WATCH: Nick Clegg slams “brazen, industrial-scale lies” peddled by Leave campaign

In an emotional and angry speech to Hammersmith and Fulham Liberal Democrats on Friday night, Nick Clegg set out his fury at the result of the EU Referendum. He emphasised how funders of the Leave campaign had their own interests for a low-regualation economy resulting from Brexit:

He says that we need to hold on to that anger – while anger can be destructive, it’s also an important and powerful emotion, he said.

David Cameron and George Osborne do not escape his wrath either. How dare they have thought they could risk our kids’ future to settle a dispute in their own party.

He calls for a General Election as the Tories have no mandate to impose their Brexit strategy, if one even exists, on the country.

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  • He is of course totally right. The question is what we can do about it. We have put ourselves in the hands of others. They will decide. Or are we prepared to leave without agreements? Or perhaps what? When is someone going to tell us? Nick was totally right.

  • Tsar Nicholas 3rd Jul '16 - 4:25pm

    No mandate? Did he miss the fact that 35 million people cast their votes and made a clear decision?

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Jul '16 - 4:40pm

    It is interesting, if ironic, to hear Nick Clegg articulating the politics of opposition, instead of articulating some ‘grown up politics’, like Vince Cable did on this site last week.

    Sure we can bang on about the ‘lies in the leave campaign’ and we can campaign for an immediate general election. Perhaps it might raise our support level for a week or two until people realise its ineffectiveness. We are not going to get an early general election – read Mrs May’s lips.

    And actually an immediate general election would see a huge rise in UKIP representation and power. It was the political class on both sides of the argument who used used lies to stoke fear and chaos during the referendum campaign.

    The Radio 4 Media Show asked a couple of journalists why they had not been able to expose the Leave campaign’s lies? The answer was that they contained elements of truth that made it impossible to call them out as ‘lies’. And Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman has said that the remain campaigns economic claims demonstrated ‘a lowering of intellectual standards’.

    I was amazed that the leave campaigners did not come out on Friday morning with their ‘plan’, but equally, I was amazed that Cameron did not announce his resignation for September but say what he was going to do to take matters forward in the interim. What was missing of course was the ‘plan’ that civil servants should have been working on during purdah for a leave eventuality. Just as there are two Queens Speeches ready after a general election. But we know why civil servants were stopped from doing that.

    So what would grown up politics be about now? There is almost general agreement that the UK opening negotiation will be EEA or versions of EEA +. Grown up Liberal politics would be setting out (in my opinion) the pure EEA solution (which includes the single market and the four freedoms) and setting out our arguments against the various ‘+’ features that the Tories and Labour will express and campaigning against UKIP’s ‘all out’ option.

    Grown up politics is not grandstanding – it is constructive, credible opposition.

  • @Tsar Nicholas – Did you miss the fact that 17 million is only a significant minority out of an electorate of 46 million; not a majority; I appreciate many people have a problem with maths, so it isn’t helpful to those who have a littled grasp of maths to constantly repeat the lie of 2+2=3… The only clear decision that can be deduced from the result is an overwhelming vote for the status quo. So that actually means remain; with no further integration (ie. “loss of sovereignty”).

  • Leave campaigners do not have a plan. Nor do remain campaigners of course but they don’t need one. We are going to have to negotiate with Europe and with the rest of the world country by country. USA and China have already made their views known.

    We could of course ask Europe can we please share their treaties. And be in the common market. Does the referendum result mean we can do that? Who decides what it means? There is no plan, there was no plan, and it is unlikely there ever will be.

  • At the moment, the referendum being complete, one can hardly speak of a “remain campaign” still being in existence in any sense. Of course, there can still be a movement to either remain in or return to the EU, but such a movement definitely does need a plan, as the paths to that end seem quite dubious, not least because the leave proponents have chosen to leave the country in the dark as to their true intentions and timetable!

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Jul '16 - 10:57pm

    Tom, you sensibly ask, “We could of course ask Europe can we please share their treaties. And be in the common market. Does the referendum result mean we can do that?”

    The answer is Yes. We can following the result of the referendum step back to the European Economic Area (EEA) and EFTA.

    And explanation of how and why is to be found here:

    And according to GusO’Donnell on the Today programme last week, the civil service are working on this right now.

  • Andrew McCaig 3rd Jul '16 - 11:37pm

    yes, and if the EU will allow us to negotiate our future position before we leave (which at the moment they say we can’t), then the EEA route will be the least disruptive by far..

    However the Norwegians were at pains to tell us that while it was ok for them (because of fishing, and because they generally like EU regulations, apparently), it will not be anything like as good for us as full membership because we will have no influence over EU legislation and no veto and hence it will gradually move away from our interests… Better than leaving the single market, but far from ideal and once the right wing press get hold of it, probably very unpopular..

  • John Barrett 4th Jul '16 - 12:05am

    Nick’s shock, horror and indignation that the Tories put the future of our country at risk by holding the EU referendum would be more credible if he had not in the past supported an In/Out referendum on Europe.

    Both sides lied during the campaign, just as the SNP told numerous “porkies” during the Scottish referendum. To be honest all parties have been economical with the truth during General Election campaigns during my 35 years in the party.

