Victoria Derbyshire Lib Dem Leadership hustings open thread

Stay with us as Jo and Ed take part in a live head to head tv debate on BBC2 and BBC News Channel in a few minutes. This is particularly important as ballot papers are despatched tomorrow.

The BBC have actually been promoting this well, too.

The pair will take questions by a studio audience comprised of Lib Dem members and voters.

And we’re off.

(UPDATE: Watch the whole thing here.

The budget doesn’t seem to have stretched to stools, thankfully.

First up – each gets a minute’s pitch

Jo says she says country is crying out for a liberal movement to stand up against the narrow nationalism Farage and Johnson. Our country deserves better, a vision of hope. We need to build an economy that puts people and planet first.

Ed says he wants to end Brexit quickly by a people’s vote. If we stay we’ll have a lot of money to tackle problems like inequality and building public services. He says that we need to green our economy and that his experience and vision are what we need. He reveals that he turned down the chance to be “double oh davey”. He chose to work for Paddy Ashdown rather than MI6.

Derbyshire challenges them that there is no time for a People’s Vote. It can’t be done by October 31st.

Jo Swinson says that we will get an extension from the EU for a People’s Vote. The prospect of a No Deal exit focuses the mind of MPs who have not yet backed a people’s vote.

Ed Davey says that MPs need to grab the order paper to require a vote by MPs before we leave.

He describes the nuclear option of a vote of no confidence in the government which could lead to a general election. He would prefer a government of national unity headed by a backbench Labour MP which will pass legislation for a People’s Vote.

Ex Lib Dem Member Luke to join Renew asks what they would do to work on a Remain Alliance.

Jo says we should do whatever it takes to stop Brexit as the threat to our country is so huge. Lib Dems are biggest, most consistent remain party. In a general election, we need to be smarter about working together. In Peterborough all of the practicalities were put in place for a Remain candidate before he pulled out at the last minute. She says that local members are important.

Ed says he agrees with Jo. We have to get the Remain vote together in a general election. He advocates tactical voting as in 1997 and 2001. He says he’d be up for going further  if we are faced by the horror of a Leave alliance between Farage and Johnson. Lib Dems have been least tribal – standing down for Caroline Lucas.

Torrin Wilkins from Liberal Leave (Victoria Derbyshire observes this must be a lonely life) says if we end up with a Norway style deal after another referendum, would Lib Dems deliver that.

Jo says People’s Vote needs to have a specific Brexit on the ballot paper. In 2016, Brexit meant whatever you want it to say.

She says that now we know what Brexit means, people will be able to vote on that specific proposal.

She says that in politics you always argue for what you believe in. A People’s Vote would put the Brexit issue to bed for good.

Ed says that we wouldn’t have a third referendum. A second referendum with the extra information that we know now would be final. However, that wouldn’t change his view that Britain would be better in the EU.

He says that it would be undemocratic to cancel Brexit without the people’s say so but people are entitled to change their mind.

Jo says that Brexit is an irrevocable decision and she doesn’t have confidence that this outcome is what the people wanted us to do. We need to make sure we have the people behind us.

Labour voter Liz says she is looking for a new home. What would the candidates do to heal the divisions in the country?

Ed says that Labour has gone to far left while Conservatives have gone to right. Lib Dems are a political home to those pro EU liberal Labour and Tory people. We should have a programme to invest in public services, tackle the climate emergency and be a party of government.

Jo talks about two big divides – economic and cultural. Economy doesn’t work for so many people even if they work hard and try to get on. We need to change the way our economy works and that is one of the ways to start healing.

What worries her about the Brexit vote is what sort of country it say we are. Country is becoming a less tolerant case and we have to be robust at promoting our liberal values.

Rachel from Scotland asks if a second Brexit referendum happens, why not a second Scottish independence referendum.

Jo says that we shouldn’t have a Scottish independence referendum. In 2014 in Scotland we had a debate based on a very detailed white paper. There is no mandate in Scotland for a second independence referendum. SNP lost 21 MPs in 2017 when this was a key issue. She says that most people in Scotland want to stay in EU and UK and Lib Dems are the only party that supports that.

Ed agrees with Jo. He says that we have seen how difficult and costly it has been for Britain to leave the EU. It would be much more complicated to leave the UK after 300 years. He says that Brexit would be disruptive but independence would be even worse for Scottish people.

Conservative voter Nick who is a managing director says that his company has prepared for Brexit and he thinks that they should go soon.

