Tag Archives: single market

Jo Swinson: I’ll take my baby in a sling to protest Trump

When Donald Trump visits the UK on Friday 13th July, many Liberal Democrats will take to the streets to protest against the racist, misogynist, transphobic, views he holds and the actions he has taken in Government to undermine human rights.

On today’s Peston on Sunday, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson said that, if she’s able, she’ll be among them, just as she was on the Women’s March last year the day after the inauguration.

Her baby will be just weeks old at that time and she says that she’ll take the wee one to the march in a sling because he is anathema to British values of respect for others.

She also talked about our prospects in the local elections. Vince had been quite modest about it on Marr and Jo continued in the same vein. She said that we were looking to get a foothold back in areas where we had been wiped out four years ago. She added what we are all experiencing – that our reception on the doorsteps is much friendlier and enthusiastic than it was then.

On Amber Rudd, she was clear that if the Home Secretary had misled Parliament, then she would need to go. She also said that Cabinet Ministers don’t see every memo and what we really needed to do was to have a positive debate on the benefits of immigration.

She was on Sunday Politics later on with Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin talking about the customs union.

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Labour “betraying members and parliamentary base” by opposing single market membership

Jeremy Corbyn told the Andrew Marr Show this morning that Labour did not favour the UK staying in the single market. Will Labour members, who overwhelmingly want to do so now realise that Corbyn is not going to deliver what they want? A Queen Mary University study showed that 85% of Labour members want to stay in the single market. There is even higher support, 87% for staying in the customs union. 78% want the public to have a final say on the Brexit deal. Corbyn ruled that out too.

Vince Cable had this to say:

As has long been suspected,

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Vince: Labour should be ashamed

Over the past few days, Liberal Democrats have been challenging Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to back our amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would keep us in the single market which is so important for jobs and prosperity.

We are at this singularly unlucky point in time where we have a reckless and incompetent government leading us towards a potentially terrible Brexit. It doesn’t know what it wants as ministers say different things. You have both Gove and Davis undermining the deal before the ink is dry. It does nothing for the reputation of our country.

You would think …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 55 Comments

Party members question Vince Cable on Brexit, freedom of movement and single market

It now appears that Vince Cable will be unopposed in the upcoming party leadership election, and so party members will not receive the opportunity to quiz him at hustings on his record and policy views>

Many of us within the party are concerned by this. We believe that in a democratic party, it is imperative that the leader receive proper scrutiny. We need to know that the candidate is up to the job. The leader of the party must be able to deal with uncomfortable questions.  As we’ve seen in the recent election campaign, the inability to give a straight answer to a simple question can be fatal to a leader.

The party leader must also be able to speak for the party and to defend party policy, especially when it comes to the most important issues of the day. In particular, many people have expressed concern about Vince’s statements to the New Statesman calling for an end to single market membership and freedom of movement, which appear to go against both party policy and the party’s constitution.

>For that reason, a number of us have put together an open letter to Vince Cable, the full text of which can be found here. This letter has been signed so far by hundreds of party members, including a substantial number of parliamentary candidates, councillors, and local party exec members. These are the people on whose support a new leader will need to rely, and so those people in turn need to know that the new leader is worthy of such support.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 60 Comments

May’s hard Brexit is dead. Now let’s bury Brexit

Brexiters claim that 82% of voters supporting the Tories and Labour validated Brexit in last week’s General Election. This has a grain of truth in it. However subsequent polls found issues such as health, the economy, and security were more important to voters. Furthermore, the election marked a return to two party politics in which smaller parties, including ours, were squeezed. A vote for Labour was not necessarily a vote for its ambiguous Brexit stance, but arguably one for hope and an end to Tory austerity.

Shielded from many by her two former advisers and campaign managers, yet at the same time vulnerable to Tory ideological Europhobes, May’s closet premiership progressed an empty Hard Brexit. Instead of trying to unite a divided country after the 2016 referendum by reaching out to the 48% voting remain, May divided the country further by progressing a Hard Brexit which few voted for. Fully aware that half of voters wanted to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union as do most businesses, she seemed unbothered about harming the economy for the sake of meeting unrealistic immigration targets which were consistently missed when she was Home Secretary. Businesses could only engage with Government Ministers if they were enthusiastic about Brexit’s (unknown) opportunities. Her General Election bid for a personal blank cheque on Brexit (and seemingly everything else), possibly along the lines of the Canada-EU deal, left the electorate cold. So last week the people called time on her ‘bunker’ Brexit. So too it appears has business, her Cabinet, and parliamentarians.

