Lib Dems revoke Brexit?

Party members vote to stop Brexit altogether if they win election

The Guardian

The Lib Dems' plan to revoke article 50 is as undemocratic as the race to no deal | Stephen Kinnock

Today the Liberal Democrats have moved from being a party supporting a second referendum on EU membership to one that simply wants parliament to revoke article 50 at the earliest opportunity. This type of polarising behaviour mirrors the no-deal extremists on the other side of the debate and illustrates exactly why British politics is stuck in deadlock.

Group of cross-party MPs launch bid to reach compromise Brexit deal

Jo Swinson's decision is nonsensical for two reasons. First, it flies in the face of everything the party has ever stood for.

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Could the Lib Dems revoke Brexit?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

The Liberal Democrats are in Bournemouth for their party conference - and they have announced a change in policy.

Party members voted for the party to revoke Brexit if they win the next general election.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson argues that they can "stop Brexit altogether".

However, one Labour MP says this would be "as undemocratic as the race to [a] no-deal [Brexit]".

The Claim

The Lib Dems have pledged to revoke Brexit at their party conference in Bournemouth, the BBC reports.

Party members voted overwhelmingly to support this new policy. Their previous position was to back a second referendum - or a "People's Vote" - and campaign for Remain.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: "We will do all we can to fight for our place in Europe, and to stop Brexit altogether."

During an appearance on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Swinson said the Lib Dems will work with other parties to campaign for another referendum, and to prevent a "dangerous" no-deal Brexit.

She said: "We still want to have a People's Vote. We've been arguing for that for the last three-and-a-half years - [to put] the Brexit deal to the public in a referendum.

"[But] when we have an election, if we haven't had a People's Vote, people will be looking to resolve the issue of Brexit, and there are so many people in this country who are so sick of hearing about it.

"They want to get on with their lives and want the government to get on with making their lives better."

The Counterclaim

However, Stephen Kinnock calls the Lib Dems' plan to revoke Article 50 "as undemocratic as the race to no deal".

In an article for the Guardian, the Labour MP argues that this position "polarises politics further".

He writes: "This type of polarising behaviour mirrors the no-deal extremists on the other side of the debate and illustrates exactly why British politics is stuck in deadlock."

Kinnock argues it is "nonsensical" for two reasons: he says it "flies in the face of everything the party has ever stood for", and it misunderstands how most people feel about Brexit.

He said: "How can any Lib Dem politician look their constituents in the eye, refer to themselves as a “democrat” and then pledge to overturn the biggest democratic exercise this country has ever seen, without even having the courtesy to first ask the public if they have changed their mind?

"It is as astonishing as it is hypocritical."

The Facts

In the 2017 general election, the Liberal Democrats won 12 seats - an increase of four seats from 2015. Overall, 2.3 million people in the UK voted for the Lib Dems, earning them 7.4 per cent of the vote share.

Jo Swinson was elected as Lib Dem leader in July. Under her leadership, six MPs defected to her party: Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith (former Labour and Change UK), Sarah Wollaston (former Tory and Change UK), Phillip Lee and Sam Gyimah (former Conservative MPs).

Jane Dodds also won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election for the Lib Dems in August.

With another general election looming, how many seats does the party expect to win?

According to the New Statesman, until recently, the official answer was 40. However, at a meeting in Westminster last week, candidates were told that this figure had doubled to 80.

Umunna, who joined the party in June, predicts that they could win even more seats.

He said: "I would hope that we get more than 40 seats at a general election.

"But we know from the internal polling that if we move from the position that we're in and say there is a 1.5 per cent to two per cent swing we can get up to 100 seats.

"And if there's a five per cent swing towards the Liberal Democrats through the course of the campaign 200 seats are in contention - but who knows what will happen?"

To reach this target, however, the Lib Dems would have to overturn majorities of more than 35,000 in some seats. They would require a swing of around 23 points across the country.

Recent surveys show that the party is polling at between 16 to 20 per cent, behind the Tories and Labour.

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Lib Dems will stop Brexit on day one, Swinson vows

A Liberal Democrat government will revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit on day one, leader Jo Swinson is to vow.

In her first speech to the party's conference as leader, Ms Swinson will reiterate its policy of overturning the law ensuring the UK will leave the EU.

A no-deal Brexit would be like "burning your house down", Ms Swinson will add.

The East Dunbartonshire MP will also appeal to Scottish voters to reject the SNP and join a "bigger movement for change" across UK to stop Brexit.

Ahead of an expected general election, Ms Swinson will present herself as a candidate for prime minister, saying she cannot wait to take on Boris Johnson, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

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