Tag Archives: peoples vote

A second Remain campaign must learn from its mistakes

If recent news reports are to be believed, a consensus on how best to achieve a second referendum is coming together. Vote through Theresa May’s deal on the proviso that it is put to the people first, with Remain an option on the ballot paper. There are many hurdles to jump over before then, not least convincing a reluctant Labour leadership to whip its MPs into voting for it. In preparation for the possibility, those campaigning on the Remain side should be gearing up for it, and we must learnt the lessons of the 2016 vote.

Firstly, it is vital to accept that a lot of people are going to be very angry about this. That is understandable. Their right to protest peacefully about a second referendum must be respected, upheld and admired.

Secondly, remainers should be careful about the way in which they speak about their opponents, and I refer here to both the politicians and the electorate as a whole. No patronising, no tarring leavers with the same brush as Nigel Farage and no condescension. It doesn’t help; it doesn’t address the valid concerns that people have about the EU; more importantly, it is a guaranteed vote-winner for the leave campaign.

Thirdly, it can’t be a negative campaign based on the horrors of the outcome of a leave vote. Facts and forecasts are important and should play a role, but there is a positive emotional case to be made and it must be heard. I want to hear more from the nurses from other EU countries, without whom the NHS wouldn’t function. I want to see more about UK citizens who have gone to live in other countries and made a success of it. I want to hear about small businesses that have made enduring partnerships with other businesses on the European mainland. I want to hear stories of friendships and relationships that have come about as a result of our ability to travel the EU with no restrictions. Positive stories that extol the virtues of freedom of movement and of free trade with our neighbours are going to have a far wider impact than graphs that predict economic doom if we were to leave. However accurate these may be, they should be used as evidence to back up the emotional arguments, rather than the main thrust of the campaign. If you’ve been trapped in low paid work (or indeed no work at all) for many years and you feel that the economic odds are stacked against you, then being told by someone who is clearly very well-off that you shouldn’t vote to leave the EU because it will damage the economy is not going to ring true. If a healthy economy is seen as only benefitting those at the top, then a campaign based on scare tactics will not work with the vast majority of the electorate.

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14 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • No deal Brexit causing panic for people with diabetes (see here)
  • Lib Dems table amendment to give the people the final say
  • Cable: Govt defeat shows rejection of May’s time wasting

Lib Dems table amendment to give the people the final say

The Liberal Democrats have today tabled an amendment calling for a People’s Vote with the option to stay in the EU.

The Liberal Democrats have ensured that there is a People’s Vote amendment for MPs to get behind on every single Brexit vote in the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

In an attempt to force through this unpopular deal,

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8 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Jenny Rathbone Warning Unacceptable – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the decision to only give Cardiff Central AM Jenny Rathbone a formal warning following an investigation into anti-Semitic comments she made.

Jenny Rathbone had already been readmitted into the Welsh Labour Assembly Group in January whilst the investigation was ongoing.

Her remarks about a synagogue in Cyncoed were branded “extremely offensive” by the synagogue’s rabbi Michoel Rose.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

It’s extremely disappointing Jenny Rathbone has been admitted to the party with only a formal warning for her comments, which were clearly anti-Semitic.

I can only imagine the

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6 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Thousands dying waiting for social care as Govt ignores crisis
  • Lib Dems: 50 days until Brexit cliff-edge
  • Greg Clark’s warning exposes recklessness of Tory Govt
  • Lib Dems: Govt must investigate civil service support for Tory meetings
  • Lib Dems threaten veto to force Govt u-turn on knife crime

Thousands dying waiting for social care as Govt ignores crisis

Responding to the research by Age UK showing that more than 50,000 older people have now died waiting in vain for care during the 700 days since the Government first said it would publish a Social Care Green Paper, Former Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

These figures

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At what point do we call for Article 50 to be revoked?

At what point short of the cliff edge do Liberal Democrats say “Enough!” When in this utterly bonkers trashing of our economy do we call for the immediate revocation of Article 50?

We know that the UK can do that without requiring the consent of the other 27 EU member states.

