Tim Farron’s final rally speech: Lib Dems will stop a bad Brexit deal, public service cuts and the Dementia Tax

Tim Farron ends his tour of target seats in Oxford on Wednesday night. This is part of his final pitch for votes at a rally there:

This election is only taking place because Theresa May is taking you for granted. She wants a blank cheque to do as she pleases and expects you to just hand it to her, even if what she proposes to do is as awful as the dementia tax, no questions asked. And as if to prove the point she has spent every day since she called the election trying to avoid answering any questions.

The Tories are heartless – but they have also shown themselves to be hapless.Look at the Dementia Tax, their NHS and schools cuts, or their cuts to the police that have made us less safe. They can’t even write a manifesto they can stand by, yet they want you to trust them with the biggest negotiations this country has ever done.

Have no doubt, Theresa May will get us a bad Brexit deal – and I mean dementia tax bad. That’s why I believe you should have the final say over the deal. Not Theresa May, not the politicians, you. And if you don’t like the deal you’re being offered, you should be able to reject it and choose to remain.

Remember – every vote for the Conservatives is a vote for the dementia tax, NHS cuts, sacked teachers and a bad Brexit deal. If that’s what you want, go for it. If it isn’t, then don’t write Theresa May a blank cheque.

If you are a Conservative supporter but those things worry you, then don’t do it. Vote for someone who will stand up for you and your family instead.

If you are a Labour supporter who lives somewhere where the only way of beating the Conservative candidate is a Liberal Democrat then I need you to lend me your vote.

Every Liberal Democrat MP elected tomorrow will stand up for a better deal on Europe. Every Liberal Democrat MP elected tomorrow will stand up for your schools and hospitals. And every Liberal Democrat MP elected tomorrow will stand up to Theresa May on the dementia tax and everything else. Stand up and make your vote count for the Liberal Democrats tomorrow.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Eddie Sammon 7th Jun '17 - 9:15am

    Vote Lib Dem for its strong manifesto, not promising mass billions of freebies all to be paid for by a “small tax increase on the top 5%”. Labour’s manifesto is a con. On foreign policy too: their idea that the terrorists will leave us alone if we leave them alone won’t work either and isn’t good for international relations.

    Tim has already given reasons why not to vote Conservative.

  • John Littler 7th Jun '17 - 9:19am

    This one should be a gift to the Liberal/Left view on Terror, but in an election, that will not be how it is twisted in the right wing press.
    Clegg was on the BBC R4 Today Programme pointing out that one of the three was apprehended in Italy on his way to Syria and told a Policeman that “he wanted to be a terrorist” This was put on the SIS EU database with full access for the UK. He comes back into the UK at Stansted and do Immigration (or Customs) check this on an obviously high risk individual? No, apparently, the British security services do not all take that database seriously, because it is not from the anglo (5 eyes) world.

    We are told how very difficult it is for our security services to locate these people and track them, but how more bloody obvious can you get than this which was practically giftwrapped?

    So what is the reaction we get from May. Is it a review of Police, security forces and border security procedures, training on use of the European databases, better targeting profiles, or increasing staff numbers?

    No, apparently we need to restrict human rights on everyone and planned cuts in police staff will continue. Also, crucially, in a nationalist obsession to wipe away every trace of European Court input, we will make it impossible and illegal for the UK to continue to access all aspects of the SIS database which would have enabled border security or other forces to apprehend or monitor that killer.

    Tory rule is dumb, self serving and dangerous. And it falls into giving the Terrorists what they want, which is to impact on our lives and make ourselves less free.

  • Dave Orbison 7th Jun '17 - 10:22am

    Yes, finally Tim Farron gets it. The Tories would be a disaster. Great points as to why a Tory Government would harm the UK. Great stuff – but all on the last day of campaigning…

  • “The Tories are heartless”……. Yes, and I’m afraid many of us who had been in the party for many many years knew that back in 2010. Unfortunately it’s the albatross round our neck and will be for some time yet.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Jun '17 - 12:09pm

    If it’s a hung parliament our support should go to the largest party, providing we can get something out of it. Be careful not to blow all the political capital on a second referendum though, which all indications show we would lose. Guarantee rights for migrants and the Single Market instead. The Tories probably wouldn’t agree to it anyway.

  • Hung Parliament Eddie: we do not get involved, paddle our own canoe, mind you we may not have any paddles?

  • Richard Butler 7th Jun '17 - 3:33pm

    ‘heartless’ is celebrating the plundering of the Human resources of impoverished nations, from Romanian Doctors to Ethiopian Nurses. Compassion is finding ways to train British youth for those roles, and thereby encouraging Nigerian nurses to aid Nigerian children that have far less than we greedy British.

  • Richard Butler 7th Jun '17 - 3:37pm

    SECURITY. In nation governed by the competitive compassion brigade, the worlds 65 million refugees and billions of would-be economic migrants will receive the message a ‘liberal’ soft touch Britain is the place to be. This harms their own nations, hampering their development and causes huge strain on British housing and other resources not to mention keeping lower end wages down to living wage levels rather than allowing them to rise through the effects of limited labour supply.

    What is compassionate in attracting dynamic youngsters from Bulgaria that needs them far more than we? What is compassionate about encouraging British firms to rely on infinite cheap labour from abroad rather than HAVING to train our young?

  • Malcolm Todd 7th Jun '17 - 4:07pm

    “If you are a Labour supporter who lives somewhere where the only way of beating the Conservative candidate is a Liberal Democrat then I need you to lend me your vote.”

    Did you miss the part where he presumably said, “If you are a Lib Dem supporter who lives somewhere where the only way of beating the Conservatives is a Labour candidate then I need you to lend them your vote”?

