15 November 2018 – today’s press releases

A tricky day for a Press Team, I’d suggest. After all, all the attention is directed towards who might, or might not, resign, and whether or not a leadership contest will be called. Who’d be a press officer under such circumstances?… Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown Cable: PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for […]

A tricky day for a Press Team, I’d suggest. After all, all the attention is directed towards who might, or might not, resign, and whether or not a leadership contest will be called. Who’d be a press officer under such circumstances?…

  • Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown
  • Cable: PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options
  • Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard
  • Cable: ‘No Brexit’ clearly on the table
  • Cable: PM in Brexit denial

Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown

Responding to the resignation of Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable said:

The Government started Britain on a journey with no actual idea of their route or their destination. The Conservative Government is in meltdown and it’s clear the Conservatives are now driving the country off a cliff.

The Tories are finally realising what we have always known. There is no way to prevent Brexit from leaving our country worse off.

A People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, where they can choose to remain in the EU, is the only route out of this uncertainty. It is time people had the power to end this mess.

Cable: PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today criticised Theresa May for failing to prepare for no Brexit, despite admitting it was an option.

Speaking in response to the Prime Minister’s Brexit statement in the House of Commons today, Vince Cable said: “The Prime Minister rightly asserts that there are two alternatives to her plan, no deal and no Brexit.”

He added: “The Government is investing considerably in contingency planning for no deal. What contingency planning is she doing for no Brexit? Including, for example, advising the Commission that Article 50 may have to be withdrawn? And is she herself preparing for the fact, however much she hates it, that the House may instruct her to carry out a People’s Vote?”

In response, the Prime Minister confirmed the Conservative Government was making no plans for no Brexit.

Following the exchange, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

For the livelihoods of people right across the UK, there is no deal better than the deal we currently have as EU members. That is why the Liberal Democrats have consistently made the case for remaining in the EU.

Given the Prime Minister’s botched deal is falling apart already, it is beyond incompetent that she has left the UK unprepared for the very real reality of no Brexit at all.

The future of our country should be decided by the people. The people must be given the final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the EU.

Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard

Responding to reports that UK- focused firms have been hit hard by the PM’s proposed Brexit deal, with RBS, Lloyds, Barclays, Marks and Spencer, Barratt, Berkeley and EasyJet all seeing falls in their share prices, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Ministerial resignations and Brexit chaos are hitting UK-based businesses hard.

But the short-term damage caused by a rudderless Government will be nothing compared to the permanent harm the PM’s bad deal or catastrophic No Deal would inflict on UK Plc.

That is why we need a People’s Vote to get us out of this mess and secure an exit from Brexit.

Cable: ‘No Brexit’ clearly on the table

Responding to Donald Tusk’s invitation to the UK to remain in the European Union, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Donald Tusk is right and it’s good to see that ‘No Brexit’ is clearly on the table from the EU.

Any sensible Government would be contingency planning for no Brexit, and I am pleased to see that the EU is now planning for it too.

The PM too has acknowledged now that there is a choice between no Brexit and no deal if her plans fail.

Recent events have shifted a People’s Vote from being possible to becoming probable. We must prepare to win the argument in the country: there is still time to exit from Brexit.

Cable: PM in Brexit denial

Responding to the Prime Minister’s press conference today, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The Prime Minister took a long time to say nothing this afternoon. She appears to be in denial.

The facts haven’t changed. There is no majority in Parliament for her deal, and she has rightly conceded that “No Brexit” is the real alternative to it.

There must now be a People’s Vote to break the deadlock and get the country out of this mess.

Vince: People’s Vote is now probable

Well, it’s been quite a day. I don’t work Thursdays, so under normal circumstances, I would have been glued to the telly and social media bringing you a blow by blow account of everything as it happened. As luck would have it, I was at a housing conference. It was excellent, I learned loads, I […]

Well, it’s been quite a day.

I don’t work Thursdays, so under normal circumstances, I would have been glued to the telly and social media bringing you a blow by blow account of everything as it happened.

As luck would have it, I was at a housing conference. It was excellent, I learned loads, I met lovely people and I wouldn’t have missed it for any political drama, even without the excellent scones, jam and cream at the afternoon tea break.