We also have it as  part of our policy to call on the Government to suspend Article 50 to legislate for a People’s Vote or to avoid no deal and, if that suspension isn’t agreed, to call for the revocation of Article 50.  Here’s the motion we passed at Conference last year.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:

Fight for an “exit from Brexit” referendum to be held once the outcome of the UK-EU negotiations is known, for the public to choose between “the deal” or Britain remaining a full member of the EU.

Campaign for Britain to remain a full and active member of the EU.

Enable all UK citizens living abroad to vote for MPs in separate overseas constituencies, and to participate in UK referendums.

Introduce votes at 16 for all elections and referendums across the UK.

Conference calls for:

The Government to release full impact assessments of all options, prior to any meaningful parliamentary vote, thereby demonstrating that there is no Brexit deal on offer that will deliver the promises of the Leave campaign.

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

The right to full participation in civic life, including the ability to stand for office or vote in UKreferendums and General Elections, to be extended to all EU citizens not already entitled tovote as Irish or Commonwealth citizens, who have lived in the UK for five years or longer.

The UK Government to guarantee unilaterally in law, including in a no-deal scenario, the rights of all EU citizens living in the UK, ringfencing the Withdrawal Agreements’ Chapter on citizens’ rights.

The bit about the revocation was put in as an amendment, but was not opposed by the leadership. It’s not as if Conference forced them into something that they didn’t want to do like we did over the immigration motion.

So the motion commits us to fighting for a People’s Vote and to campaign for Remain in that referendum. We are obliged to do that, therefore, until that becomes impossible.  I agree with Vince that there is a route to getting it, but the deal will have to be rejected by the Commons again first.

At that point, if the Government refuses to ask for the suspension of Article 50, or if that suspension was refused. then we should without doubt call for it to be revoked. 

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The 3 Arguments I wish Remainers would stop making (and I’m a Remainer!)

We may not have got much credit for it in the polls, but the growth of the People’s Vote Campaign is a Lib Dem success story. Our policy broke into the mainstream, caused a march of 700,000 people, and gained supporters from every major Party (other than UKIP, that would be weird.)

The reason for the growing popularity of the People’s Vote is because – I believe – the central argument for it is compelling, and goes something like this:

Britain voted for a departure but not a destination. We now have a much clearer idea of what

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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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25 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Brake: Lavery’s comments show Labour figures still ignoring party members

Responding to Ian Lavery’s comments that a People’s Vote would be divisive, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

I am sure many Labour voters will see these comments by their Party Chair as the real divisiveness.

He side steps the fact that campaigning for a public vote is Labour policy after last year’s conference.

Labour can either join the Conservatives and push this deeply unpopular Brexit through, or act in the interests of the country and on the wishes of their supporters and join the Liberal Democrat campaign for a

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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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21 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Some good news today, as the Government has withdrawn the £65 charge for EU citizens to register for settled status. Admittedly though, they’re still at the mercy of a Home Office not necessarily recognised for its compassion or competence, but it is at least a start…

And with that, here are today’s press releases…

  • Home Office settled status scheme risks new Windrush scandal
  • Swinson: Govt Chief Whip must resign if he is blocking proxy voting
  • New laws only help domestic abuse victims if there’s cash to enforce them
  • Lib Dems: Will Corbyn agree with Gardiner and vote for a People’s Vote?
  • Government cave on unfair EU

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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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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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17 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: UK facing energy crunch
  • Cable: Corbyn determined to play party political games
  • Lib Dems: Outrageous that army reserves are on standby due to Tory Brexit mess
  • Lib Dems: Only way forward is through a People’s Vote
  • Govt back-payment for modern slavery victims is too little too late
  • Cable: Government wrong on People’s Vote timetable

Davey: UK facing energy crunch

Responding to the news that Hitachi have stopped work on the Wylfa plant, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey said:

Japanese businesses have warned about Brexit’s economic consequences since the 2016 referendum, so this latest set back to the Conservatives’ energy policy is

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Vince: This is the beginning of the end of Brexit

Well, that was quite something. I had thought the estimates of a 200+ majority against were expectation management, so a defeat of less than 100 looked great.

But, no. The vote was lost by 230 votes. The biggest defeat in living memory.

A Government with a competent main opposition party would be in serious trouble.

