Tag Archives: tom brake

A rare bright spot in the Brexit nightmare

There have been precious few bright moments since the Brexit nightmare started. In fact, I can’t really remember any that didn’t involve being at an anti Brexit protest with other pro-Europeans.

I seriously didn’t expect the Government to lose tonight.  I thought that Tory rebels would express concern but ultimately line up behind Theresa May and David Davis. I felt it was more likely given that May is on the up at the moment. Maybe I was wrong, though. It’s probably easier to rebel on a good day than inflict what may be a fatal act on a government that you support.

I’d got in from work just as the vote was being called and the commentary was all about people thought to be certain Tory rebels now abstaining. My heart sank. But then when the tellers lined up, the opposition side started cheering. A tight vote had gone the right way.

The Government lost by 4 votes. 309 people backed Dominic Grieve’s amendment, 305, including Labour MPs like Kate Hoey and Frank Field, voted with the Government.

My reservation is that there is very little point in Parliament having a meaningful vote if Jeremy Corbyn simply lines up his people to support the Tories in implementing a really unpleasant and painful brexit. Labour did what it was supposed to do tonight, but every time it’s had the chance to do something it says it believes in, like back the single market,  its MPs sit on their hands.

Will they do the right thing as the issues kicked so deftly into the long grass have to be confronted and resolved? Who knows? At least they have the chance, I suppose.

And what of the Lib Dem reaction to the Government defeat? Tom Brake used some novel phrase we’ve never heard before about taking back control:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

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

Another poll shows support for referendum on Brexit deal

A poll carried out for the Left Foot Forward blog showed a clear majority in favour of another vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations if there were no deal. This is the second time in a week that there has been a majority for the people to have the final say on the deal.

Our policy of a referendum on the deal is not one that every Liberal Democrat warms to. It won the day in the Conference debate this year but there are those Lib Dems who think that we should actually go further and be …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

In full: Jo Swinson’s response to the Budget – with a cheeky intervention from Tom Brake

It was Jo Swinson who led the Lib Dem speeches in the Commons today in response to Philip Hammond’s insipid budget. Here is her speech in full. Note the cheeky intervention from Tom Brake, reminding of us of some words on the side of a bus.

The British economy today faces three key challenges. First, we have low productivity, with the associated wage stagnation that comes with it, and of course the reduced tax receipts. Secondly, we have high public sector debt. We must recognise the constraints that that places on what is possible economically, and be honest about some of the hard choices that need to be made. Thirdly, there is Brexit, which has already been described as the elephant in the room. We see the uncertainty it is creating for businesses and investment in the country, its impact on our economy, and the opportunity cost of all the energy and money being spent on preparing for it that could otherwise be directed elsewhere.

The Chancellor is a serious man. We had significant differences in coalition but in recent months he has appeared to be one of the few voices of reason in the Cabinet on Brexit. He had an unenviable task coming to the House today, given the picture of higher inflation, lower growth, lower productivity and high levels of debt. It really is bleak. The economy will be £45 billion smaller in 2021 than had been projected just in March this year, so his attempts to paint a cheerful vision of the future were rather less successful than his jokes. The truth is, as the Chancellor knows, that this Budget, the next one, the Budget after that and all future Budgets are made all the more difficult because of Brexit and the extreme approach to it that this Government are pursuing. Making it clear that an exit from the single market and the customs union is a red line for the Government—this is aided and abetted by the Labour Front-Bench team—imperils the future of the UK economy, and the Chancellor knows it.

The right hon. Member for Loughborough (Nicky Morgan) rightly said that there is no pot of gold at the end of the Brexit rainbow, although the more appropriate metaphor is that of a thunderstorm. We learned today that the cost of Brexit preparations is not just the £700 million already allocated but a further £3 billion, which is more than the extra money that could be found for the NHS, and that tells its own story. We need to add to that the exit bill, and who knows what that will be—£20 billion, £30 billion, £40 billion? In addition, there is the overall hit to the economy, which the OECD has suggested could be £40 billion. It is no surprise that these figures were not stuck on the side of a bus in the referendum campaign.