I will admit to the occasional glance at Twitter to see the drama unfold. Looks like my crystal ball was a bit wonky the other day when I said that ministers wouldn’t create a fuss to cling on to power. However, the way that Amber Rudd and Nicky Morgan have been shoring Theresa May up today makes me worry that some Tory Remainers are folding as they have done fairly regularly for the last 30 years or so. Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston are still flying the People’s Vote flag, though.

I was on a cold station platform when May held her press conference. I spent the journey home glued to Twitter. No, she wasn’t resigning, she was just spouting the same Brexity rubbish and clinging to her deal that only she really loves.

There is no way her deal is in anything like the national interest. David Lidington couldn’t say it would make us better off. We would end up abiding by rules we had no way in making. I think those rules are generally ok to be honest, but it’s better if we have some deal of ownership of them.

Not only that but a Sky News poll became the second major tv poll in a week to show a majority of support for remaining in the EU. 54% would choose Remain, while 55% want a People’s Vote.

The party hastily organised a rally for an exit from Brexit in Parliament Square tonight. Vince told the assembled crowd that a People’s Vote had moved from possible to probable. Here he is:

Earlier in the day, Christine Jardine talked about how the Liberal Democrats had led the way on campaigning for the People’s Vote and how it was now the only way out of this mess.

And we do have to get out of this mess. I was struck by a tweet today. If we allow Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to botch this up, it really could be a matter of life and death for some:

That was in response to a friend of mine who needs insulin to survive. Every day.

Nobody should be put in a position where they have to worry about whether they are going to be able to get their life sustaining drugs.

We really need to demand better than a Brexit secretary who resigns over a deal he negotiated and a Prime Minister who knows that she doesn’t have the votes in the Commons to carry it through but comes out with the same old rubbish regardless.

The next few weeks are critical for a People’s Vote. There’s a big anti Brexit Lib Dem action day in Scotland on Saturday, which is quite handy in the circumstances.

I shall leave you for the moment with our Press Office being on point again:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

14 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m…. Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes Failures on women’s health becoming the norm DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility Country still […]

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m….

  • Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages
  • Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes
  • Failures on women’s health becoming the norm
  • DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous
  • ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility
  • Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit
  • Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has warned the Tories are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages are a real possibility.

The Public Accounts Committee has today [14th November] published its report into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ preparations for Brexit.

The committee concluded that:

  • The Department is too complacent about potential disruption or interruption to trade
  • Fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters remain
  • Inadequate engagement with businesses means small businesses in particular are ill-prepared

The Public Accounts Committee is now calling on the Conservative Government to be clear about the impact of not being able to make the necessary legal changes in time.

Liberal Democrat MP and Public Accounts Committee member, Layla Moran said:

Following extensive evidence, there can be no confidence that food imports, food standards and food safety can be guaranteed if Brexit happens.

Muddling through in the hope of goodwill is unacceptably risky. We cannot have unsafe food, or worse no food at all, on the shelves after Brexit. This is not a price worth paying.

Liberal Democrats demand better. This mess can be avoided by giving the people a final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the EU.

Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes

Responding to the news that the minimum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals will be reduced to £2 in April of next year, Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson in the Commons, Christine Jardine said:

Tracey Crouch’s resignation sent shock waves through Number Ten and I am glad that the stake change will take effect from April.

There was no justifiable reason for the delay and it just showed how in the pocket of the gambling industry the Tories have been.

This is a victory for those like the Liberal Democrats who have been campaigning for this crackdown for a decade, and putting the interests of vulnerable people ahead of profits.

Failures on women’s health becoming the norm

Responding to the reports that more than 40,000 women in England have not received information regarding cervical cancer screening after a failure to send out letters by the NHS, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:

It is outrageous that women’s health has again been compromised with the failure to send out cervical cancer screening letters.

Only six months ago, the former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stood up in the Commons to apologise to women for failures to send invitations for breast cancer screening.

It is unacceptable that these failures seem to be becoming the norm. The Liberal Democrats demand better for women’s health, much better.

DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous

Responding to comments from the DUP’s Brexit Spokesperson, Sammy Wilson, in which he compared the EU’s Brexit deal to a “punishment beating for the UK because they dared to vote to leave the EU”, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Over the past few months there has been cross party agreement that the use of violent imagery and language has no place in our politics.

Sammy Wilson’s analogy is completely unacceptable and potentially dangerous. Many will read his words as being a clear reference to paramilitary violence and intimidation used during the Troubles in Northern Ireland by terrorist groups.

