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.