But what was Theresa May’s instinctive reaction? She started talking about how this put EU citizens at risk. I mean, really. She turned them back into bargaining chips. I, for one, am not having that.

Jeremy Corbyn has finally won a motion of no confidence but when that is lost tomorrow, he will have to make up his mind whether to back a People’s Vote or not. We can only hope that he will listen to the almost 80% of his members who want Labour to back that.

Jo Swinson was the first Lib Dem to say anything after the  vote – she raised a Point of Order to  how Parliament could assert its authority to bring about a People’s Vote. In his response, Speaker John Bercow seemed to indicate on his reply that he would allow amendments to that effect.

Vince confirmed that he had signed Corbyn’s motion of no confidence and would support it and challenged the Labour leader to get behind a People’s Vote.

Brexit is becoming a national humiliation.

Liberal Democrats have campaigned since the referendum to give people the final say on Brexit. Theresa May has failed to persuade her party, failed to persuade Parliament and failed in her attempts to scaremonger MPs to back her.

The Prime Minister now needs to pull her head out of the sand and start acting responsibly by taking the ludicrous threat of a no-deal Brexit off the table. The only way forward for the country is through a People’s Vote where people have the right to choose to stay in the EU.

It is also time for Jeremy Corbyn to find his backbone, drop his plans for a Labour-led Brexit, and back our calls for a People’s Vote.

Willie Rennie also called for a People’s Vote to ensure that the Prime Minister couldn’t just look to her party to sort it out:

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Save the Date: Monday 14th January, 7pm

On Monday night at 7pm, the party will release a new video. It promises to be something that grabs us in the gut and will make a powerful case for a People’s Vote. The trailer looks good.

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20 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Today is topped and tailed by Brexit, hardly unusual, but there is also some good stuff responding to today’s events…

  • Rival Brexit plans reveal Govt without a course
  • Govt must act to prevent deaths on our streets
  • Govt must end ‘wild west’ drone market
  • Lib Dems: Public health cuts demonstrate Tories’ duplicity
  • Alun Cairns Must Resign if UK Government Back No Deal – Welsh Lib Dems

Rival Brexit plans reveal Govt without a course

Responding to rival Brexit plans set out by Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has said:

While people at home over Christmas will be worried

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The Question

A public vote on Brexit seems to be gaining in popularity; no longer just a view of those undemocratic Lib Dems it is now in the mainstream.  However there is no consensus on the question(s) to be asked in a referendum.  Many options are being floated and I believe the Lib Dems should have a consistent view that can be propounded in Parliament and elsewhere.

Most questions seem to be chosen at random and do not reflect any underlying principles.  I would suggest the following principles: 

  • All three options currently available (Remain, Leave on May’s terms, Leave with No Deal) should be on the ballot paper.  Some have suggested ignoring a No Deal Brexit.  Doing this would ignore the wishes of a sizeable proportion of the electorate and would lay the referendum open to claims of misrepresentation.
  • Only options available without further negotiation should be included.  Otherwise we are voting on something that may never be available like in the 2016 referendum.  Thus we can exclude the current Labour option which is unclear and which, in my opinion would not be acceptable to the EU (its somewhat ‘cakeist’).  Also to be excluded would be a ‘managed’ No Deal which would have to be negotiated.
    • The question should not be the same as last time.  The main argument of the opposition is that a second referendum is undemocratic because the people have already spoken.  Lib Dems have already been clear on this.  The first referendum established that the government should negotiate terms for leaving the EU.  Another referendum has the objective of judging those terms, the final terms, when these are negotiated.  This is the way unions conduct labour disputes, how people buy houses and many other decisions.
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The People’s vote is not in the bag, alas

A People’s Vote is looking increasingly likely, but it’s outcome is not in the bag, especially if there are three options. 

