Liberal Democrats

Read the highlights of Tom Brake's speech to conference

By Liberal Democrats, Sep 15, 2018 4:09

Tom opened with a warning of the consequences of a no deal Brexit...

It is becoming clearer what the United Kingdom, in a Tory post-Brexit No Deal scenario, would look like.

Although the Government are promising petrol won’t run out and anarchy will be avoided after Brexit, their uplifting vision of a No Deal Brexit, the only one they are currently willing to lay out, includes stockpiling medicines, 17 mile tailbacks, shortages of sperm, depriving UK citizens in the EU of their pensions, house prices falling by a third and the UK becoming a dumping ground for banned chemicals.

He moved on to criticise Boris Johnson...

If that is our PM’s vision of No Deal Brexit Britain, what is the Brexit Britain vision of the man widely tipped to be the future leader of the Tory party, Boris - punishment-beatings, Road to Mandalay, prosecco - Johnson?

We don’t know. Because he is a man of many words, but no Brexit plan.  All mouth and no trousers.  A charlatan who spent more time currying favour with Steve Bannon and sucking up to Donald Trump than he did reading his Ministerial briefs.

For Boris, there has always only been one agenda – the one that puts the blonde bombshell, with the so-carefully manicured tousled hair – into no 10. 

...and Jacob Rees-Mogg...

Jacob Rees-Mogg is busy puppeteering his ERG members to torpedo the PM’s deal below the waterline.  He pays scant regard to the consequences of his actions.  He doesn’t have to, he is a man of means.  He is not juggling two jobs to make ends meet.

Well actually he is, but he manages to make those ends meet rather comfortably with his MPs salary, and Somerset Capital Management monthly payments and dividends.

Jacob seems to have a lacuna when it comes to the history of the Irish border and its importance in the peace process. A video has emerged in which he suggested a return to checks “as we had during the Troubles”.

He is also seen on the same footage suggesting the government could “keep an eye on” the border, “there would be an ability … to have people inspected.”

His Brexit vision of borders and security checks – chimes with his social vision – taking Britain back to the 1920s.

Tom moved on to Chequers...

It’s unlikely we will be allowed to know the full extent of the damage a Chequers Brexit deal will inflict.  Because, although the Government have pledged to provide a full impact assessment before the meaningful vote, the time between the conclusion of the negotiations and a parliamentary vote will be incredibly short, meaning any assessment is likely to be very sketchy. 

But the earlier impact assessment, leaked to the government’s great embarrassment, confirmed the UK economy will take a hit and will be weaker for it.

The reality is the Chequers deal is dead in the water, the Government’s strategy is without a chief strategist and the ship of state is rudderless, damaged by relentless blue-on-blue strikes.  

And the flames of a destructive No Deal Brexit are getting closer.

He set out the Lib Dems' plan...

My vision of a better Britain is one that will be delivered by using the real Brexit dividend, the financial dividend liberated by cancelling Brexit, freeing up cash to boost skills, training, education, infrastructure, housing, productivity.

If we secure a final say on the deal, and if the country backs remaining in the EU, we must pledge to use every penny of taxpayers’ hard earned money, such as the £3 billion earmarked for Brexit, plus the tax boost of up to £5 billion per year from avoiding the economic hit of Brexit, to regenerate the towns, cities and communities in the greatest need. 

So we can make a start on tackling the reasons why many voted Brexit in the first place. Reasons this Govt have done nothing, zilch, nada to address. We would commit to an all-out campaign to reform the EU and make it more responsive and relevant to our, and indeed Europe’s needs. 

He promised to stand up for those excluded from the 2016 referendum...

Ring-fencing the Withdrawal Agreement’s Chapter on citizens’ rights, without caveat, qualification or equivocation, will both protect EU citizens and maximise the chances of UK citizens in the EU maintaining their rights.

We will ensure the right to full participation in civic life, including the ability to stand for office or vote in UK referendums and General Elections, is extended to all EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or longer.

We will ensure all UK citizens living abroad can vote for MPs in separate overseas constituencies, and vote in UK referendums.

Finally, we will grant 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections.  No one has the right to deny them the rights I have had for all of my adult life – and my mother and father had for most of their working lives - to live, work and study in any EU country.

He issued a challenge to Theresa May...

My challenge to Theresa May – who has repeatedly failed to say she’d vote for Brexit now - is to

  • admit any Brexit is bad for Britain
  • extend Article 50 to provide time for a final say on the deal.
  • trust the will of the people.

...and to other her colleagues in the Conservatives...

Time is running out for Tory MPs, like Chris Philp, who shared a platform with me during the EU ref campaign.  You must break cover, stand up and be counted now.  Your concerns about the economic damage Brexit would inflict on the UK were valid two years ago and are just as valid today.  So

  • Back a final say on the deal and
  • Trust the will of the people.

Time is also running out for Tory Ministers who discretely share their concerns with fellow remainers in other parties, whilst publicly endorsing the Government line.  You have to break cover too.  Abandon the Ministerial limo, hand back your red box.  Put the country’s interests first, as you did 2 years ago in the EU ref campaign.

...and to Jeremy Corbyn...

Are you leader or a mouse? Can you give a clear statement on where Labour stands on Brexit or, as with your position on anti-semitism, do you need a 500 word addendum to qualify it?  

Stand up for your party members, particularly younger members and trade union members and

  • Back a final say on the deal and 
  • Trust the will of the people.

...and to the rest of Labour...

Labour has a straightforward choice.  At your conference, continue to assist and condone the actions of an ideological Conservative party, which through its pursuit of a reckless Brexit is systematically destroying this country and damaging the communities you represent,  

Or if Jeremy cannot change his spots, depose him and

  • Back a Final Say on the Deal and
  • Trust the will of the people

And if Jeremy cannot be shifted, walk away, and join a party which has been consistent in battling Brexit.

...and to the SNP...

It is rampant hypocrisy for the SNP to lament the consequences of Brexit whilst doing nothing about it.

With the prospect of a disastrous no-deal on the horizon, I find it bizarre that the SNP are still refusing to stand up to the Tories. Like Brexiters, they are putting their nationalist agenda ahead of the interests of the country and the people of Scotland.

But there is still time for the SNP to join the fight and

  • Back a final say on the deal and
  • Trust the will of the people.

...and finally, to Liberal Democrats.

On the 20th October there is a march in London calling for a final say on the deal, a vote of the people.

We need any Lib Dem member or supporter who is available to help make this the biggest demonstration so far in our mission to secure an Exit from Brexit.

We have taken the flak for a policy which was on the fringes two years ago, and now, is mainstream.  We must be at the heart of that event, ensuring our voices are heard loudly in Whitehall, Westminster and the media.

To wrap up, he said...

Our country deserves better than the mess the Tories are making of Brexit, aided and abetted by a weak Labour leadership.  The Liberal Democrats demand better. 

We are the only party taking on the power and privilege of the Brexit elite with their country mansions, gold bullion investments, inflated expense accounts and offshore wealth.

If you demand better for our country, join us.

Join the Liberal Democrats. 

Join the battle for a Final Say on the Deal and a chance to Exit from Brexit. 

You have nothing to lose and we have everything to gain.

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