Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd explains why he’ll vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal

The MP for Eastbourne, Stephen Lloyd, is intending to vote for the government’s Brexit deal in Parliament.

Here’s why in his own words:

I campaigned and publicly debated for Remain during the 2016 referendum, and still believe that remaining within the European Union is in the best interests of our nation.

I also made a promise during the campaign that I would not support calls for a second referendum, and would support the final negotiated deal the Prime Minister brings back to the Commons. And as my constituency Eastbourne knows, when I give my word to the town I keep it.

I know and like Stephen (and am envious of his campaigning skills). Although our views on some issues put us at opposite ends of the party, I also respect his integrity. So I can understand why he feels he has to make this decision.

Yet also, I regret it – committing to voting for a deal before its contents were even known was the wrong call, especially when it’s a deal on an important issue as central to the Liberal Democrat reason for being as Europe.

43 responses to “Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd explains why he’ll vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal”

  1. He still does not explain why on earth he committed himself to buying a pig in a poke. Does he never take back faulty goods on some point of principle?

  2. I doubt very much whether the town will thank him for keeping this particular promise, especially if they find themselves worse off as a result of Brexit. Neither leave nor remain voters are happy with the deal. Maybe he should consult with the voters in his constituency before making a final decision.

  3. Dear Lib Dems.

    You have one major attraction – that is your anti Brexit stance. Many folks will only consider voting for you on the basis of that. Last time, as you might have been astute enough to be aware, it was not 80% of people voting for Labour / Tories, but people trying desperately to make sure Theresa May did not get the power she needed to fulfil Brexit. And this is why Theresa May got a hung parliament. In a system where first past the post will only give us a likely outcome of Tory / Labour this was a hard decision for some to make.

    But to vote for the UK to leave the EU goes against everything your party stands for. And when you have so few MPs in parliament – this is not a good look.

    • So the 40% who voted in 2017 for a Labour Party whose Manifesto and Leader committed them to implementing the Referendum decision to Leave were all really voting to oppose Brexit? An interesting theory.

      • Whereas the 93.6% who didn’t vote Lib Dem were showing their support for our ‘major attraction’ a single minded anti Brexit stance? An interesting theory.

  4. But committing to vote against any deal before it’s contents were known is OK?

    What, incidentally, are our (other) MP’s going to do if the vote comes down to a choice between Deal or No Deal?

      • I spent 9 years voting in Parliament. None of us yet know exactly what wording the Government will put forward, what wording various amendments will have or which amendments the Speaker will call for debate and vote. Some of that will not even be known until the morning of the debate. So it could in fact end up being a choice between Deal or No Deal. Government drafting and timetabling experts will certainly try as hard as possible to make the choice a stark one just as Opposition (within and without the Government) will try hard to achieve their various purposes.

        If that were the case and if our small handful of votes could make the difference what would we do?

  5. I regret it too. I guess he is taking the West Virginia option where a Democrat senator voted for the Kavanaugh nomination because he knew he would lose his senate seat if he didn’t. He was right and held the seat in a true red Republican state. Sometimes that is what you need to do!

  6. Stephen is a representative and not a delegate. If he explains why he changed his mind between his election campaign in 2017 and the vote, it is then up to the electors to decide next time whether they agree with him or not. Sometimes you have to put you job on the line as an MP.

    • Hi John, hope you are keeping well.

      For the first time in our long acquaintance I may be disagreeing with you! Perhaps Stephen has not changed his mind? I don’t know Stephen at all but I do know that when I was part of a L D Parliamentary Party of 62 MP’s there were certainly some who were not pro EU. That doesn’t include me (I voted Remain in 1975 and in 2016) although I was certainly never a starry eyed worshipper of all things Brussels.

  7. His job is to work in the best interests of the country, not to follow his ill-informed constituents. He should re-consider.

  8. What on earth was he doing, committing to something which was not known. He sounds like all those who voted leave in the referendum. After all they voted for change, but had no idea what that change was.

  9. I’m devastated that a Liberal Democrat MP has publicly added his name to the deal and I’m sure the Tory whips will not only milk but also exploit having YOUR scalp.
    Thing change and attitudes change over time and for an MP to agree to back the government on such a fundamental issue as this is disgraceful. I know that Labour and Tory voters were turning to us and we’re going to back us at the next election precisely because we had an anti Brexit / May stance – Stephen Lloyd our reputation is on the line here and you have made promises without having all the pieces of the jigsaw in place .

    I hope you will reconsider before this causes damage to both your reputation and that of the Party. I’m sure you must read these editorials and will take immediate appropriate action to right this dangerous wrong .

  10. All MPs should put the interests of the country above those of party or themselves, as demanded by their code of conduct. Now the facts about Brexit and the illegal interference are known he should be brave enough to explain breaking his word for these reasons alone.

  11. Oh dear. I thought that after the debacle over student tuition fees, we had learned the lesson over what you should and shouldn’t promise in an election campaign.

