My letter to Theresa May

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Last Tuesday night Theresa May lost the vote on her Brexit deal by 432 votes to 202. It’s the biggest defeat by a Prime Minister in Commons history.

The next day, Jeremy Corbyn called a no-confidence vote in the Government. It failed.

Now, Theresa May wants MPs to vote on a deal that’s barely different to the one we already rejected.

Neither of them are facing reality.

I spoke to the PM on Wednesday night after the failed confidence vote. I told her MPs won’t accept a tweaked deal. She needs a mandate from the people, now that we know what Brexit actually means. You can read the letter I sent her below:


Prime Minister

I appreciate the opportunity to have had a proper conversation with you about our views on the way forward on Brexit and my colleagues have had a useful discussion with yours about the practicalities of a referendum and its timing. We have followed up the discussions with a note to David Lidington setting out our views on how a People’s Vote could be organised quickly.

Our positions are, at first sight, far apart. But I reiterate the point that, as it currently stands, your plan has been emphatically rejected by parliament; but it would have a 50:50 chance of succeeding if put to the country against the option of remaining in the EU.

Moreover, the most plausible way of introducing the option of a referendum would be in the form of a government resolution to parliament seeking approval of your plan, subject to a referendum. Opposition parties would be asked to vote with the government to break the deadlock and return the issue to the people. Providing a People’s Vote were built firmly into the resolution, the Liberal Democrats would respond positively.

If the government cooperates with the 150 plus declared supporters of a People’s Vote (and many more who are undeclared) there would be more than enough votes to succeed even if Mr Corbyn continues to sit on the fence or oppose.

The next step, sought by some of your colleagues as well as the opposition parties for a variety of reasons, is postponement of the departure date to consider other options and averting the dire prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit for which the country is patently unprepared. You have clearly not reached that point but will need to do so for serious discussions with opposition parties to make headway.

My party is ready to resume discussions at any time and communication can be maintained through the usual channels.

Yours

Vince


The same applies to Jeremy Corbyn – until the DUP shift their stance, confidence votes are a waste of time. He needs to listen to his own MPs, members and voters – it’s time for Labour to back a people’s vote.

We’ll continue to take every opportunity to persuade more MPs to back a people’s vote. Will you sign our petition calling for Parliament to give the people the final say on Brexit?

Sal Speaks: January 2019

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

What times we live in. The SODEM team led by Steve have been outside my office with their cries of “Stop Brexit!” for the last two and a half years and earlier this week we came closer to doing that very thing. The vote was the biggest loss by a government ever and you, our members, contributed to that immensely. Each and every time we’ve asked you to get involved in the Brexit campaign over those last two and a half years you’ve stepped up to the plate and exceeded expectations. When the history of Brexit is written (if Tim Shipman isn’t already writing it!) the Liberal Democrats will be at the heart of it as having led the way from start to finish for a people’s vote and that’s because of YOU.

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Nominations are now open for the roles of:

  • Chair of the Racial Diversity Campaign
  • 2 x Vice-Chairs of the Racial Diversity Campaign
  • Vice-President BaME

These roles are crucial to how the Party delivers on the Alderdice Report into racial equality in the party.

The Racial Diversity Campaign (RDC) will be the racial diversity equivalent of the CGB, training candidates right the way through selections to election as MPs, MSPs, MEPs, Assembly Members, elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners and. It would also work alongside ALDC to increase the number of ethnic minority Councillors and Council Leaders. The Chair and Vice-Chairs will set up and run the RDC. Look at the full advert here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/vp-bame-rdc-chair-advert This explains the nominations and election process.

The VP BaME will support RDC as well as the Lib Dem Campaign for Racial Equality in their work to promote more BaME representation both in internal party structures and externally in local, regional and parliamentary elections. They’ll be a key role at senior levels of the party, constantly ensuring that the diversity embedded in the heart of our party strategy is being delivered on. Again, if you’re interested, please do look at the full advert here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/vp-bame-rdc-chair-advertThis explains the nomination and election process.

I couldn’t not talk about Paddy this month. He was everything you want in a leader, determined, principled, fierce and inspiring. He was a giant in our party and will be sorely missed.

