Theresa May doesn’t want to do debates because of Tim Farron – Paul Staines

Every so often, the right wing talk shows come up with something a liberal wants to hear.

“Sharp, witty, self-deprecating, a pleasure to interview, a polished media performer.” Who said this about our Tim?

None other than Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio, chatting to Guido Fawkes’ owner Paul Staines about the lack of leaders’ debates in the forthcoming General Election. She even started to say that he was likeable but then apparently thought better of it.

Staines said that it wasn’t Corbyn May was bothered about, it was Tim Farron. Hartley-Brewer then came out with the compliments above.

She also said that the Lib Dems, even though she disagreed with us, have a very consistent message on wanting to stay in the EU.

You can listen to the whole exchange here.

Tim asked Theresa May exactly what she was scared of at PMQs on Wednesday:

This election can change the direction of our country, from the consequences of a potential hard Brexit outside the single market to the future of our NHS and social care, our schools and our environment. The British public deserve to hear the party leaders set out their plans and debate them publicly, but the Prime Minister has refused to take part in televised leaders debates. Back in 1992, when she and I were both candidates, we debated publicly, forcefully and amicably. Indeed, she called out the then incumbent for not showing up for some of those debates. Why will she not debate those issues publicly now? What is she scared of?

In response, May tried her “You and that nasty Corbyn and that nasty Sturgeon are going to gang up on us all” line which is ridiculous under any circumstance, but even more so when you consider how far ahead the Tories are in the polls. It certainly doesn’t have the potency it had in 2015.

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22 Comments

  • Robert Wootton 22nd Apr '17 - 8:58am

    What is the view of Brexit LibDems to the direction Tim Farron is taking the party.

  • Arthur Edwards 22nd Apr '17 - 9:05am

    Why would anyone want to indulge in a democratic debate, with someone who doesn’t believe in democracy , who wants to have another referendum, because he didn’t like the result of the first one ?

  • Robert: you cannot have been reading LDV over the last few weeks.But belonging to a pro euro party,Tim is taking us along a path which is in line with that view. But whether you voted leave or Remain, surely we must all agree that that we,the voters, should know what the outcome of the negotiations are and how that will affect us,our children etc etc
    and have a chance to reflect that view in another referendum.This general election is being held in a fog,which the Tories prefer,Tim is trying to find a way through that fog and to ensure the Tories are truthful over that central issue. Surely you cannot have a problem with that?

  • Arthur: You mean like Theresa May, who doesn’t like the result of the last election so she’s called another one three years early?

  • Jenny Barnes 22nd Apr '17 - 9:48am

    She’s not very clever. Debating requires thinking on one’s feet, and she’s used the same jokes about corbyn in PMQs every week, just about. So it would show up her weaknesses.

  • Arthur, I had a vote on if I wanted to leave. I would now like a vote on where I am going. If someone offered me a Mediterranean holiday I might say “yes” but then would like to be able to refuse if tickets arrived sending me to Syria. In or out of the single market and customs union are important issues.

  • Peter Martin 22nd Apr '17 - 10:08am

    I must admit that I don’t understand Tim Farron’s reasoning on the EU. He votes to have the referendum along with all other Lib Dem MPs with the exception of Nick Clegg who didn’t vote at all.

    Then he campaigns for the Remain side, which is of course fair enough,making all the usual arguments about how important EU membership is. It gives us access to the single market etc. Creates 3 million jobs or whatever.

    But then when the result doesn’t go his way he argues that although we voted to leave the EU we didn’t vote to leave the single market. Therefore he isn’t going to support Art50! Why didn’t he vote against the referendum in the first place?

    I doubt if most other voters would understand this any better than I do. I’d doubt that either Theresa May or Jeremy Corybyn would have any difficulty highlighting the inconsistencies in Tim’s approach.

  • @Peter Martin
    Since when, having lost a vote, should the minority knuckle under and shut up? That sounds like a rather Putin-Erdogan view of democracy.

  • Nicholas Cunningham 22nd Apr '17 - 11:16am

    I find it very strange that some believe that democracy becomes some sealed box when any decision is made in their favour. I have said it before, no one should fear debate that challenges decision-making or those who have a different opinion, for it’s central in a functioning democracy where forceful and strong opposition is a prerequisite for democracy to function. To close down the opposition or indeed like the ‘Mail’ front page a few days ago, that anyone who opposes are liken to some enemy within, who should be outcast and made to conform to their way of thinking is very strange behaviour and a peculiar and bizarre interpretation of what is a functioning democracy. Opposition is the core to any democracy.

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd Apr '17 - 11:20am

    @ Jenny Barnes,
    I agree.

    She was an incompetent Home Secretary and it beggars belief that anyone could consider her ‘ a safe pair of hands’.

    I simply do not understand how the MPs voted or abstained in favour of the motion for an early election. Her arguments for holding one were probably her worst joke. so far.