    • The fully costed (said both Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander) 2010 policy of phasing out Tuition Fees was based on a 13 year long Party opposition to Tuition Fees (not some fleeting whim). The Pledge, to oppose any increase in Fees, was less far reaching than that 13 year old policy and of course was in effect cost neutral. So I would have thought that the message of the debacle over Tuition Fees was to keep your promises not to betray them.

  12. I am amazed that one of our MPs could do such a thing. What a daft promise to make in the first place, especially when at the time, the Party’s opinion was not that it was(as our opponents called it) a ‘second’ referendum, but a referendum on the eventual deal. As an intelligent guy he can surely see the damage that he will do to the party, as laid out by comments above.
    His rightful course of action is to ABSTAIN. That way he keeps his promise and avoids the damage, to this is egotist and ill considered.

  13. Whilst I can respect his integrity and I understand why he will vote that way, I do not feel that he can vote for the Brexit deal as a LibDem without doing irreparable harm to the party in the public eye because he will be called out by every form of media for it and it will be used as a club to beat the LibDems by the others. He must resign the party whip before taking that vote or he will destroy the party

  14. He should be consulting his constituents to see if they do in fact back May’s deal. There is no point upholding a promise if those whom you made the promise now want you to do something differen.

    • As a very good, Liberal Democrat, constituency MP Stephen will be consulting his constituents every week, week in, week out. The idea that commentators from other parts of the country have a better idea than Stephen as to what his constituents are thinking and saying is remarkable to say the least.

  15. How can any sane person promise to support a deal that then had no known details? We (the UK) need a party which clearly supports the idea of being in the EU and giving all those who voted Remain or who now wish to opt that way some glimmer of hope.

  16. This is the real problem for all our politicians. By a large majority the House of Commons voted for a) the initial referendum and b) to invoke article 50 before any work had been done on how we as a country were going to manage the exit process. This has left us in the Buggers Muddle we are in now. no matter how individual MP’s vote we are in a lose/lose situation with no way out. Not to put to finer point on it, we have screwed ourselves. There is NO good way out of this mess.

  17. The second Referendum was not an issue then, as it was only Farage and Mogg spoke about it.
    I despair of our Party, or should I soon be saying I am off.
    Bath candidate Feb’74. Chris Mayhews Agent Oct Alliance Agent and campaign manager 83, central in the following one. ++++

  18. Derek Osbourne – it is never right for an elected politician to vote simply to save their seat/skin. It’s not good in principle, voters will see straight through it, and Eastbourners may no longer like Brexit anyway. MPs are elected to make judgements based on their party’s overall approach, not to promise years in advance, as if to a toddler promised a bike when they turn 5.

  19. Shame on Stephen Lloyd who is undoing all the good work of those campaigning on the streets come rain or shine for a second referendum for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
    If Stephen Lloyd votes for this truly dreadful Brexit deal on offer, the whip must be removed from him and he must be deselected immediately

  20. Dear Mr Lloyd, I respectfully suggest you resign the party whip or at least promise to abstain. This is an issue affecting the whole Nation and even the future of our party. You can not remain a Liberal Democrat MP and help commit our Nation to this totally disastrous Brexit policy.

  21. I think Stephen has made a serious error in the election campaign…. And I personally wouldn’t work to help him get re-elected again – I’m a party member but I live 250 miles away..

    But hang on all these people saying ‘The Lib Dems, letting us down again” – This is one MP, and most Lib Dems disagree with him

  22. After the problems caused by Nick Clegg’s promise on student fees and Tim Farron putting his personal issues first, Stephen is being naiive as this issue will follow him so much that it’s likely he will be separated from the party. We are campaigning that people should be able to change their minds on Brexit and most of Stephen’s voters will be changing too – has he checked what his voters want NOW? Most constituencies don’t like Mrs May’s deal. Check the voters’ view – not individuals but in Eastbourne a whole.

  23. Surely Stephen Lloyd must consider the breaches of electoral law by ghe Leave campaigns and the referrals to the police fir criminal investigation. Also the abuse of personal data harvested from Facebook. Also the breaches of data protection laws by Arron Banks and his insurance company and Leave.EU campaign and heavy fine by Information Commissioner. Plus ongoing investigation into the source of funding for Leave campaigns coupled with Mueller investigationin USA. Then there’s the Russian interference via social media. Surely this should make Lloyd rethink – even if the ghastliness of the May ‘deal’ has failed to so far.

  24. Please can the party organise an independent poll of Stephen’s constituents to see if they have changed their minds. It would be good if some of his constituents call for that to happen soon. There may be a way out.

