VETERAN Lib Dem Sir Norman Lamb joined a growing Lib Dem revolt to savage his party’s new policy to reverse Brexit without a second referendum.
In a brutal verdict the former minister warned his colleagues that vowing to revoke Article 50 without giving voters a say in a referendum was “incredibly dangerous” because it risked widening the divide between Leave and Remain.
Sir Norman Lamb says the Lib Dems plan to revoke Article 50 is ‘incredibly dangerous’[/caption]
He told the Today programme: “I think we are playing with fire in many ways.
“If we take this to the very limit in a situation where one side is vanquished entirely, I think there’s a real danger that we break the social contract in our country.
“And I think that we all have a responsibility of reuniting the country in a common endeavour.” It came as leader Jo Swinson was branded a hypocrite after a video emerged of her speaking in 2008 calling for an In/Out referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
Mr Lamb also slammed the Lib Dems’ refusal to compromise over Brexit and said the party held some of the responsibility for “opening the door to Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson to prosper.”
ALIENATING LEAVE VOTERS
Lib Dem peer Paul Scriven joined the growing internal backlash against the party’s new policy, tweeting: “I agree totally with Norman Lamb that our new policy on Article 50 is wrong and we are boarding on becoming extreme on Brexit.
“We will not help to bring the Country together if we unilaterally act in this way.” And former Lib Dem MP Andrew George said the policy “risks alienating our Leave voting supporters”.
He warned: “I fear adopting an implausible ‘Revoke A50’ policy will prove counterproductive. Alienate Brexit extremists not those who were misled by them.”
Jo Swinson has ruled out working with either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson[/caption]
MP Sam Gyimah quit the Tory party to join the Lib Dems after his whip was removed[/caption]
It comes after new Lib Dem MP Sam Gyimah broke ranks with his new party over the policy just hours after joining.
He said an election “muddies Brexit with lots of other domestic issues,” adding: “If you want to resolve Brexit the best way to do is to have a People’s Vote now that we all know what is negotiable.”
Yesterday leader Jo Swinson was forced to deny she was “an iteration of Nigel Farage” at the other end of the Brexit spectrum after the party officially adopted the new policy to reverse Brexit.
She told Sky News: “I fundamentally disagree. We are clear on our position on EU membership, but I respect the views of people who take a different view.”
But today she will risk further controversy as she uses her keynote speech to the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth to compare No Deal preparations to “planning to burn your house down”.
She will add: “You might have insurance, but you’re still going to lose all your stuff.”
Meanwhile Ms Swinson ruled out working with either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn in the event of a hung Parliament after the next election.
She told Sky News: “Neither of those men are fit to be prime minister. I will not vote to make either of those men prime minister.” Instead she insisted she was standing as a candidate for Prime Minister.
MOST READ IN POLITICS
Yesterday new Lib Dem Chuka Umunna said as many as 200 seats were in the party’s reach.
Setting the bar very high the ex-Labour MP said: “I would hope that we get more than 40 seats at a general election but we know from the internal polling that if we move from the position that we’re in and say there is a 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent swing we can get up to 100 seats and if there’s a 5 per cent swing towards the Liberal Democrats through the course of the campaign 200 seats are in contention – but who knows what will happen?
“We are not complacent, we are not drunk on our success, we want to continue to expand the bandwidth, draw people into the party.”
THE SUN SAYS
INSIDE the Lib Dem bubble they consider themselves brave, cunning pro-Remain insurgents rising in the polls. To everyone else they are a bigger joke now than ever.
They have made a huge mistake backing a straight cancellation of Brexit. Never before has a party opted to vandalise our democracy, as some aghast Lib Dems and Remainers are pointing out.
Leader Jo Swinson campaigned for a referendum. Now, having lost, she would simply annul it. That is not a credible position for a serious politician.
The Libs blundered in electing her. So did ex-Tory and Labour MPs joining her.
The party’s positions are incoherent. Treasury spokesman Ed Davey says Leave voters would “have a central place in a Lib Dem economy” — but only after Swinson has stripped them of their democratic rights.
The big eco announcement, a deterrent tax on flights, would exempt people flying “for family and things”. That’s not a considered policy. That’s wibble.
What a choice Swinson has given Remainers who aim to vote on Brexit lines: Corbyn’s anti-Semitic Marxists reducing our economy to rubble . . .
Or her own reckless extremism setting fire to our democracy.
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