There’s a warning in a comment from Gina Miller: “We discovered that a vast swathe of people who would vote for no deal across the country would do so because their perception is that no deal means remaining”

https://twitter.com/EPinUK/status/1068471165918826496]

As a strong supporter of full EU membership, the danger is that I seize on every opinion poll that suggests Remain would win in a People’s Vote. But the polls are still uncomfortably close: Remain is ahead almost everywhere, but not by nearly enough. The tracking at whatukthinks.org

This  shows Remain on 36%, Leave on 33% and “don’t know” at 31%. That’s too close. Over at BrexitCentral number are being quoted that show Leave in a strong position. My twitter feed showed a BMG poll putting Remain at 52% and Leave at 40%, with the gap widening, but BMG also have a more fine-grained poll  

BMG / Independent Poll: Latest EU voting intention figures show Remain ahead of Leave

showing 51% against a second referendum, and “Canada Plus” as the preferred option for all age groups except those under 34. 

Back in the summer, Andrew Duff was counselling caution on a referendum, with a view to a new political party putting the case for re-joining the EU in a future General Election.  He has a point: the huge danger is that we lose a referendum and people discover what has been lost only after actually leaving.

Things have moved on a lot since then, but on 12 December Carole Cadwalladr drew attention to a piece in Private Eye saying that two of Cambridge Analytica’s key data scientists, Tadas Jucikas and Brent Clickard, are now in business with UKIP’s ex-MP Douglas Carswell and Vote Leave’s former Chief Tech Officer Thomas Borwick. It’s hard not to read that also as preparation for a referendum.

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17 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Another week begins, and the Press Team are back on the frontline.

I am reminded that press releases are not all that our Press Team do, thus what you see here is not a full reflection of their work. There are specialist press releases not necessarily appropriate for a wider audience, and the team work with editors and journalists to gain better coverage, or to bring issues to their attention, and support our Parliamentarians when they interact with broadcast or print media too.

Anyway, on with today’s selection for you to enjoy…

  • Lib Dems: Case for a People’s Vote has spread to very

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Poll suggests if Labour backs Brexit it could fall behind Lib Dems

Ok, so get your pinches of salt out, because you’ll need them, but a story in The Sunday Times (£) suggests that Labour could lose its place as the official opposition to the Lib Dems if Labour backs any sort of Brexit deal.

The YouGov survey of 5,000 voters, commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign, shows that support for Labour could fall from 36% to 22% if they helped the Tories to pass a compromise deal with Brussels like the one advocated by Theresa May.

Under those circumstances, the Lib Dems would soar from 10% to 26% — their highest rating in any poll since they entered coalition government with the Tories in 2010.

The poll shows that Labour’s supporters want a People’s Vote by a margin of almost three to one — and an even bigger proportion would stay in the European Union if they were given the chance.

Alex Cole-Hamilton urged Labour to think again:

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The Government doesn’t have a mandate for Brexit – the state of play in current and former Lib Dem seats

New analysis  for Best for Britain, Avaaz and Hope not Hate which breaks down the results by constituency, has our most comprehensive picture yet of how the country would vote in a People’s Vote.

The results call the mandate to leave the EU into question. Two thirds of constituencies would now back remaining in the EU.

Our research shows that the country has moved significantly since 2016, with two thirds of constituencies in Great Britain now wanting to stay with our existing deal.

There is majority support for a final say for the people in every single one of the 632constituencies analysed in this research. This research also shows that, in the event of a people’s vote, staying in the EU would win by 56% to 44% leave – the highest level of support for staying in the EU since the June 2016 vote.

For the first time, England joins Scotland and Wales as having a majority of constituenciesthat support membership of the European Union; clear evidence that the question of the 2016 EU referendum needs to be revisited.

So how does this affect current Lib Dem seats.

Those that voted Remain have got more Remainy.

Tom Brake’s which voted to Leave would now Remain.

Norman Lamb’s North Norfolk has seen the Remain vote go up by 6% to 47.7%.

Here they all are…

Wera Hobhouse Bath June 16 68.3% November 18 73.3%

Jamie Stone Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross June 16 50.6% November 18 60.1%

Tom Brake Carshalton and Wallington June 16 43.7% November 18 53.3%

Jo Swinson East Dunbartonshire June 16 73.3% November 18 79.7%

Christine Jardine Edinburgh West June 16 71.2% November 18 75.9%

Ed Davey Kingston and Surbiton June 16 58.45 November 18 65.2%

Norman Lamb North Norfolk June 16 41.7% November 18 47.7%

Alistair Carmichael Orkney and Shetland June 16 59.7% November 18 69%

Layla Moran Oxford West and Abingdon June 16 61.8% November 18 65.6%

Vince Cable Twickenham June 16 66.3% November 18 70.4%

Tim Farron Westmorland and Lonsdale June 16 52.5% November 18 56.8%

And what about seats we have held in the past? Here’s a few random examples from across the country.