  25. Paul Holmes, I am mostly concerned about the thousands of new members who have joined us because of our position on Brexit. Many of them will leave us if we can’t unite on this and this could destroy the party. I understand why Stephen feels he must be true to his promise which is why I would like to see the party pay for an independent poll. I realise that MPs consult their residents and that activists conduct surveys, but this is completely different from a poll.
    I’m not sure why you are being so defensive of Stephen on this, but I am concerned that it looks like a lack of respect for the opinions of ordinary members.

  26. Sue – I admire Stephen’s principled stand and I am appalled at illiberal attempts to browbeat him, withdraw the Whip etc etc. Such an intolerant Party would not be the one I have been a member of for 35 years and represented for a collective 25 years as Cllr and MP.

    As for ordinary members you must be assuming that I don’t talk to ‘ordinary members’? But I do -at our Local Party AGM last week where I concluded 3 years as the Local Chairman, at our County AGM last Saturday, at our Regional Conference where I ran a training session on a recent weekend. I just do not find the obsession with Brexit that some on Social Media believe there to be. Likewise with ‘ordinary voters’ -in a Council by election we gained from Labour on Oct 4th we talked to nearly 2,000 voters and barely any mentioned Brexit. Perhaps others are not respecting ordinary members views when they believe them all to hold the same views as themselves?

  27. Ha, I liked the comment about consulting his constituents. The thing is, he says he needs to represent their wishes- fair enough. But, how does he know what their wishes currently are? As a whole, a % of their views may have changed in favour of Remain. A reasonable supposition, because polling shows that has occurred in hundreds of constituencies both Labour and Cons. So rather than create a credibility problem for the National Party (and also risk the future of the UK in a narrow commons vote) he could get himself onto a new hook by doing a poll of his constituents…if they have shifted their preferences, he can change his stance? From St Ives CLDP

  28. I am a passionate, die-hard remainer, but fully respect Stephen Lloyd’s position. Eastbourne is a different place from London. Very different. I know it from our regular weekend breaks over the past 30 odd years. No MP can honestly serve and represent the people there unless they understand their world and at least in part share their concerns. I would not choose to live there, much as I am fond of visiting it. With the proximity of vibrant Brighton that has sucked up all local vim, sleepy, feudal Eastbourne (most of it owned by the Duchy of Devonshire) is sank in a time-warp torpor. The world around it has changed beyond recognition. To its residents this is disorienting, even frightening. Like countless market towns and provincial back waters where leave vote overpowered remain one, Eastbourne folk want the country to turn back to the world they are living in. So that they can relate to what they see on their TV screens; so that their country becomes theirs again. (Maybe all provincial school kids should be taken on school trips to London and all London kids to places like Eastbourne. For future’s sake.)

  29. I don’t recognise the picture painted of Eastbourne by some here. We moved from North London almost ten years ago and haven’t regretted it for a second.

    Half the population of Eastbourne are under 45, and the average age is 47. The often sited ‘average age of 70’ derives from one monied district called ‘The Meads’ – it’s not representative of our town.

    We’re not Brighton, but there’s a underlying progressive community spirit here. Yes there are diehard UKIP and Tory voters, but they seem to dominate our weekly paper and not much else. The Sussex motto of ‘We wunt be druv’ was made for this place.

    It shows in our campaigning skills. There’s a very strong local People’s Vote movement founded by a few of us and now 200 strong. It’s genuinely cross party. We’re active on the streets of Eastbourne, we’re crowdfunding, running Facebook creatives and changing the conversation.

    In terms of the EU referendum, around 30k voted Leave and 22k Remain – as a Stronger In campaigner I was quite surprised how close it was. The Channel 4 Survation poll now claims we’re a Remain constituency.

    I know Stephen fairly well and count him as a friend. We’ve spoken recently about his stance on Brexit and I get why he’s sticking to his guns. But I and many other Left/ Centre voters don’t agree, and there are more of us than his majority.

    Even if Stephen votes for the deal, he’s got a duty to research the impact of Brexit on our town and share these findings. I suggested this to him, and he promised to give the idea some thought. Here’s hoping he does that.

  30. I fail to understand the bile being directed at Stephen Lloyd. Whilst I disagree with Brexit, regard the May deal as the most brain-dead negotiation since Chamberlain and wish for a second referendum I would still defend Lloyd’s right to keep his word (regardless of his stupidity in giving it in the first place). I did not notice the whingers from Eastbourne constituency party complaining at the time when it helped him win back the seat. People who want something to really complain about regarding an MP and their Brexit stance should live in Guildford. Anne Milton (or Nurse Ratchet as she is better known locally) refused to even tell her constituents whether she would vote remain or leave leading up to the referendum and has now gone to ground in the current shambles. Rumour has it that you would have a better chance of finding Elvis alive in Guildford than getting Milton to utter a word on Brexit. Give me Lloyd’s honesty any day.

  31. I think it’s a damn shame you have done this Stephen Lloyd , I really hope you reconsider……..it’s always : Country 1st, the Party 2nd, Self 3rd.

    This is NOT good for the Country !

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