Politicians set the tone. In this time of division and rancour we must debate with respect and care.

‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility

Responding to this evenings statement by the Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’. Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on the draft Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

After five hours in a safe room, the PM and the Cabinet emerged to provide little detail on the divorce and nothing on our future relationship. She leaves the country none the wiser.

But at least she has accepted Parliament and the people have another choice: the option the Liberal Democrats have been pushing for two years, a People’s Vote.

The PM claims she owes it to the country to take decisions in the national interest. This deal, which leaves the UK a rule taker not a rule maker, is bad for Britain, bad for the NHS and bad for British jobs. It is a deal nobody voted for and nobody wants.

Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has warned that Theresa May’s Brexit deal “will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe”.

Article 8 of the withdrawal agreement, published by the Government this evening, states that the UK “shall cease to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of Union law”.

Article 63 states that we will only be able to access the Schengen Information System for a maximum of 3 months after the end of the transition period, and Europol’s SIENA platform for a maximum of 1 year.

Meanwhile, Article 62 makes clear that the European Arrest Warrant will only apply to people arrested before the end of the transition period.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May’s deal finally spells out in black and white what the Liberal Democrats have been warning about for the last two years: Brexit will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe.

After the transition period, we’ll lose the European Arrest Warrant and access to vital data-sharing systems, making it harder for the police to put serious criminals behind bars and keep us all safe.

The Government says it hopes to strike a ‘comprehensive’ deal on security co-operation, but euphemistically admits negotiations have been ‘particularly challenging’. Essentially, Theresa May is asking us to trust her to sort all this out within the next two years, while admitting that she’s failed to make any progress over the last two years.

Britain’s not buying it, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we are fighting to give the British people a say on Theresa May’s deal, including the option of an Exit from Brexit.

Brexit deal open thread….Lib Dems react

I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal and it looks like, thus far at least, I’ve been proven right. The thing is, Tories love power. They feel entitled to power. When they have it, even if they are trashing the place, […]

I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal and it looks like, thus far at least, I’ve been proven right. The thing is, Tories love power. They feel entitled to power. When they have it, even if they are trashing the place, they are not going to give it up. So they grit their teeth and put up with a deal we know that they hate.

The deal is by its very nature worse than the deal we have at the moment. For sure, the EU needs its backside kicking in many ways, but then so does our own governance. Let’s face it, we have a whole house full of unelected people, with special places reserved for the leaders of one denomination of one religion.  We allow governments elected on barely a third of the vote virtually unchecked power.

We have been leaders in the EU. We have helped form the rules. We’re giving up all that to take what we’re given. In what universe is that taking back control? It’s like we’ve gone into a restaurant and ordered a roast beef with all the trimmings and been given a heap of tripe.

Lib Dems have been reacting to the news tonight. Vince picked up on two little words in the PM’s statement – no Brexit, which she said was a possibility.

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’.  Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

“It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

 

Willie Rennie pointed out the chaos in the Tory Party:

This Conservative Government is in total chaos. The veneer of unity in the cabinet will not secure unity in the country, parliament or even their own party.

This deal will not satisfy anyone regardless of whether they voted leave or remain. Instead Brexit will hurt the pockets of ordinary people and leave the UK weakened.

Theresa May has a chance to steer the UK away from the cliff edge. She should call a People’s Vote and give the public the power to choose what happens next.

Earlier, Christine Jardine made the case for a People’s Vote on the BBC News Channel. If you bought a house, she said, and found out it had all sorts of structural problems, you would back out of the deal, she said.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

13 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve had a deluge of press releases today, perhaps unsurprisingly, given events… Moran: Isolation booths are a symbol of a broken education system Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care Lib Dems back move to defeat ‘craven’ Govt over FOBT delay Brexit will derail the gravy train Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less […]

We’ve had a deluge of press releases today, perhaps unsurprisingly, given events…

  • Moran: Isolation booths are a symbol of a broken education system
  • Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care
  • Lib Dems back move to defeat ‘craven’ Govt over FOBT delay
  • Brexit will derail the gravy train
  • Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less secure
  • Both Tories and Labour must be transparent about Brexit mess
  • Layla Moran: Botched Brexit can be stopped
  • Cable: Deal will be torn apart before ink is dry
  • MPs must now let people have final say on Brexit

Moran: Isolation booths are a symbol of a broken education system

Responding to a report by the BBC into the use of isolation booths in schools, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Isolation booths are barbaric, counterproductive and symbolic of a broken education system.