Former Labour voter Kate thinks that we have some responsibility for Brexit vote because of effects of austerity.

Ed says that he regrets things like the Bedroom Tax which he didn’t believe in but he thinks that Lib Dems did a great deal on mental health, same sex marriage, climate change.

He highlights how we stopped George Osborne wanted to go far further on cutting welfare benefits.

He thinks that the financial crash was the ultimate cause of the Brexit vote – and it was Vince Cable who was saying to Labour ahead of that to change course.

Jo says that the Lib Dems were not responsible for the referendum as it only happened after we left. She acknowledges that we should not have gone back on what we said on tuition fees. She says we delivered a policy that has meant more people from low income backgrounds going to university but we should never have gone back on what we said.

Asked about a future coalition, Jo says that there is no way that Lib Dems under her would do a deal with either Brexit Party. Stopping Brexit and electoral reform would be key priorities.

Ed says he agrees with Jo. He thinks that we can hold the balance of power and hold back either party from extremes. If there are a lot of Lib Dem MPs, we can exercise huge influence.

He says that if there was a decent partner for a coalition we would do it. We should be prepared to work with people who are less extreme.

Leena Farhat, candidate in Wales says that we have worked with other parties and we need to put slight differences aside to do so.

Lib Dem voter Sue  suggests that we have good enough policies on our own and we should be going to form a majority government. Ed agrees that we should be going for a win for policies and values.

Jo says she is common to working with others where we share values. She will not work with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn because they do not share our values. She cites More United as a great way of working cross party to get stuff done. She says we should aim to get into government on our own, though.

Lib Dem West Oxfordshire Councillor Jake Acock says that we need to be more open as a party. Should we be heading for government and not working with others.

Ed says that we should be going for power for ourselves but there will be issues where we need to work with others – especially on key issues like the climate emergency. Lib Dems stood down for Caroline Lucas.

Jo is challenged on the questions she has been having with Tory MPs. She says she is not getting into the numbers. It is difficult for people who are thinking about leaving a political party and these conversations need to stay private until any decisions are made.

Ed says that he is also having conversations about MPs joining us. The best way of attracting more people is to be more successful.

Jo says that the Liberal Democrats are a united party, we are optimistic about our future and we know where we are going.

Jo highlights the role of members in setting LIb Dem policy. She says we need to transform the economy so it works for people and planet, and make best use of new technology.

Ed’s priorities are healing divided country, tackling inequality and the climate emergency.

Jo is challenged on donation from boss of fracking firm. She says he is a long term LIb Dem supporter and he has a company that has 80% renewables. She is and always has been anti-fracking and his money comes from him as an individual.

Ed now challenged on £680 on two fans for office. He refuses to apologise for looking after his staff to make their working environment tolerable.

Question from a young Labour voter on education and engaging young people.

Ed says on tuition fees, one of the things we did was ensure maintenance grants for people from poorer backgrounds and bursaries for student nurses. Tories got rid of both.

He says that these would be reinstated. There is a case for moderate tax rises to pay for all of this.

Jo says that best place to put educational investment is in the early years to give kids best start in life and level the playing field. She says  we need to get away from mindset that we do education until we are 22. There will be a huge change in world of work and people should be learning throughout their lives so that they can reskill and retrain. This is good for individual wellbeing and the economy.

Let’s hope someone gets gifs of Ed and Jo when Derbyshire reads out a tweet from someone saying that Lib Dems are fascists. They both rolled their eyes.

On engaging young people, Jo says that many people recognise that we are the strongest party of Remain and we are prepared to work with others to achieve the People’s Vote. She says social media is important but the things that generate the most engagement are the humorous things.

Ed says that he wants us to be the party of education and the environment.

Amanda, Lib Dem councillor in Cambridge, says she wants to see a more diverse party. What will the candidates do?

Rod Lynch from the Lib Dem Campaign for Racial Equality wants to know how they will engage with people who don’t vote or aren’t registered to vote.

Jas says she is the only member of the SE Exec who is BAME. She feels like the only person of colour and says she feels really drained.

Jo says that she has set up the Party’s Campaign for Gender Balance. Over 20 years she has been trying to improve diversity. She has ended up thinking that we need measures to deliver diversity. She says we need to pierce the complacency on this that exists in the party.

Ed says he represents a diverse community and we should consider things like all women shortlists. He says he will ask people to stand and give them his personal support.