    It is no use complaining after a democratic vote that the electorate got it wrong.

    Lib-Dems have always believed this to be the case in the majority of seats in the majority elections.

  • Bill, we can’t step back to anywhere. The civil service can work all they please, but in the end we have a free trade area, a common market. If the answer is a EU without the democracy there is no mandate in the referendum for that. So where do we go?

  • Peter Watson 4th Jul '16 - 12:53am

    @John Barrett “Nick’s shock, horror and indignation that the Tories put the future of our country at risk by holding the EU referendum would be more credible if he had not in the past supported an In/Out referendum on Europe.”
    “In the past” was not that long ago …
    In 2015 Lib Dems campaigned on a manifesto commitment to “Hold an In/Out referendum when there is next any Treaty change involving a material transfer of sovereignty from the UK to the EU.”.
    In 2010 the Lib Dem manifesto stated “The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.”

  • John Barrett 4th Jul '16 - 10:02am

    Peter – I stand corrected. I only mentioned this because there has been a constant refrain from Lib-Dems that Cameron granting any referendum at all was unacceptable.

    It should be no surprise when the winners are happy and the losers complain.

    The party leadership also delighted in the result of the Scottish Referendum, when the official party line was to support the Better Together side, which won. It is worth remembering that Lib-Dems opposed the holding of that referendum too, but then participated, campaigned and celebrated that victory. It appears that it is being on the losing side this time has resulted in selective memory from many as it did with the SNP, who were on the losing sides last time too.

    The other constant refrain is that the other side lied, and I have no doubt they did, but we have no say in what other parties do or say, I just expect my own party to stand on higher ground.

    Take Nick’s comments in this piece about dodgy hedge funds. Anyone would take from what he said that the Remain side had nothing to do with such dodgy funds. Yet I see in yesterday’s papers that the owner of one such fund who ploughed £3.5m of his own money into the remain campaign promptly made £1.1bn from Brexit. dodgy or what?

  • David Evershed 4th Jul '16 - 12:38pm

    You couldn’t get a much bigger lie than that by the Remainer George Osborne.

    He said that a Brexit vote would result in having to raise taxes and cut public services. Since the result of the election he has reversed this assertion, is increasing government borrowing targets and proposing reducing corporation tax.

    Nick Clegg might also remember his pledge not to increase tuition fees – he lied.

    Politicians lie during election campaigns. It is not linked to Leave campaigners any more than Remain campagners.

  • Tony Dawson 4th Jul '16 - 1:14pm

    It is not a good time to be a politician in Britain. Besides the huge Brexit lies, there was a fair amount of blatant dishonesty from some of the Tory Remain supporters in particular. Watching Sajid Javid squirming on the Marr show the other week was not a pleasant experience and now George Osborne is being feted in some circles for proposing something with company taxes which appears to some to be the opposite of what he said he’d do if Brexit came about.

    What I would say, however, is that talk of industrial scale lies might come better from someone who was not the author of this:

  • Nick told a particularly big porky on national TV when he said that the British in Europe were around the same number as Europeans in Britain. And that wasn’t his only porky either that night.

    The Lib Dems’ 2010 general election manifesto promised an in/out referendum the next time there was a change in the relationship between UK and EU btw. Pretty much the same position as Cameron some might say.

    Just why the Liberals have positioned themselves as the main pro-EU party has always puzzled me and I’m more Europhile than most; having live in France and Spain fro years. There are even less votes in being pro-EU than in pretending to be the new green party. What has not been considered is that the EU does not necessarily represent European harmony so much as self-aggrandizing and mostly unelected politicians and bureaucrats and just perhaps the UK are wise to this. Perhaps they are pro-EU but just not this EU.

    What Liberals should concentrate on is the economy and how to fix it. Yet they remain bafflingly fixated on trivia that does not figure on the list of priorities of the electorate.


    Standing in for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Clegg surprised MPs by saying: “It is a question of when, not if, because the rules [of the EU] are bound to change.”

    Mr Clegg said: “We should have a referendum on Europe when the rules change. We said that at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. We said that in our manifesto. We have legislated on it and we will say it again.”

    What a loser! From the roses of success he brought the ashes of disaster.

  • Richard Boyd OBE DL 4th Jul '16 - 4:49pm

    An interesting speech with many points that should have been widely circulated BEFORE the election. Did we (and he) learn nothing from the style, funding, and content of the AV referendum? My children, like his, have EU citizen mothers and, through that, access to another passport. Why should they have to consider such a choice? Yes, the LD’s would be ignored by the National Media during the campaign – what’s different? But the local press, and local radio, is a better and fairer access to voters – did we use our resources there?

  • Stevan Rose 4th Jul '16 - 10:44pm

    I would be more indignant about Leave lies if Remain hadn’t concocted their own untruths and gross exaggerations.

    The EU question was ripping the country apart and a referendum was the only way to deal with it. What shocked me was the dismal failure of Tory, Labour and Lib Dem leaders to run an effective and truthful campaign to Remain. There were times it seemed we were being sabotaged from within.

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