country and cast doubt on democracy itself.

The Remain …

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Vince Cable tells Theresa May, “the votes may be there for a People’s Vote”

Yesterday, Vince Cable wrote to Theresa May, offering her a way to solve her Brexit crisis…

Prime Minister

I appreciate the opportunity to have had a proper conversation with you about our views on the way forward on Brexit and my colleagues have had a useful discussion with yours about the practicalities of a referendum and its timing. We have followed up the discussions with a note to David Liddington setting out our views on how a People’s Vote could be organised quickly.

Our positions are, at first sight, far apart. But I reiterate the point that, as it currently stands, your plan

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19-20 January 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

  • GP postcode lottery shows vital need for a national workforce strategy
  • Lib Dems: Car insurance rise shows cost of Brexit
  • Labour failing their duty as Official Opposition on Brexit
  • Fox’s failure to sign trade deals shows Brexiters’ ‘Global Britain’ does not exist
  • Corbyn isolated as over 100 Labour MPs set to back Lib Dem call for a people’s vote

GP postcode lottery shows vital need for a national workforce strategy

Responding to the analysis done by the BBC which shows the huge variation in the availability of GPs in different parts of England, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

Getting access to your GP should never

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Lib Dem Immigrants: Lib Dems lead the fight for a more inclusive People’s Vote

“Ministers agree to consider Lib Dem plans for new referendum”  say the headlines.

This is a victory not only for the party and our chances of stopping Brexit, but also for the millions of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens around the world who were excluded from voting in 2016.

At Conference in Brighton in September, Lib Dem members condemned this injustice, and passed policy that EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens abroad must be included in all future referendums.

Lib Dem Immigrants are proud that our party refuses to treat immigrants and emigrants as afterthoughts, and recognizes that wherever a person comes from, they are equally deserving of respect and representation.

We are glad that our MPs are vigorously arguing this case in their discussions with Ministers.

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Be prepared: We could well be heading for a General Election

I am starting to think that the likelihood of a General Election is rising.

Theresa May’s options are limited.

She could probably get a majority of MPs to back a Norway style Brexit if she put some effort into it. She could have done that two years ago. But that would split her party. So she won’t.

She could, as Vince suggested to her, put her own deal to the British people. But every poll that has been done on that possibility suggests that it would lose against a Remain option. However right that would be, it would split her party and leave her with a huge amount of egg on her face.

Or she could go for an election by the same mechanism she used in 2017 – a motion in the House of Commons backed by 2/3. Corbyn could hardly vote against it given that he has been calling for an election for months. We should vote against it, by the way, on the grounds that it won’t solve Brexit and we don’t trust the Government to behave itself with the powers that the EU Withdrawal Act gives it while Parliament is dissolved.

Now, I get that it is unlikely that she could find a manifesto promise on Brexit that her entire party would unite behind. She might consider that it doesn’t matter, though. Because she’ll make the election about going after Corbyn. We saw from Michael Gove’s closing speech in the No Confidence debate the other night a glimmer of what they would unleash in his direction. Every picture of him with dodgy people will be coming to a billboard near you – and he really hasn’t helped himself this week by refusing to talk to May when he’s talked to all sorts of nefarious characters with the stated intention of sorting out the Middle East or Northern Ireland.

I know that May has promised not to lead the Conservatives into another election but her argument would be that Parliament was frustrating the will of the people. This vote, though, would be a chance, however unlikely,  to get her the parliamentary majority which she came within a few thousand votes of getting in 2017. Then she could govern relatively untroubled until 2023. Although she shouldn’t take too much comfort from that prospect given how Major’s last five years as PM went.

And, with Parliament dissolved, heaven knows what the Government would do in terms of illiberal and unscrutinised instrument and order throughout the election campaign. The EU Withdrawal Act does give it a lot of untrammelled power, after all.

An election wouldn’t solve Brexit, of course. She couldn’t get a third of her own MPs to vote for her deal and that is unlikely to change. But that is not what it is about. 

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Lib Dems vs Brexit: Tom Brake PM’s deal is a fiction, a chimera, a mirage

Tom Brake’s speech in the Brexit debate was a candid one in which he took responsibility for his part in creating the set of circumstances where so many people voted Leave.

Brexit, and the way it is being handled, is a national embarrassment. Worse than that, it is a damaging international embarrassment. That great tactician, David Cameron, devised what he thought would be a cunning plan to staunch the decades-long Euro bloodletting in his party: a referendum. But the referendum, instead of acting as neat sutures to bind together the ideologically driven Brexiters and their more rational colleagues, has taken a scalpel to the Tory party’s jugular, and—critically, and far more significantly—to that of the country, too. Driving the country to the brink, and in some cases being willing to drive over it, is overwhelmingly the Tories’ responsibility.

Of course, the Leader of the Opposition has a cameo in all this, demonstrating the same aptitude for leadership during the Brexit campaign as he has since. However, as a long-standing Member of Parliament, I share some of the blame for not tackling the conditions that led to a majority voting for Brexit. That blame must be shared by successive Governments—not this one, not the one before, not the one before and, indeed, probably not the one before that either. I regret not being active enough in promoting the benefits of being in the EU for students, research, common standards, medicines, and investment in, for example, the hospital where the PM launched the NHS 10-year plan, which received £50 million in EU financing, or the potteries factory where she gave her speech yesterday, which received £400,000.