  • Robert Wootton 22nd Apr '17 - 11:32am

    @Nicholas Cunningham. I agree with you. I would go further; Closing down debate that challenges decisions, ideologies, etc. is an ISIS strategy but without the violence or the risk of loss of life.

  • Robert Wootton 22nd Apr '17 - 11:53am

    If the final Brexit deal not acceptable to the LibDems and the MPs in government vote against the deal, does that mean we remain in the EU? Are the LibDems for the Political Union of Europe, which I understand to be a vision of Europe as a country in its own right, the Capital of which could be London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Strasbourg, Rome or Madrid or Athens or any capital of a member country. Or even a specially built capital like Canberra or Brasilia. This is the EU problem as I see it. As an Economic Area of European Communities, I think most people would find this acceptable.
    The EU and the Council of Ministers should ensure that the principle of Subsidiarity id upheld.

  • Peter Martin 22nd Apr '17 - 12:25pm

    @Alan Depauw @Michael Kilpatrick,

    There was a good argument to be made for not having a referendum. They aren’t the same as elections. If we lose an election, there’s going to be another one coming along in a few years time so there’s no question of the “minority knuckl(ing) under and shut(tiing) up”. There an established procedure for the way an opposition is meant to bahave.

    That’s not the case with a referendum. It’s all much more definitive. Ken Clarke had it right in voting to oppose the referendum. He was much more aware than most Remainers. The simple fact is that nearly all remainers assumed they’d win and when they didn’t they weren’t sure how to handle it.

    There was no need to have voted for the referendum. It was going to happen anyway. The only reason for voting for it was if Lib Dem MPs actually wanted it. But I’m sure they didn’t really.

  • I don’t think it would surprise many that in a TV debate Tim and Nicola Sturgeon would both have a sharper delivery and greater connection with the audience than either May or Corbyn, whatever people felt about what was being said, and in that sense May quickly deciding against debates seems the logical decision.

    However, given that whenever the media challenge a government decision they accept the response which is always an empty statement beefed up with buzzwords, May’s cowardice in ducking the chance to defend her record should be highlighted. Another line of attack could be that all her best ideas are stolen either from the Lib Dems, Ed Milliband or David Cameron.

  • Sue Sutherland 22nd Apr '17 - 2:27pm

    Julia H-B was poisonous to our newest MP so I think devils and spoons must be remembered whenever her name comes up.
    I’ve noticed that May doesn’t deal very well with heckling in the House of Commons. She pulls a face and waits until it’s died away before continuing with her speech. So I think carrying on heckling as long as the opposition can would unnerve her even more, unless she’s playing to the TV audience who don’t particularly like the heckling. She’s perceived as strong at the moment so her refusal to debate on TV should be used against her as much as possible.

  • Alan Depauw 22nd Apr '17 - 2:32pm

    @Peter Martin
    What law or rule determines that referendums are ‘much more definitive’ than elections?
    We already know the Scottish government’s view that there is none. Indeed, if the SNP maintains its effective control of the Edinburgh Parliament, Westminster will eventually have to give in to its calls for a rerun.

    If Brexit negotiations lead to a deal the British people reject, there will inevitably be a demand for a return to the EU. If backed by sufficient numbers; if (perhaps after the next election but one) by enough MPs, there is no rule saying that it should not then be put to the people.

  • Peter Martin 22nd Apr '17 - 3:17pm

    @ Alan,

    There’s obviously no law. But so far the time between referendums on the EU has been over 40 years, compared with typically 4 years between elections. We had the referendum on AV. I, and others, were in favour of that but we did pretty much “shut up” about it straightaway afterwards. We didn’t whinge on for months. We lost the argument and that was that.

    I agree we could re-enter the EU in a few years time. If we do go back in I’d say we should be in 100%. No exceptions on the euro or Schengen. Those exemptions were more trouble than they were worth. The euro was badly structured and was causing all sorts of trouble in the EU. If we hadn’t had those problems, there’s little doubt the result would have been different. But because the UK had opted out we didn’t have any real say on how it could be fixed.

  • Philip Knowles 23rd Apr '17 - 8:59am

    Arthur. We had a referendum in 1975. The people who lost that Referendum fought for 41 years to have another. That is their democratic right.
    The people who voted Leave did not vote for a 21% increase in fruit and vegetables imported from Europe (which will result if we fall back on WTO rules). The people who voted Leave did not vote for a 15% devaluation in the £ with the resultant increase in prices across the board. The people who voted Leave did not vote the massive increase in bureaucracy which will result if we leave the Customs Union. They were warned but that was Project Fear.
    If a commercial organisation had used the campaign methods that Leave did the ASA would have hauled them over the coals. It is interesting that there are stronger rules to protect consumers buying washing up liquid than there are for deciding the future of the country.

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