More and more schools are picking up the pieces of local government cuts with increasingly stretched resources.

People do not go into education to isolate pupils and dole out punishments reminiscent of custodial sentences. Government must make more funds available for schools so that behavioural issues can be managed in a proper way.

Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care

Responding to new official figures showing an unprecedented fall in the number of EU workers in the UK, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Even before we’ve left the EU, we’re seeing a Brexodus that is bad for British businesses and especially bad for our public services.

The NHS is already struggling to hire the doctors and nurses it needs. The social care system is desperately short of workers. And it will only get worse if the Tories take us out of the EU – deal or no deal.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we’re fighting to keep the UK in the EU, by giving the people a final say on the deal with the option of an Exit from Brexit.

That will ensure we retain the supply of EU workers that strengthens our public services and our economy, while also retaining the rights of British people to live, work and study elsewhere in the EU.

Lib Dems back move to defeat ‘craven’ Govt over FOBT delay

The Liberal Democrats have today announced they will back a cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill to ensure the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals are introduced within six months.

Speaking ahead of the vote next week, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

A few months ago I was approached by a mother who was distraught after her son had committed suicide as a result of distress caused by debts that had accrued from compulsive gambling.

There is now a network of grieving relatives who have been brought together by the same dreadful experience. Like them, I want the NHS to recognise gambling addiction as a serious mental health condition. Preventive action is also needed including urgent steps to curb some of the more exploitative practices like high stake fixed-odds betting terminals.

I and the Liberal Democrats will therefore work with others to stop these abusive practices and introduce a crackdown as promised. The Government has been utterly craven in giving in to lobbying from the industry and must now back the cross-party amendment or face defeat.

Liberal Democrat Culture, Media & Sport Spokesperson in the House of Commons, Christine Jardine, added:

Further delays are causing more and more vulnerable people to face financial stress, mental health problems and worse.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Liberal Democrats demand better, which is why we have been calling for the maximum stake to be reduced to £2 for nearly a decade.

The Tories have already taken too long to act, now they are kicking it into the long grass. It simply isn’t good enough.

Brexit will derail the gravy train

Responding to the reports that Premier Foods, who own Bisto, Oxo and Mr Kipling, have said it intends to stockpile raw materials in the run-up to Brexit as fears grow over gridlock at UK ports, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Last week we heard how dangerously close the UK is to not having a secure supply of the critical drugs or medical devices our NHS needs. This week, it is a major British food company which is being forced to make plans to stockpile ingredients to ensure they are ready for any Brexit scenario.

Premier Foods, which own the ‘nation’s favourite’ gravy, are expecting to spend up to £10m on Brexit preparations. This is simply further evidence of how Brexit will harm British businesses.

When the Brexiters spoke of “ending the gravy train”, the public did not expect a dry Sunday lunch. Nobody voted for this chaotic Brexit, people are entitled to a final say on Brexit in a People’s Vote to put a stop to this unnecessary, draining mess.

Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less secure

After an inspection report revealed Border Force staff shortages at British seaports, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Government to recruit more officers to secure our borders.

The report by David Bolt, the Government’s Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, details concerns among Border Force officers that the agency is “resourced to fail” and that, due to staff shortages, “the border is not secured by any stretch of the imagination”.

Home Office accounts show that funding for the Border Force has been cut by 8% in real terms since 2015 and the number of officers has been reduced by 7%, from 8,332 to 7,734.

Responding to the report, Ed Davey said:

The Border Force doesn’t have the officers it needs to cope with the pressures it faces now, let alone the extra pressures it will face if we leave the EU.

Despite all their tough talk on immigration, Tory cuts have left our borders less secure, allowing organised criminals to traffic people, weapons and illegal drugs into the UK.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will recruit more officers to an accountable, intelligence-led Border Force. That will help to secure our borders, rebuild trust in the immigration system and make our communities safer.

Both Tories and Labour must be transparent about Brexit mess

Following the passing of a motion in the House of Commons today calling on the Conservative Government to publish the legal advice it has received on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Tory Ministers must now be honest and upfront with the public and make available the final legal advice they have received on Brexit and the Northern Ireland backstop.

But frankly, Labour too have a problem with legal advice. Does their legal advice confirm whether Brexit is stoppable or whether their six tests are legally compatible? The public are entitled to know.