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My last exchange with him was after a cabbie told me last month that she had met Paddy on a school visit to Parliament 20 years before. She didn’t know I was a Lib Dem, yet had to tell me how impressed she had been with him. I texted him in hospital to tell him and he replied in his usual modest way.

It’s time to stop playing political games

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

All 11 Lib Dem MPs voted against this shambolic Conservative Government in last night’s vote of no confidence.

In the aftermath, Theresa May invited me to discuss the next steps. I accepted, but in our discussion, I was clear.

There will be no progress until no deal is off the table. We won’t vote for this needlessly destructive Brexit. We need a people’s vote.

Jeremy Corbyn is calling for another no-confidence motion in the Government next week. But he knows it’ll fail.

Why hold a pointless vote? Because he’s still refusing to support a people’s vote – despite his party’s policy. He wants to leave the EU.

He’s wasting time, and we won’t play a part in it. We won’t support no-confidence votes unless there’s a shift in parliamentary arithmetic.

And the best way to break the deadlock is for Jeremy Corbyn to support a people’s vote.

He has a responsibility to get off the fence, make his view clear and provide effective opposition. Either he backs the people, or he backs Brexit.

The only serious option is what we’ve been calling for since the 24th June 2016. We demand a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Do you agree? Sign our open letter calling Jeremy to support a people’s vote:

Sign now

Jeremy, it’s time to stop playing political games

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

All 11 Lib Dem MPs voted against this shambolic Conservative Government in last night’s vote of no confidence.

In the aftermath, Theresa May invited me to discuss the next steps. I accepted, but in our discussion, I was clear.

There will be no progress until no deal is off the table. We won’t vote for this needlessly destructive Brexit. We need a people’s vote.

Jeremy Corbyn is calling for another no-confidence motion in the Government next week. But he knows it’ll fail.

Why hold a pointless vote? Because he’s still refusing to support a people’s vote – despite his party’s policy. He wants to leave the EU.

He’s wasting time, and we won’t play a part in it. We won’t support no-confidence votes unless there’s a shift in parliamentary arithmetic.

And the best way to break the deadlock is for Jeremy Corbyn to support a people’s vote.

He has a responsibility to get off the fence, make his view clear and provide effective opposition. Either he backs the people, or he backs Brexit.

The only serious option is what we’ve been calling for since the 24th June 2016. We demand a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Do you agree? Sign our open letter calling Jeremy to support a people’s vote:

Sign now

Theresa May’s Brexit deal just got rejected

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Theresa May’s Brexit deal just lost in the Commonsby 230 votes.This is huge – she’s failed to convince her party, failed to convince Parliament and failed in her attempt to scaremonger MPs into backing her. It’s the biggest loss in the Commons by a Government – ever.

Brexit is a national embarrassment.

It’s time for the Prime Minister to pull her head out the sand and act with some responsibility. She has to take the threat of no deal Brexit off the table and call a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU. It’s the only sensible way out of this mess – we have to give the people, not the politicians, the final say.

The Prime Minister said I needed to think of my constituents, my country and my party. I have. Deeply. Constantly. And I am proud to vote against this botched Brexit deal.

— Layla Moran (@LaylaMoran) January 15, 2019

Theresa May’s not the only one who’s letting the country down. Jeremy Corbyn is finally calling a vote of no confidence, but his strategy boils down to a General Election between two sides of the same coin. He wants the same Brexit – he’d just slap a red rosette on it.

Jeremy, it’s time to grow a backbone. Stand with us and demand better for Britain – support our call for a People’s Vote.

We’ve fought since the referendum to give people the final say on Brexit. And by leading that debate Liberal Democrats have seen support for a People’s Vote go from 20% to a majority of the population.

We should be proud of what we have achieved but now we need to step up further- this is just too important.

Over 200,000 people have already signed our petition calling for an opportunity to exit from Brexit – will you join them and help end this national embarrassment?

3 Big Parliament Wins

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

It seems common sense that this practice should be illegal – but Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocked the bill.

Conservative MP Christopher Chode

Really, Chris?

But that didn’t stop Wera – she got the Government to take up the issue in their own legislation.

Their Bill wasn’t clear enough and left uncertainty as to whether this terrible practice would be outlawed in all circumstances We pressed for assurances that the Bill would do what we wanted it to do. And they caved in.