I was not outspoken enough in rebutting the ludicrous, infantile and mendacious claims that Brussels-based British newspaper correspondents made about the threat to British pink sausages or standardised condom sizes. Most importantly, I regret the failure to tackle deep-seated concerns in some towns and cities over the failure to invest in infrastructure and under- performing schools and to rebuild proud communities devastated by the loss of heavy industry. I regret that devolution was not pushed hard and fast enough and that responsibility, funding and accountability for delivering jobs, skills training, bus and train services was not vested in politicians closer to those reliant on such services. ​Those challenges remain, and we owe it to those who voted for Brexit and, indeed, to those who voted remain to address them.

Does anyone in this Chamber believe that Brexit and the PM’s so-called deal provide solutions? They do not. Nothing that leaves us poorer can. The PM’s deal is nothing of the sort. It is a fiction, a chimera, a mirage. The political declaration comes in at a measly 26 pages. Compare that with 1,598 pages in the Canada-EU trade deal. According to the PM’s statement yesterday, the real deal—our future relationship with the EU—may not be struck until as late as December 2022, and some consider that wildly optimistic. That is one of the reasons why her deal will be defeated today.

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Lib Dems vs Brexit: Malcolm Bruce – Time to modernise our democracy

My Lords, across the UK, Scotland and London voted most strongly for remain, which is somewhat ironic given the nationalists’ antipathy towards London and London-based government. ​Northern Ireland voted clearly for remain, only to find its hard-line Brexit party tweaking the tail of a Brexit-traumatised Conservative Government. A lot has been said, I think rightly, about Theresa May’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s cavalier disregard for those who voted remain. “You lost. Get over it”, they say, but they have been unable to come up with anything that can unite a majority. When the DUP is challenged for representing a minority in Northern Ireland, it asserts that remain voters are predominantly nationalists and can therefore apparently be discounted—second-class votes.

Membership of the EU resides with the United Kingdom and it is not possible for parts of the UK to be in and parts to be out. I suggest that raises the question as to whether we should ever have sought a simple binary majority, or one that was qualified by the views of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom as well.

During a recent visit to Derry, I was able to see and hear how differences already affect what is located on which side of the border and how people and services operate. Moderate unionists who voted remain are beginning to consider whether the complexities of Brexit might make the prospect of a united Ireland unexpectedly attractive, especially now they see a much more liberal Republic and a frozen conservative Province in the north. The polarisation of Northern Ireland politics has left the Province without a democratic voice. Disillusioned young people at an integrated school that I visited in Derry told me that they thought that violence would return to the Province. I was quite shocked that they were unanimous in their view.

For a long time—the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane, referred to this—many people thought that nationalism could be contained within the European Union or at least under its umbrella. That is kind of logical given that the raison d’être of the European Union was to find mechanisms to avoid conflicts getting out of control and leading to war—which has been one of its great achievements.

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Lib Dems vs Brexit: Martin Thomas on how Brexit adds to instability

The text is below:

My Lords, in my youth, the union was strong. Not only had the four nations survived two world wars side by side but there was a community of interest that bound people together. ​Coal miners faced the same hazards in pits across Britain. The Gresford hymn is still played and sung annually at the Durham Miners’ Gala to commemorate the 266 miners killed underground at the Gresford pit in 1934. Steelworkers from Merthyr to Shotton, Sheffield and Motherwell had common interests, and workers in the shipyards of Belfast and Glasgow, Liverpool and the Tyne shared common dangers.

However, as those great UK-wide industries declined and departed, the solidarity of the union weakened. Devastated communities were left isolated—high and dry. Then the European project got under way. European development funds underpinned the economies of areas in decline, and nowhere has benefited more than Wales. European structural funds have invested more than £4 billion in supporting many thousands of jobs and creating new enterprises. Europe helped to stabilise the union at a time of profound economic and social change.

Devolution has played an important part in creating stability. In Wales we regard Sir John Redwood not so much as the architect of devolution but as its cause. As Secretary of State between 1993 and 1995, two years before the 1997 referendum, he attacked the non-governmental organisations delivering services in Wales with Thatcherite zeal, halved public funding to the Welsh Development Agency and cut his own Welsh Office staff, outsourcing to the private sector. He banned the use of the Welsh dragon on a leaflet entitled Wales in Europe and refused to second staff to ensure a Welsh presence in Brussels. He boasted that he had returned £100 million of the funding allocated to Wales, unspent, to the Treasury. He travelled home to Wokingham every night to avoid staying in Wales, refused to sign documents in the Welsh language because he did not understand them, and his rendition of the Welsh national anthem remains a YouTube classic that is very dear to our hearts. Therefore, we thank him for ensuring for us the slim majority of 0.3% that brought devolution to Wales two years after his regime, and we wish him a similar outcome for his dreams in the ERG.

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: A People’s Vote is the only way for our country to move forward

Alistair Carmichael emerges from the shadows of his Chief Whip’s role to make the case for a People’s Vote in the Herald in his own inimitable style. First he sets the scene.

Instead of trotting out platitudes (“Brexit means Brexit” – remember that one?) and promising the undeliverable to the insatiable on her own right wing and the DUP (we shall leave the Customs Union AND have no hard border between the North and the South AND we shall have no border in the Irish Sea) she could have built a consensus in the House of Commons.

There are two obstacles to sorting this out – one is May’s intransigence. The other is Jeremy Corbyn:

Challenged in yesterday’s confidence debate the self-styled Leader of The Opposition was unable to say whether, in the event of winning his general election he would press ahead with Brexit or not. That apparently would be up to his party.

When I asked him then if he would follow the policy endorsed by his party members at their conference in September and back a people’s vote after the confidence motion had failed his answer was also less than unequivocal.

As they might have said aboard the Starship Enterprise, “It’s leadership, Jim, but not as we know it”.

The Lib Dems first came up with the idea of a People’s Vote two years ago and it didn’t exactly catch on:

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