Both parties need to be transparent with the public on what Brexit will actually mean. It will be up to backbench MPs as to whether they blindly follow their shambolic leaderships or support a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

Layla Moran: Botched Brexit can be stopped

Today, at the Best For Britain & People’s Vote joint rally, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will declare that Brexit can be stopped but only through a People’s Vote, with an option for remain.

Full speech – **check against delivery**

Cast your minds back to that summer in 2016. I don’t just mean the vote I mean you. Where were you in your life?

Now think how much has changed? For me the single biggest change is that I was a teacher then, now I’m a member of Parliament.

And what made that happen? We had an election. An election where the country took away Theresa May’s majority and gave her a hung Parliament. The people said: work together, across Parliament, across all parties and deliver something we can all get behind.

But instead what did she do? She reached out to the hardliners in her Party and the DUP. And she’s botched it!

Turns out those hardliner demands weren’t deliverable.So now we face a deal that literally no one really wants.

Ok I admit I never wanted any deal other than the deal we have already. But this deal is a world apart from was promised by the Leave campaign.

This deal leaves us as a vassal state. It strips us of our voice and our seat at the table. If the Leave vote was about taking back control, this deal does the exact opposite.

And now the Government’s panicking. They want us to think that the only two options are no deal or bad deal.

But that’s not true. There is another way.

May’s deal will pale in comparison to what we’ve already got.

This botched Brexit can be stopped. This government has messed this up and they can’t deliver.

But we can stop this mess. Through a people’s vote on the deal with a choice that actually make sense. The bad deal – or the deal we’ve already got.

So this is a call to all those MPs who have yet to speak out. We are on the brink of one of the biggest, most pivotal moments in British history. Join us!

This is a call to all their constituents. If you haven’t written, email them tonight. Tell them what you think. Demand to be heard.

Demand that they do what is right by you and your family and the country and that they must do everything in their power to help avoid this catastrophic deal.

Demand for the people not politicians to be given the final say.

Cable: Deal will be torn apart before ink is dry

Responding to reports that the EU and UK negotiators have agreed the text of the EU withdrawal agreement, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Any Brexit deal will leave the UK weakened and the public poorer.

And before the ink is dry, the Conservative Party will tear into what little Theresa May has been able to agree.

The Prime Minister now faces a defeat in Parliament, as a majority will be hard or impossible to secure for what she has come up with.

A People’s Vote is now the only way to escape from this mess.

MPs must now let people have final say on Brexit

Responding to reports that the EU and UK negotiators have agreed the text of the EU withdrawal agreement, Liberal Democrats Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

No matter the deal, Brexit will hurt the pockets of ordinary people and leave the UK weakened. No one voted for this. No one deserves to be punished because of this Tory Brexit mess.

The Brexiters are now circling around the Prime Minister as the country edges towards chaos. The country deserves better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to a People’s Vote. We have campaigned for it, we have marched for it and we will vote for it. It is time MPs do the right thing and let the people decide.

WATCH: Vince Cable tell Europe’s Liberals that Brexit can be reversed

Here’s Vince Cable’s speech to the ALDE Congress in Madrid. The text follows: Friends, this is my first opportunity to speak at ALDE, an organisation which we firmly support. My main, simple, message is that, while we may not be involved in the EU elections, because of Brexit, the Lib Dems remain strongly committed to […]

Here’s Vince Cable’s speech to the ALDE Congress in Madrid.

The text follows:

Friends, this is my first opportunity to speak at ALDE, an organisation which we firmly support. My main, simple, message is that, while we may not be involved in the EU elections, because of Brexit, the Lib Dems remain strongly committed to the European Project: to the European Union.

Many of you are no doubt sick of Brexit, which has been a big distraction from the many pressing challenges which European countries need to address. I would, however, stress that Brexit is not yet a done deal. It is not inevitable.

We expect the Prime Minister to report a deal – a Withdrawal Agreement – in the next few weeks. Details are being assiduously leaked into the media. What is much less certain is that Parliament will accept what she comes up with.

My party – your voice in the UK – is, with support from a growing number of MPs in other parties, pressing for a People’s Vote: a confirmatory referendum, on the deal, with the option to remain in the EU. And it is not too late to bring it about.

You may not be aware of the shift in British public opinion. A large majority – about 80% – believe that the government has handled the negotiations badly, and more people blame the UK government than blame the EU for the problems that have arisen.