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

EU withdrawal bill debate “pointless and dangerous political ploy”

Tom Brake had this to say as the House of Commons debated the first batch of line by line amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill:

Today the Prime Minister’s desperate attempt to buy off her hard Brexit supporters with red meat has been found out for what it is; a pointless and dangerous political ploy which has no legislative coherence and boxes the UK into an arbitrary timetable. This will only make our negotiations harder, limit our room for manoeuvre and increase the risk of No Deal.

It has been rightly and resoundingly rubbished by both sides of the House.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 82 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes…If you care about Brexit, read this…

Some of you might have received an email from me on Thursday night about the EU Withdrawal Bill. If you didn’t, then please continue reading.

When people voted in the EU referendum last year, nobody really knew what a future deal with the European Union might look like.

16 months on it is now clearer than ever that no deal will be anywhere near as good a deal as the one we have now. To top that off, a catastrophic “no deal” scenario is becoming likelier than ever.

The chaos and uncertainty are leading to job losses and higher prices across the UK.

That is why the Liberal Democrats believe the people deserve the final say on any Brexit deal in a referendum. And if the public doesn’t like it, we should have the option to remain in the European Union.

In two weeks’ time, MPs will be debating amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Government’s majority is wafer thin – and if MPs from all parties work together, there’s a real chance we can defeat them and at the very least, stop them from pursuing a hard Brexit.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 44 Comments

Lib Dems offer to vote for EU Withdrawal Bill

The Government seems to be suffering a bit of a lack of votes for the EU Withdrawal Bill.

With rumours circulating in Whitehall that the Bill has now been pushed beyond the November recess, our Tom Brake has written to David Davis, offering him a wee bit of a helping hand. .

Mr Brake will be willing to work with the Secretary of State to smooth the Bill’s passage through Parliament. However, there are strings attached. He wants Government support for a number of critical Liberal Democrat amendments.

These include:

  • Maintaining EU citizens’ rights
  • Ensuring the Good Friday Agreement is not undone
  • A referendum on the final deal

Tom said:

It is clear the Government no longer have a majority on this Bill. To ease the Government’s pain and to provide some direction to their Marie Celeste of a Bill, I will be willing to work constructively with David Davis to improve the Bill.

This would be in return for the Secretary of State supporting some critical Lib Dem amendments, including providing for a vote on the final deal and enhanced scrutiny of the Bill.

The full text of Tom’s letter to David Davis is:

Dear David

I am writing to you regarding the Amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which have been tabled by the Liberal Democrats.

As I am sure you are aware, the Liberal Democrats are greatly concerned that the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form grants ministers control over legislation with little scrutiny and signals an extreme Brexit on the horizon for the UK, bringing with it economic chaos and confusion for businesses, EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.

The Liberal Democrats however want to hold out an olive branch to the Government and your department and offer to work constructively with you on the Bill to smooth its passage through Parliament.

The Amendments cover a number of the most pressing issues which have arisen as a result of the Government’s policy towards Brexit and this Bill. I have set these issues and the Amendments out below.

Amendment 120 – Referendum on the deal

This Amendment would ensure that the people, not the Government will have the final say on the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU. A referendum on the terms of the deal would give people the opportunity to support the Government’s deal or state that the UK should remain a member of the EU.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarfrankie 16th Dec - 2:28pm
    Jackie, You seem to want the Norway option but " don’t know a great deal about it" and that i'm afraid that sums up many...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 16th Dec - 2:08pm
    Andrew McCaig - 'Actually Norway is in the Single Market but not in the Customs Union.' Yes...hence I used it as my example...or am I...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 16th Dec - 2:05pm
    Roland/tonyhill - In the early 1990s I swore blind we should not have had a referendum on Maastricht. With hindsight I'm embarrassed I could have...
  • User AvatarTony Vickers 16th Dec - 1:22pm
    Michael, read again my previous comment about Homestead Allowance and how it should affect landlords of private rented properties. Landlords would be able to keep...
  • User AvatarDuncan Brack 16th Dec - 12:29pm
    Thanks for all the comments. Peter, I entirely agree - it's good to talk about other things than Brexit, though when we've published previous reports...
  • User AvatarRoland 16th Dec - 11:39am
    “But successive parliaments have de facto signed away powers that are not theirs to give…” LJP "but is it seriously being suggested, for example, that...