Liberal Democrats to vote against Johnson’s Brexit deal

A press release brings the news:

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will vote against Boris Johnson’s “threadbare” deal because it is “bad for jobs, business, security, and our environment”.

The Party has also lodged a reasoned amendment to the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill in which it warns the Bill does “not meet the undertakings given to the people of the UK by the Prime Minister.”

The amendment, which is to now be considered by the Speaker, criticises the Bill for erecting non-tariff barriers on businesses, ending the UK’s participation in Erasmus and mutual recognition of professional qualifications, depriving the UK’s financial services sector of passporting rights, and cutting off the UK police from direct access to EU-wide law enforcement databases.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“It is clear that this is a bad deal that will make people’s lives poorer, so the Liberal Democrats will vote against it.

“This botched deal leaves the services sector in limbo and is the only ‘free’ trade deal in history to put up barriers and increase red tape, bringing long delays and higher costs.

“We all are desperate to move forward, to see our country united again, to restore our economy and our communities after a terrible year. Even by his own low standards, Boris Johnson’s deal just makes that more difficult.

“The only way forward is to agree an adjustment period to ease the pain for businesses and quickly get to repairing the UK’s damaged relationships with our most important international partners.”

The text of the Liberal Democrat reasoned amendment:

That this House, while agreeing that the Government must not allow the implementation period to end without a deal for the UK’s future relationship with the European Union, declines to give the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill a second reading because it implements the first free trade deal in history to put up new barriers to trade that will harm UK businesses and impose additional costs on UK consumers, ends the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, deprives the UK’s financial services sector of passporting rights, deprives UK police of direct, real-time access to EU-wide law enforcement databases, ends the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ student exchange programme, does not provide a grace period for businesses to prepare for and adapt to the new rules, and will result in lower economic growth and less revenue for key public services, because it therefore does not meet the undertakings given to the people of the UK by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government, and because the Government has failed to provide sufficient opportunity for Parliament or the public to scrutinise it properly.

I’ve been listening carefully to the views of party members on this, and the large majority have been in favour of voting against the deal. That’s the view I’ve therefore conveyed in a couple of Parliamentary Party meetings on behalf of members, and it’s good to see our MPs taking this line too.

One point worth adding to the press release is that the voting options on the deal being put to Parliament are Boris Johnson’s choice. It is in effect a trick question – trying to make it as a choice between his deal or no deal.

There’s no need for the Liberal Democrats to accept the terms of that trick question.

By voting against his poor deal, we’ll be making clear our continued commitment to the European Union.

If you’ve got views on this or other topics, by all means let me know.

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6 responses to “Liberal Democrats to vote against Johnson’s Brexit deal”

  1. can we not get Labour to change their minds … put pressure on Johnson to get an extension to explore a Remain Deal. At least then the UK will know properly what the two options are

  2. It’s deal or no deal. No deal is far worse than the deal Lord Frost and his team negotiated. Our MPs need a sharp reality check.

    • I agree Julie
      The House of Commons is voting on the Deal negotiated by the representatives of the UK Government and the European Union and finalised by Boris Johnson and Ursula van der Leyden last week, but it is NOT relevant for it to be judged relative the perfect deal –remaining in the EU, or a second-best deal retaining membership of the, EU Single Market, and other benefits such as Erasmus, Euratom, Security data sharing, and the protection of the European Courts of Justice and of Human Rights.
      The Decision to be made is,
      • is it better to leave the European Union with no Deal at all, plunging trade and travel into chaos and making the development of a new relationship with the EU, by this Government or its successors, far more difficult
      • OR is it better to accept what has been agreed between Ursula van der Leyden and Johnson, and accepted by the representatives of the 27 EU states.
      Even if the Johnson and the entire UK Government resigns tomorrow, there is no way a new Deal could be negotiated, or article 50 could be revoked by 23:30 on Thursday 31st of December.
      If the Commons reject the Deal, it is rejecting any connection with the EU.
      If the Liberal Democrats refuse to support the adoption of the Deal, the Party is throwing off its role as the Party of Europe (something Labour seems to be bidding for) and presenting a slap in the face to our friends in the European Parliament, Commission and Council who have tried to keep the negotiation going to maintain a link with the UK.
      The Party must state clearly,
      • We would have preferred to remain members of the EU
      • Given we have already left the EU and the transition period ends at 23:30 on Thursday our choice is this Deal or No Deal.
      • Poor though this Deal is, it is far better than leaving the EU without any Deal.
      • Hence the Liberal Democrats are voting to accept this Deal
      so that there is no confusion parallel to that about capping student fees and improving the grant system.
      The Party should do everything it can to prevent the rejection of the Deal and a NO Deal Brexit happening.
      This includes voting FOR the DEAL, to prevent the small but finite possibility, of Conservative and Labour anti-European rebels banding together and defeating the Government.
      Remember in 2016, abstentions of those who did not think the EU was optimal, allowed the 37% of electors who voted Leave, to claim that leaving the EU was the will of the people. We must not allow the possibility that the abstention of those MPs who consider this a poor deal, allows the rejection of the Deal and the claim that leaving without a deal is the will of Parliament.
      Please keep up the reason for voting Liberal Democrat.

      • The LibDems and all MP’s would do well to vote against, whilst the EU will not be held to ransom e.g. Johnson selling out the fishing industry, they would rather avoid no deal.

  3. Ed Davey and the MPs are right to vote against this deal. If they had been elected the government they would not have presented this deal, but worked to rebuild closer partnership with the EU, and they are right not to approve Johnson’s backward-looking deal.

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