Many recognise that the big issues – like the Irish border, the customs arrangements, and the complex issues around a new trading arrangement – were scarcely discussed in the 2016 referendum.

There is now a clear majority who wish to Remain and an overwhelming majority amongst young people. A poll in the last fortnight – of a huge sample of 20,000 – showed Remain now has an 8 point lead over Leave.

That is why the campaign for a People’s Vote is so important and you will have seen evidence of the groundswell of support in the mass march of 700,000 people a few weeks ago. Among the wider public, 40% actively support the idea of a referendum on the deal; and 60% are open to the idea. Brexit can be reversed.

In our anti-Brexit campaigning, Liberal Democrats have given particular priority to the rights of three million Europeans living in Britain and the 1.5 million British expatriates living on the continent.

Even if the Withdrawal Agreement provides for ‘settled status’, the details are sketchy, the process unnecessarily complex, and the right to stay is fundamentally eroded by the fact EU citizens will have to pay fees to retain their residency rights. We will continue to fight for the rights of all European citizens, and hope you will urge your diasporas living in the UK to join and work with the Lib Dems in that fight.

Finally, I want to report to you that as a party we are in the process of transforming our party into a broader movement for liberal democracy in the UK. Building on the model successfully established in France and more recently by Ciudadanos in Spain, we aspire to hand political power to hundreds of thousands of people who join us as supporters. In so doing, we hope to build on the momentum we have created against Brexit, and help repair the broken democracy which led us to this point.

At this critical point in European and in British history, I ask that you keep faith with liberalism in Britain. That you keep faith with the strong forces in the United Kingdom who continue to see our future as European. And that, with us, you stand with the millions of British people who say democracies can change their minds, and that Brexit must be stopped.

9 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Today’s press releases are running on Spanish time today, which perhaps explains why I’ve missed my usual pre-midnight slot. Regardless, do enjoy today’s press releases… Another Johnson joins the campaign for a People’s Vote Responding as Jo Johnson resigns from the Government to campaign for a People’s Vote Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, said: We […]

Today’s press releases are running on Spanish time today, which perhaps explains why I’ve missed my usual pre-midnight slot. Regardless, do enjoy today’s press releases…

Another Johnson joins the campaign for a People’s Vote

Responding as Jo Johnson resigns from the Government to campaign for a People’s Vote Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, said:

We warmly welcome Jo Johnson’s support of the campaign to give the people the final say on the deal and a chance to exit from Brexit.

This is a fascinating situation in which Jo and his sister are united in opposing their brother Boris and his Brexit plans.

Meanwhile today the DUP have aired their concerns over the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. Theresa May is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Davey: Detention should be a last resort

Responding as the Government announces that it will close Campsfield House immigration detention centre, Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Locking vulnerable people up – often for months on end – without giving them any idea when they’ll be released is clearly inhumane. It’s also expensive and unnecessary.

It’s good to see that the Government is slowly recognising the need to detain fewer vulnerable people, but closing down one detention centre while keeping thousands of people locked up isn’t nearly enough.

Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling on the Government to close eight detention centres rather than just one, and make much greater use community-based alternatives to detention. That would save around £100 million that could be re-invested in an accountable Border Force and fixing the broken immigration system.

Cable: ‘Brexit can be reversed’

This afternoon, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable delivered a keynote speech to the ALDE conference in Madrid, telling the delegates ‘Brexit can be reversed’.

Speaking to ALDE delegates, Cable described the ‘large majority – about 80% – who believe that the Conservative government has handled the negotiations badly’ and the 700,000 who marched for a People’s Vote, as evidence that ‘Brexit can be reversed’.

He also urged liberals and democrats from across Europe to continue calling for citizens’ rights to be protected and ‘to work with the Lib Dems in that fight’.

Vince Cable said:

At this critical point not just in our history but in that of Europe, what I ask is that you keep faith with liberalism in Britain. That you keep faith with the strong forces in the UK which continue to see our future as a European country. And that, with us, you stand with the millions of British people who say democracies can change their minds, and that Brexit must be stopped.

How others see us: “Vince Cable leads the charge to reverse Brexit”

Vince makes Time magazine this week. In the wake of the 700,000 strong People’s Vote march, he sat down with Time’s Billy Perrigo to discuss all things Brexit. The article starts at that incredible march where Vince had the line of the day: London has a reputation for bad weather, but on Oct. 20 at […]

Vince makes Time magazine this week.