A weakened May is now in discussion with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up her minority Government. Meanwhile her Brexit secretary makes contradictory statements saying last Friday that the Government has lost its mandate for leaving the Single Market and Customs Union whilst implying the opposite on Radio 4’s Today. However, the DUP wants to avoid a hard Irish border, a demand which appears incompatible with the Tory manifesto pledge to leave the EU customs union. Similarly, the Scottish Conservatives want an ‘open’ Brexit, which appears to conflict with the Tory manifesto pledge to leave the EU Single Market. The two, with 10 and 13 seats respectively, effectively could each veto a Hard Brexit. But let us not forget the newly emboldened, but hitherto pusillanimous, pro-European Tories. Under the new parliamentary arithmetic, a handful of them could also frustrate Hard Brexit.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

There is a window of opportunity to influence the PM’s Brexit strategy

This extraordinary election result has given us plenty to discuss, but one urgent topic concerns the implications for Brexit, the biggest issue of the day.

The next few days are going to be critical. Negotiations with the EU are due to start in little more than a week, and the Prime Minister is likely to be re-evaluating her negotiating strategy as you read this.

It is easy to say why she should re-evaluate: she went into the election saying that she wanted a mandate to implement her approach to Brexit, and the public hasn’t given it to her.

In reality though, her next move is likely to be dictated less by this and more by the practical constraints on her, which are great.

Clearly she now needs DUP support to maintain a majority in Parliament. The DUP are anxious to avoid a hard border with Ireland, which would be easier if we remained in the customs union. But the DUP’s demands will probably fall short of requiring that we remain in the single market.

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Two reasons why the UK will take generations to recover from the shock of leaving the single market and customs union

Regarding the UK’s post-EU prospects, Boris Johnson has been reaching new heights of pseudo-Churchillian grandiosity. But I was taken by this remark, reported by the Guardian:

Johnson says Liam Fox and his team cannot “ink in” trade deals with other countries now. But they can agree them in pencil.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

How the UK economy’s key sectors link into the EU’s single market

A report with this title was released last week by the Centre for Economics and Business Research for Open Britain.

This report was somewhat shyly presented by cautious Remainers as a case against sectoral EU-negotiations. More importantly, however, it makes a compelling case for continued full membership in the European single market.

It should be mandatory reading for everyone who still believes that:

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

Is Theresa May frog-marching us out of the single market through a covert process?

I have now read Theresa May’s speech from the Conservative conference on Sunday.

The key passage appears to be this one (with my bolding):

…we will seek the best deal possible as we negotiate a new agreement with the European Union. I want that deal to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy. I want it to include cooperation on law enforcement and counter-terrorism work. I want it to involve free trade, in goods and services. I want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the Single Market – and let European businesses do the same here. But let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Guy Verhofstadt writes… 2014 European elections and the challenge for Liberals

This year’s European elections are bound to be a tough fight. Eurosceptics such as UKIP and the French National Front are determined to turn back the clock and tear down the internal market, stoking xenophobia and putting millions of jobs at risk. In the UK context, the Conservatives appear to want to throw in the towel and leave the EU, whilst Labour are still sitting uncomfortably on the fence. Only Lib Dems are clear where they stand as the party of In.

Being the main pro-European party, across the EU, though does not mean defending the status quo. As Liberals we …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 27 Comments

Opinion: Cameron is wishing for an EU that already exists

The prime objective of David Cameron’s Europe speech was always to placate anti-European critics on his right flank rather than to set out a bold vision in the national interest. And in that sense, his ‘red meat’ pledge of an in/out referendum after 2015 may succeed in sating his own party’s Eurosceptic appetite, at least in the short term. But there are at least three reasons why his strategy is not only mistaken, but risks deeply damaging the national interest.

First, while the ‘repatriationist’ wing of Cameron’s own party may be satisfied with the promise of a renegotiation of as yet …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Taking stock – 20 years of the Single Market

In the current “debate” over Europe, “loss of sovereignty”, and “power grabbing by the Commission” are the central themes… what an irony on the 20th anniversary of the single market – the key achievement of the EU which was spear-headed by a British Conservative European Commissioner, and cemented by a Conservative Government in 1992 under the Maastricht treaty.

Commissioner Arthur Cockfield in 1985 published a list of 300 recommendations needed to eliminate the barriers to real free trade within Europe, to make the (then) European Community more competitive and profitable for Member States.

Since 1992 the focus has been to “complete” this …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 34 Comments
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