Now for quick fire questions

Both confess to  speeding when asked if they have ever broken the law.

Ed says he hasn’t cried in 11 years since the birth of his first child. Jo said earlier this week watching Fleabag.

Neither of them know the names of the English world cup captain. Or the Scottish one for that matter. Jo says she isn’t interested in football but her son Andrew would know.

She says John Cleese isn’t welcome in the Lib Dems after his tweet about London not being an English city because we have to be inclusive. Ed calls on him to apologise but he doesn’t think he should be drummed out for one statement.

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9 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 27th Jun '19 - 10:34am

    Victoria Derbyshire is insisting on her own opinions. She should allow the candidates to speak.

  • @ Richard Underhill “Victoria Derbyshire is insisting on her own opinions. She should allow the candidates to speak”.

    I’m afraid they’re going to have to learn to cope with that, Mr. Underhill, especially when Andrew Neil is unleashed on them. In fact, Ed did deal with it with a nice bit of self-deprecating humour.

  • Christopher Haigh 27th Jun '19 - 3:05pm

    @DavidRaw-I agree with you David. LibDems will be put under great pressure by TV journalists about our time in coalition. Also our commitment to the ‘Peoples Vote’ where we will be asked what is our response to a possible further leave vote. We need answers that do not offend our existing and potential supporters.

  • David Becket 27th Jun '19 - 3:53pm

    Ed stood up to her, and got applause

  • If it were a regular hustings, then yes, the host being a bit more generous and letting the contestants speak at length would be desirable, but this was for a tv show on the BBC for a general audience. It’s to be expected, and right that they were challenged more robustly, even if it did get a bit annoying for those of us who would have personally preferred something tailored for ourselves.

    We wouldn’t expect contenders from other parties to be given free reign to talk at length without at least a few interruptions, and the winner, along with all of our MPs if we’re honest, will have to deal with aggressive interviews come the next election. They might as well get a bit of practice now.

  • Elaine Woodard 28th Jun '19 - 12:47am

    Having been to a hustings and watched the online hustings I was really pleased to see Ed and Jo tested today. They’ve both said they’re good with the media and this was a great way to compare them having the same interviewer and audience, I thought they both handled it well.

  • Sean Hyland 28th Jun '19 - 1:07am

    Impressed with both. Regarding the donation – it may be personal money but he makes it partly from fracking. Perception will be of a double standard and is another line of attack from other parties. Why give the opposition the ammunition. Hope Ed hasn’t also got any donations that could be spun against him as well.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Jun '19 - 10:05am

    David Raw 27th Jun ’19 – 1:08pm
    There was one occasion when Victoria Derbyshire presented a perception as if it were a fact. Jo Swinson gave a different view but was shut down.
    Andrew Neil can be wrong sometimes, such as forecasting the result of the most recent US Presidential election. Hillary Clinton is not Barrack Obama.
    Politicians of all parties should be aware that Andrew Neil sets up traps on factual issues and asks question about them. When the interviewee rolls out the line to take he demolishes them. Perhaps that will happen to Boris Johnson, which could be entertaining. Andrew Neil’s comments on matters of opinion are defended by the BBC as jokes. Diane Abbott MP (Labour) knew him well and called him “an alpha male”, which he accepted (just short of calling him a bully?)
    Grand Inquisitor Robin Day had stood for the Commons as a Liberal during Jo Grimond’s time. ISBN 0 297 79660 7. While waiting to be gazetted for a knighthood on the basis of (“services to journalism”) he spoke at a dinner at the National Liberal Club. Uniquely he said he wanted to answer questions, before, during and after dinner. He liked my question about his use of cinéma vérité, in Egypt, just before the Suez crisis, but declined to answer it, to the amusement of the diners.
    Given another opportunity I would like to ask him whether his experience as a practitioner made him a better journalist.
    Robin Day was Interviewed on tv by his friend Ludovic Kennedy, an unashamed Liberal, but it was like nailing jelly to the wall. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovic_Kennedy.

  • A tricky question the candidates got asked on the 20 July BBC2 debate was “How are you going to appeal to Leavers?”

    The answer surely is that the Lib Dems should not expect to appeal to Leavers. Labour may try to face both ways and be all things to all people, and end up being trusted by nobody. The Lib Dems are more clear and honest about their convictions.

    Painting leavers as disavantaged, disaffected people who can be brought onside by handing them money from the “Remain Dividend” strikes me as a bit condescending.

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