In the wake of the 700,000 strong People’s Vote march, he sat down with Time’s Billy Perrigo to discuss all things Brexit.

The article starts at that incredible march where Vince had the line of the day:

London has a reputation for bad weather, but on Oct. 20 at about midday, the sky was a perfect blue. That was good news for Vince Cable, the leader of the U.K.’s centrist Liberal Democrats party. Buoyed by the lack of rain, he and roughly 700,000 others marched on the Houses of Parliament to call for a “People’s Vote,” or second referendum, on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“We’re all here,” Cable told the assembled marchers, “because we can see that Brexit is a potential disaster and because we believe it can be stopped.” Although he spoke alongside politicians like London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Green Party former leader Caroline Lucas, it was his line that drew some of the wildest cheers: “It’s not inevitable.”

And the march itself helped make it more likely:

“Critics of the People’s Vote campaign thought there would be a token march with a few thousand people,” Cable says of the recent 700,000-strong protest. “But it was on a scale that far surpassed any realistic expectations.” That, he thinks, reflects a broader change in Britain — one that could simultaneously reverse Brexit and sweep the Liberal Democrats to relevance once again. It might sound like wishful thinking, but Cable is confident. “It’s very clear that there has been a change in the mood,” he says.

Sometimes it is interesting to see ourselves us others see us. Certainly liberal in a US sense is not quite as progressive as many of us in this party imagine ourselves to be:

Cable’s Liberal Democrats may see good fortune ahead by aligning themselves with the People’s Vote project, but they are also driven by staunch liberal convictions, as their opponents love to point out. Cable doesn’t necessarily hide that. “It’s very difficult to see how Brexit can have a positive impact on Britain’s role in the world,” he says. “Britain was seen as a progressive force and it was influencing the whole of Europe, and we’ve lost that or will be losing it.”

And then he gets into talking about political movements and how we’re going after the success of Macron and Trudeau’s parties;

But, in the U.K. and across the world, Cable says the polarization of politics just might eventually allow centrist parties to thrive. “Brexit is one manifestation of this populist movement which is very damaging to international cooperation,” he says. “It’s certainly true that moderate, liberal social democratic parties have been under pressure in recent years but it’s very far from a simple story.”

President Emmanuel Macron in France and prime minister Justin Trudeau in Canada, he points out, are both moderates who have both benefited from the new hyperconnected political environment of the late 2010s. “The successful movements,” he says, “have realized they’ve got to adapt their way of communicating to the electorate.”

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6 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face. Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 […]

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”

Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police chiefs are warning of huge further cuts to police numbers, and the Conservatives’ response is simply to accuse them of exaggerating. It’s deeply alarming.

Unnecessary Tory cuts have already taken almost 5,000 officers off the streets since 2015. With serious violent crime on the rise, the last thing we need is even more cuts.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Instead of cutting police budgets further and disparaging senior officers, we would stop the Tory cuts and give forces an extra £300 million a year to recruit more officers and make communities safer.

Brexit Already Destroying Welsh Jobs – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have cited the recent announcement of the closure of the Schaeffler plant in Llanelli as proof that Brexit uncertainty is already hurting the Welsh Economy.

The Schaeffler company employs more than 1,000 people across UK, with 220 of those being based in their Llanelli facility. The Company’s European CEO has stated that the “need to plan for various complex scenarios” has brought about the reorganisation which is endangering the Llanelli plant.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long warned of the danger Brexit will pose to the Welsh economy and are consistently campaigning to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

Responding to news Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable said:

This is deeply distressing news for the families and communities of both Llanelli and Plymouth who will be hit by these closures.

There have long been warnings that this would be the effect of Brexit, but here we have a concrete example of a firm voting with its feet in light of the economic certainty which has been caused.

For those whose jobs are at risk, there is certainly no “Brexit dividend”. The UK and Welsh authorities must work together now to mitigate the damage and help those affected.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

The closure of this factory is going to see over 200 people out of work. This is a direct consequence of the Theresa May’s blind commitment to Brexit at any cost.

How many more peoples livelihoods are going to have to be destroyed before politicians at Westminster finally take a stand?

If the politicans at Westminster are not going to then we need to let the people do it by giving them the final say on Brexit.

