Tag Archives: Liberal Democrat MEPs

WATCH: Martin Horwood’s speech to the European Parliament: Brexit is not inevitable

Lib Dem MEP Martin Horwood was cheered in the European Parliament today as he gave his maiden speech, saying that Brexit was not inevitable and asking that the EU continue its policy of patience with our Government which, he waist, was acting like it was in Mr Bean or Monty Python.

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Not turning our back on Europe – why Bollocks to Brexit is the perfect message from Lib Dem MEPs to the rest of the EU

We all believe in the power of words, else this blog post would be entirely pointless. How words are received versus their intent though can be the spark for division and result in endless dissection, rather than focus on the message.

This ended up being part of the discussion for LBC Radio’s James O’Brien phone-in show yesterday morning. James, who is widely known for his views against Brexit, took issue with Lib Dem MEPs wearing Bollocks to Brexit’ T-shirts at the opening session of the European Parliament, stating that they were “inappropriate” and “slogan politics”. He also rightly took issue with Brexit Party MEPs rudely turning their backs during the Strasbourg Philharmonic’s performance of Ode to Joy, adopted by the EU as an anthem.

I disagree with James’s view. Political parties need to smash the mould to get their message across in a world of 280 characters or less. I would much rather that we do ruffle some feathers by being crystal clear than prance around, twisting ourselves in knots about our position like HM Opposition.

‘Bollocks to Brexit’ is the perfect antidote to the Brexit Party’s own message of division. It’s also instantly understandable to anyone seeking to understand the Lib Dems’ position on Brexit and acts as a clarion call for those across the political spectrum to stand alongside us in opposing this national act of self-harm.

Given the Brexit Party, and their ilk, will brazenly ride rough-shod over-polite conventions, have no issue openly saying they will “disrupt” the business of the EU and operate a completely opaque structure when it comes to funding and candidate selection…wearing a T-shirt that highlights there’s an alternative is perhaps the least the Lib Dems can do.

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Lib Dem MEPs say Bollocks to Brexit

How amazing has it been to see the joyous, determined bunch of Lib Dem MEPs taking their seats in Strasbourg today? I will love Barbara Gibson forever for having hers on the right way round.

Their t-shirts had such attitude that the BBC’s Adam Fleming was trying really hard not to laugh when he said that they had a word on the back that he couldn’t possibly say on the lunchtime news. I’ll be watching the Ten to see if they manage it then…

And if anyone is thinking of saying that we were as bad as the Brexit Party, well, you’re wrong.

The Awkward Squad made clear that there was a better t-shirt supplier in town – one that funds Lib Dem Pride presence. And who would have done them a Stop Brexit version if they had asked nicely, I’m sure.

South East MEP and LDV Alumnus Antony Hook posted this video.

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Brussels, meet Lib Dem MEPs

It’s been quite an emotional week.

There have been a few moments when I have actually burst in to tears.

The first one was when I saw this from Scotland’s Lib Dem MEP, Sheila Ritchie.

It was worth the pain and the tiredness for everyone who delivered leaflets and knocked on doors to ensure that everyone in Scotland now has a Liberal Democrat representing them at one level. The same goes, of course for most other places in the country. It’s so sad that we missed out in Wales and the North East – by tiny margins.

And here she is, at yesterday’s Edinburgh leadership hustings, with Scotland’s first LIb Dem MEP, Elspeth Attwooll, who served for 10 years from 2009.

It’s been great to see our MEPs tweeting photos and videos of their orientation in Brussels.

Antony Hook sets off on his new commute – which is a little easier than Sheila Ritchie’s:

Luisa Porritt is right to point out that 75 years ago, Europe was at war. Thanks to the EU, the continent is at peace.

Caroline Voaden did a video diary:

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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.

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Meet our new MEPs – Bedtime edition

What a night! Thanks to Mark for his excellent coverage overnight.

The results surpassed my wildest expectations. And the media can just stop with this “triumph for the Brexit Party” narrative. They are effectively a repackaged UKIP which, in 2014, got 27.5% of the vote. They’ve only gained 4.1% on top of that to end up with 31.6%. UKIP’s 3.3% on top of that gives unequivocal Leave 34.9%.  The combined total of Liberal Democrats, Greens, Change UK,  Plaid Cymru and SNP who are all committed to Remain is 40.4%.

You can’t really say with confidence what the Conservative and Labour votes mean. I suspect much of the Labour vote did so with gritted teeth so you could probably add another 10% to Remain which would take the total for Remain to over 50%.

So, enough with this Brexit Party victory narrative.

But enough of that for now. Let’s meet our new MEPs.

As of now, we have 15 new ones – 16 in total and . And they are a diverse bunch – a majority (9) women and two BAME candidates elected.

Two are Newbies who have joined the party since 2015 and one more joined in 2014.

And as Jo Swinson pointed out, we came within 30,000 votes of two more – Sam Bennett and Fiona Hall narrowly missed out in Wales and the North East respectively.

Making up my LIb Dem MEPs Twitter list was pretty satisfying.

So who are our new MEPs? Here are extracts from their biographies on the party website and a few more notes. 

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Liberal Democrat MEPs are far too good to lose

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 08.06.08 Liberal Democrats LibbyOne of the drawbacks of the way we vote for our MEPs is that so few people know who they are. You don’t vote for a person, you vote for a party and the party decides who goes to sit in the European Parliament. I’m not complaining about the PR nature of it, just that one of the drawbacks of the closed list system means that people don’t necessarily have that connection with an individual.

Our MEPs and candidates are all individuals with different things …

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