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15 December 2018 – today’s press releases

My apologies for lateness, but it’s been Opera Night in Needham Market, and we’ve been kept up by an Armenian soprano… And no, that’s not a metaphor…

Only two today, but one of them turned up just before midnight, so don’t say you aren’t getting them fresh.

Lib Dems: Diplomatic move by Australian Government is ‘deeply unhelpful and disappointing’

Responding to reports that the Australian Government have recognised the state of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plan to move their embassy there from Tel Aviv once a peace settlement is reached, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

This move from the

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Could the Scottish Tories back a #peoplesvote?

The Scottish Tories could be about to back a People’s Vote says the New Statesman’s Chris Deerin. 

He cites a “prominent” Conservative MSP as saying:

“When I look at what’s going on down south, I feel appalled and embarrassed,” one prominent MSP tells me. “I hate the English party. I’m horrified at the support for no deal being expressed by party members. I’ve stopped reading ConservativeHome.”

And they might back a second referendum if it is clear that Mrs May’s deal can’t get through Parliament:

Senior Scottish Tories believe the UK is on a trajectory to crash out of the EU without a deal, and that this could be fatal for the unity of the United Kingdom. I understand that they will back any measure that prevents no deal, and could publicly express support for a second referendum – if May’s deal can’t pass parliament – as early as next week. I’m told both Davidson and her stand-in Jackson Carlaw are signed up to this position. “No deal would be disastrous and jeopardise the union so we will reluctantly have to go back to the country and ask them,” says a source.

With Theresa May’s days already being numbered, the prospect of an ultra-Brexiteer as leader is not an endearing thought to her party north of the border:

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

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

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

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The hunt for certainty

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

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

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

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

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Why a People’s Vote enhances democracy

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

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

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

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

We clearly reached that point a long time ago. 

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

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

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 32 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Updated: Why is the People’s Vote campaign sidelining Lib Dems?

It’s fair to say that some party members have been expressing concern on social media about a perceived detachment between the Liberal Democrats and the People’s Vote campaign.

Why is it that Caroline Lucas is representing the campaign on the Channel 4 debate tonight? Why was Vince missing from the petition event in Downing Street? It’s not a great way to treat the party who kicked off the campaign for a final say on the deal in the Summer of 2016.

Late last week, Liberal Democrat MPs were criticised by the campaign for putting down an amendment to Labour’s amendment calling for a People’s Vote.

The People’s Vote campaign is not backing the move because they want to wait until the deal is rejected because they think that they will have a better chance of securing a referendum then.

They may be right. But in a febrile and unpredictable environment, why wouldn’t you make sure that you have the option of putting it on the agenda?

Paul Waugh is wrong in this report when he says that:

Crucially, it adopts the prime minister’s proposal and just makes it conditional on a second referendum. Unlike other amendments, it does not reject May’s deal.

It doesn’t. It is an amendment to Labour’s amendment so if both were passed, the motion passed by the House would read:

This House declines to approve the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship because itfails to provide for a permanent UK-EU customs union and strong single market deal and would therefore lead to increased barriers to trade in goods and services, would not protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, allows for the diminution of the United Kingdom’s internal and external security and is likely to lead to the implementation of a backstop provision in Northern Ireland that is neither politically nor economically sustainable; declines to approve the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement; and therefore resolves to pursue every option, including a public vote as endorsed by the Labour Party Conference 2018, that prevents the United Kingdom’s either leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement or leaving on the basis of the negotiated withdrawal agreement laid before the House.

We don’t know yet if our amendment will be debated or even put to the vote but we have at least got a People’s Vote on the order paper so that the House has a chance to get it into the mix.  I think we need to trust our people to know what they are doing. They are the ones having the conversations in Parliament and they will know what is possible. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 34 Comments
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