Chris Passmore, Chair of Carmarthenshire for Europe said:

This closure is merely the tip of the iceberg. The business community has been waiting desperately. like the rest of us. for clarity on what Brexit will look like and unfortunately the Government still doesn’t know.

This uncertainty means businesses are having to make tough choices about their future in Wales and the closure of the Schaeffler Plant is a prime example of that. Sadly we’re all having to pay the price for this Government’s bad handling of Brexit.

Vince: The Commonwealth wants us to stay in the EU

Last month Vince gave a lecture to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies on the subject of Brexit and how it would affect the Commonwealth. You know how you get Tory Brexiteers looking to the Commonwealth as a whole new opportunity for us? Well, the commonwealth leaders themselves would prefer we stayed in. Vince pointed out: […]

Last month Vince gave a lecture to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies on the subject of Brexit and how it would affect the Commonwealth.

You know how you get Tory Brexiteers looking to the Commonwealth as a whole new opportunity for us? Well, the commonwealth leaders themselves would prefer we stayed in. Vince pointed out:

The first thing that struck me as I started looking through some of the comments on BREXIT and the Commonwealth was the enormous contrast between the tone of the comments coming from the UK, and particularly from the advocates of BREXIT, and those coming from the Commonwealth governments themselves. I think Patricia Scotland summarised the debate on this subject by saying that most of the Commonwealth leaders were hoping that Britain would stay in. It was very clear, that statement. I suspect she understated the argument but there was a very clear preference that most Commonwealth countries have more influence as a result of being in the European Union than being outside. I contrast that with a strangely, almost euphoric attitude of a lot of people in the UK who see the Commonwealth in terms of a big new opportunity opening up.

So why are commonwealth countries so anxious?

The first is the direct hit on Commonwealth countries which export to Britain if Britain underperforms economically. Again, there’s a range of possible outcomes. The metaphor I tend to use is that we’re faced with a choice between a slow puncture and a blow out. I personally think the slow puncture is more likely but they both lead to flat tyres. But whichever metaphor you use, the assumption is that as a result of BREXIT, Britain is a smaller economy than it otherwise would be, and one that’s growing less rapidly. What would the impact of that be on Commonwealth exporters? There are some countries who export more than 10% of their exports to the UK and one would assume that they would be disproportionately hit. Botswana, Seychelle; Belize and Mauritius – that’s mainly sugar; for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, I think, mainly garments into the British retailing network. But by contrast, most Commonwealth countries now have really quite a small economic engagement with the UK, and it represents quite a small share of their exports. For India, it’s only 3%; in Australia it’s only 1.5%. It’s a very distant connection these days. There is the direct hit from exporting to a slower growing economy. That’s one set of impacts.

I think a second is probably more important, which is through the exchange rate. I think most people assume that when BREXIT happens, if BREXIT happens, and particularly if it is of a rather negative form, a hard BREXIT, that the exchange rate would fall, possibly quite substantially. To some extent, that’s already happened; it’s already priced into the market. But I think one might expect rather more and if that happens there are two significant implications for Commonwealth countries, one of which is that quite a lot of Commonwealth countries have major remittances from the UK from expatriates and diaspora who live here. We are talking about $12 billion or something of that order, which would be substantially devalued. There would also be a significant impact on tourism. Britain becomes a more expensive place to visit and countries in the Caribbean, Maldives, Malta would be affected by all of that. However, that impact effect is probably not what most people are talking about when they talk about the economic opportunities of the Commonwealth. They’re taking about future trading agreements, deals of various kinds. I just want to deconstruct as best I can what that whole argument is about. Because when people talk about new trade opportunities – and I mean ‘trade’ in a broad sense, including investment flows and to some extent, service trade which is people. When people talk about trade opportunities, they’re mixing up very often several different things.

First, Of course a lot of trade has got nothing to do with politicians; it’s got nothing to do with deals. It’s to do with commerce and economic opportunities. Business will either take them on or leave them. nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with BREXIT directly. Secondly, there is trade diplomacy, which is ministers wondering around the world saying “Please buy more of our stuff. “ I spent five years doing that, frequently going to Commonwealth countries in the process. One can argue that it helps but it doesn’t make a great deal of difference. Theresa May has been doing a lot of that recently in Africa, for example, and then there are trade agreements, so-called deals designed to secure preferential access for inputs particularly.

You can read the transcript here and listen the podcast here.