Norman Lamb backs new initiative for “an orderly exit” from the EU


Rightly popular though he is in the Liberal Democrats for his efforts on issues such as mental health, I suspect quite a few Lib Dems will read that and quietly give thanks that he is standing down at the general election.

16 responses to “Norman Lamb backs new initiative for “an orderly exit” from the EU”

  1. Quite a few Lib Dem voters might be grateful for a number of options on the table especially if a referendum is achieved. And if the referendum was by consensus-building preference voting (1st, 2nd etc.) then it might just get my 2nd vote!

    They have some work to do though if they are to make it more palatable to MPs who have already rejected it, and also be able to have some discussions with the EU to make it a viable proposition.

    I wonder if the EU would agree to ‘technical solutions’ becoming the prime backstop of a revised Withdrawal Agreement whilst retaining the current backstop (backstop to the new backstop) in the event that such solutions were not available for implementation by that point in time. For a start they need to determine the criteria that any acceptably low/no-friction border needs to achieve. Make that the criteria the ‘technical solutions’ need to deliver in preference to implementing the current backstop.

    The starting point to any post-Brexit deal was upholding our previous treaty! The Good Friday agreement needed to be front and centre – it should have been front and centre in the Brexit campaign therefore and should be going forward into the new one!

    • Absolutely agree with you about the GFA. I’m dismayed by the cavalier attitude of Brexiters to the fate of the island of Ireland. The long, meandering border can be crossed more than once by someone travelling from A to B, and there’s a fair bit of traffic at various points. So it has to remain open. What are these much-trumpeted “alternative arrangements”? Would they be in place if we crashed out on 31 Oct? Boris Johnson spoke to the Taoiseach today about the need for compromise on all sides. Why should anyone in Ireland compromise? NI voted Remain and the Republic had no vote.

  2. Well not me. I voted for Norman in the leadership election. I left the lib dems in the wake of the referendum because it seemed to me they had forgotten the democrat bit of their name. Ignoring the result of the referendum is something that should not be done lightly. There is no easy way out from this mess. It’s all about damage limitation. A deal that can command the support of the current batch of MPs is probably the least bad option..

    • More than 3 years of negotiations can hardly be termed ‘ignoring’ the results of the (advisory only) referendum (based on lies, etc.). Brexit has been shown to be unworkable and not the best way forward for the country. The way out of this mess is to have a second referendum with the full terms of a deal and Remain on the ballot paper, preceded with a proper, truthful campaign that lays out both the pros (many) and cons(?) of leaving the EU.

  3. i’m one of the minority who like norman lamb believe in compromise. sad to be politically homeless. hope the dealers form a new party in time for the election.

    • I think Brexit is a seriously bad idea, but a no-deal would be catastrophic. Yet Johnson, Cummings and the ERG actually want this outcome, despite the PM’s protestations to the contrary. I’m with you, Ben, on this. I was dismayed by the LibDem vote against the deal on 1 April: I was very afraid that this might be our last chance to avert a no-deal. My fears have been compounded by Johnson’s ruthless tactics. I also suspect that Jo Swinson would not honour a Leave vote if that were the outcome of a People’s Vote. I also find the “Bollocks to Brexit” slogan offensive to people who voted Leave. It ups the ante in a way that’s unworthy of our party.

  4. Much has been said about Boris expelling very long standing Cons MP’s because they don’t kow tow to the ‘truth according to Boris’. It would be hypocritical in the extreme for Lib Dems to apply their own version of the ‘Boris test’ to excellent Lib Dem MP’s such as Norman Lamb and Stephen Lloyd

  5. I find it hard to get cross at Norman. This is not good, but I do understand he is doing what he feels is right – as he always does. That said, this does make me feel I did the right thing in voting for Tim in 2015. Yes it caused us problems in other areas, but at least we had a truly pro-EU leader at the moment when it mattered, and whatever else you can criticise Tim for, he made the right call in the period after the referendum, committing us to the Peoples Vote. I’m not so sure Norman would have done that, and today’s news confirms that view.
    I agree with Paul Holmes: let’s not have any nonsense about whip withdrawal. We’ve just accepted some new MPs who have voted for all sorts of awful things over the years. Let’s not do a Boris and kick out our long-serving heroes for one (I think mis-)judgement right at the end of his MP career.

  6. Paul Holmes: What strange things you write. Stephen Lloyd resigned the whip himself and by his own volition sat as an independent. Norman Lamb too has decided for himself to stand down, when he could have continued.

    The leadership choice in 2015 was not great; at the time I had more misgivings about Farron; I was right to have misgivings, however, although he was granted little coverage on the issue, Tim Farron did provide a solid response to Brexit, which Vince Cable was able to build upon.

  7. I am sad to see Sally, above, implying that the referendum was somehow ‘democratic’. The ONLY way that it could be described as such is on the basis of the simple result, but:-
    a) a fraudulent and illegal campaign(some of us are still hoping that the Electoral Commission will find the guts to declare it void!) which delivered a marginal ‘win’ is not adequate for such a massive constitutional change, and should never have been countenanced as such (we need a two thirds majority in the House to call the General Election!).
    b) three years on opinions have changed, and the voters are now more informed about the implications of leaving. So whatever the vote in 2016, it would now be undemocratic to proceed with leaving, without first checking with the people.

    • I feel so torn. I agree with everything you say, but I’m afraid the system’s rigged by the same unscrupulous people who presided over the dodgy referendum. Probably because I’m a very risk-averse person, I was, as I’ve said above, alarmed by the prospect of the best being the enemy of the good, i.e. the chance of a 2nd vote being denied, and our being dragged over the cliff-edge by a Prime Minister who has no qualms about abusing his power.

  8. Thanks, Peter Tyzack, for making a point I’ve been hammering about ever since June16. It was a huge mistake (the product of course of the stupid FPTP mentality to regard a vote of this kind of constitutional gravity to have a threshold attached e,g, a majority of something in the region of 10-20% to achieve an acceptable majority – this is the sort of result that most countries who use referenda would regard as “acceptable.” If the result had been 50%/50% + a single vote one way or the other would that have been acceptable to either side?

  9. Depressing to learn this. I’d been a fan of Norman Lamb. But our law on Referenda clearly says that to be binding on our Sovereign Parliament must have a Super-Majority. EU ref was no exception. MPs were explicitly told this. Unfortunately hardly anyone in the public was. Norman usually does the thing which makes Lib Dem’s unusual: follow the evidence. When one combines the Law and the Evidence, not one Lib Dem should accept any kind of BREXIT without a legally binding confirmatory vote: a new negotiated deal v. the Deal we have now as E.U. members.

    • A People’s Vote would of course have to be premised on a super-majority, and no-deal would not feature on the ballot paper. This would provoke cries of “foul play” from the Brexiters, but we would have to stand firm. What if the 2016 Referendum had been won by Leave with a far smaller majority, so small as to fall within the margin of error? People are being vague about what the choices put before the voters would be: surely it should be May’s deal (perhaps tweaked a little) and the revocation of Article 50. But, with the PM running down the clock, will we get a second vote?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments and data you submit with them will be handled in line with the privacy and moderation policies.