  • David Evershed 7th Jun '17 - 4:13pm

    We are presenting ourselves as anti-Conservative rather than pro Liberal Democrat.

    What happened to running a positive campaign?

    Also, we should be positioning ourselves as equi – distant from Labour and Conservative. The biggest pool of electors we want to switch to us currently vote Conservative. We are not going to win them over by calling them heartless – which they aren’t.

    This negative approach may be thought to be tactically right for now but is strategically damaging to the party in the long term. The party hierarchy has no vision.

  • “… a bad Brexit deal”

    Surely, the right way to tackle Theresa May is not the continuation of Project Fear (which didn’t work in the referendum campaign) but, as Bill le Breton says on another recent thread, to sow DOUBT.

    Ask probing questions about the details, both the practical mechanics and the vision; let any snake oil be exposed. When the answers are not forthcoming or evasive (as they will be) doubt will grow.

    For example, ask how the Tories plan to manage the big jump in customs clearances on both sides of the Chanel if we are not in a customs union. At present they run at around 50 million pa. A new £70m software system is scheduled to go live in 2019 but will only handle 100 m customs clearances pa. After Brexit that number jumps to nearly 400 m items pa. But Dover only has space for 40 minutes waiting for trucks queueing for clearance.

    Unless May has a rabbit under her hat, this doesn’t work so we’re boxed in to stay in the customs union (and to accept EU rules without a say in making them) or trade seizes up. Which is it to be? Please explain.

    Then there’s the Leavers’ argument that we are in a strong position vs the EU27 because we have a trade deficit with them of circa £60 bn pa, an average of 17% of their outside EU trade. But we have perhaps 3x more trade at risk since >40% of our trade that goes to the EU27 plus the unknown (to me) amount that goes to the other 50 or so countries we trade with under EU agreements.

    On top of that how much of our trade will be impaired because vital components are held up in Calais?

    If May has solutions for these practical points, fine – but she should share her ‘business plan’ for the UK with us lesser mortal who don’t see how this can possibly work.

    Then there is the City. The EU27 are casting envious eyes on the jobs and tax revenues. There is no way they are going to allow it to continue as the financial centre of the EU. So, how many jobs, how much tax revenue will be lost? Where will she make the matching budget cuts – the NHS, care, education, housing or all of these?

  • Yellow Submarine 7th Jun '17 - 6:49pm

    Regrettably I’ll be voting Lib Dem tomorrow. It’s to soon to forgive you for the catastrophic handling of the Coalition. You’ve shown no signs of remorse and massive signs of denial about the situation your in. Unfortunately the other 3 parties in my seat are worse and I can’t bring myself to spoil my ballot paper in such a consequential election. I also have a secret soft spot for Farron. Anyone who voluntarily takes on such a hopeless cause with such good cheer is a Saint. So you don’t deserve my vote but will get it because our society deserves better than what is coming down the tracks.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jun '17 - 4:35am

    Eddie Sammon

    Be careful not to blow all the political capital on a second referendum though, which all indications show we would lose.

    What we SHOULD have said from the start is that we would support a second referendum IF there was evidence that the public were having doubts about whether Brexit was a good idea. It has been a disaster for us to put across the impression that we would force one through regardless of whether anyone wanted it.

    I remember when the referendum results came in saying that it would be a serious mistake if we were to paint ourselves as “the party of the 48%”, but we have done just that. I myself strongly opposed, and still do, leaving the EU, but I could sympathise with many of those who voted Leave. If I felt Leave would really deliver what they wanted, I’d have voted that way myself. Many people are so unhappy about various aspects of the way our country is going, and thought that voting Leave was a way of protesting about it. We should have shown a real understanding of those people and their concerns. By dealing with the real causes of those concerns, which are nothing to do with the EU, we may have done a better job of showing the cynicism of the Leave campaign in taking advantage of them to gain support while in reality supporting almost the opposite of what would really help them. Instead, we have allowed the Leave lot to continue misleading, by acting in a way that means they can paint us as a party that is dismissive of those concerns and contemptuous of people who have them.

    I am sorry that this final speech as given here seems to consist mainly of negative attacks. That isn’t working. I believe in constructive opposition, meaning if you oppose something you do it by placing an emphasis on the alternative. Initially it was surprising that Corbyn was a lot less attacking on the Tories than one supposed someone from his position would be, but it looks like that has worked out well for him in the end.

    I remain of the belief that we need a multi-party system. The Liberal Democrats are still the only realistic third party, in England at least. So I don’t want them to be wiped out, and I think for that reason they should be supported where they have a realistic chance of winning. I wish I could have been more positive than that.

  • Richard Fagence 8th Jun '17 - 8:32am

    In recent days, The One Show on BBC 1 has been playing five minute clips of each of the party leaders just before the end of the show. If you haven’t already seen Tim’s clip, I suggest you take five minutes to find it on I-Player. I thought it was excellent and even my politically cynical wife said “I like him”. Whatever the outcome today, there needs to be more of this sort of approach to the public in the months to come. (By the way, Ukip declined to take part in this exercise. Probably very wise,)

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Jun '17 - 2:34pm

    Mathew Huntbach

    I have said before you both interest and irritate me but I respect you even as you rail against my views sometimes.

    I think what you write here is terrific !

  • Richard Underhill 9th Jun '17 - 5:03pm

    The final speech was in the National Liberal Club after the results, introduced by the effervescent new MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.
    When Nicola Sturgeon started to speak the BBC switched to Scotland, so please may we have Tim Farron’s speech here?

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