The Tenant’s Fees Bill started as a Lib Dem Private Members’ Bill too – this time by Olly Grender in the Lords. Her Bill protected tenants from exorbitant admin fees and rogue landlords.

She pushed the Government into putting forward its own Bill to ban fees, but it had a loophole. It let landlords keep demanding huge sums from tenants needing a roof over their heads.

Thanks to pressure from Olly, John Shipley and Dorothy Thornhill, we closed that loophole. We also put an average of £150 back into the pockets of private renters by reducing deposit caps. And landlords will now have to give a fuller explanation when they aren’t returning a full deposit. This adds up to a much better deal for private renters.



We’ve always argued against the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. It’s a nasty throwback to David Cameron less than a week after the 2015 General Election.

We voted against it in the Commons, but Jeremy Corbyn sided with the Conservatives to pass it. The Bill would allow the detention and questioning of people seen as a threat to the economy. That was way too vague, and Brian Paddick told them so. Now, the Bill only covers people seen as a threat to national security.

It also let the Home Secretary designate certain countries as off-limits, without clarity as to whether journalists, aid workers, or even people visiting ill relatives are exempt. We beat them on that too. You should be able to carry out this essential work, or visit an ill relative, without fear of arrest. Another amendment will force the Government to review its overreaching Prevent strategy.

Each one of these victories was hard fought. I’m really proud of the Lib Dem Parliamentarians championing our values at every opportunity. We can do this thanks to the support of people like you; will you chip in now and help us keep fighting for a better Britain?

An embarrassing setback for Theresa May

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal goes to the Commons tomorrow night, and its chances are looking slim.

A Lords motion regretting the damage Brexit would do and rejecting no deal has passed bya stonking 169 votes.

Stonking majority of 169 in Lords defeating govt – 321 to 152 – with Opposition motion rejecting Brexit ‘no-deal’ & saying WA/PD damaging.

Glad to work on this, in conjunction with @RichardNewby3, with @HayteratLords & @LadyBasildon & others across the House

— Sarah Ludford 🔶 #FBPE #FinalSayontheDeal (@SarahLudford) 14 January 2019

That’s a resounding defeat for Theresa May and a sign for what she can expect tomorrow night. Since delaying the last scheduled vote before Christmas, the cabinet’s shambolic plans have got into an even worse state. We’ve had stories of:

  • Ferry companies with no ferries
  • Lorry queuing exercises on Kent motorways
  • The health secretary becoming “the world’s biggest fridge buyer” – because of worries we won’t have enough medicine.

Brexit’s become a national embarrassment. The Conservatives have made a mess of it, and Labour need to do more to hold them to account.

But there’s still a way out. With a defeat tomorrow night imminent, the Government need to swallow their pride. It’s time for the people to have the final say on the deal – not politicians. We’ve been fighting for this since the referendum, and we’re not going to give up now. Over 200,000 people have signed our petition calling for an exit from Brexit – will you join them?

Brexit won’t fix Britain’s burning issues

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Two and a half years ago, on the steps of Downing Street, the Prime Minister promised to tackle society’s burning injustices.

My constituents elected me to fight for a People’s Vote and to keep our Union together.

I was glad to hear it. We could argue all day why people voted to Leave. But at the heart of it for many was a loss of faith in the basic promise that if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll get on in life.

But nothing has changed for those the Prime Minister vowed to help. The government’s been far too busy making a mess of Brexit while Jeremy Corbyn has sat back and let it happen. And what are we left with?

  • An under-funded Universal Credit bringing misery to thousands.
  • The NHS once again in the midst of a winter crisis.
  • Vulnerable people sleeping on our streets and dying on our doorstep.

We can’t resolve any of this by leaving the EU.

The Leave campaign told us we were taking back control – but my constituents don’t feel that way.

The mother of two worried about her family’s security after the Prime Minister called her husband a ‘queue jumper’.

The scientist concerned about jobs in Glasgow once the life sciences industry loses its European funding.

The businesses who don’t know on what terms they will be able to sell to our biggest trading partner in three months’ time.

Theresa May has returned from Brussels with a bad deal. Brexit has become a national embarrassment.

Five years ago I fought to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, certain in the knowledge we are better off together. It’s for the same reasons that I believe Scotland’s best future is in the UK, as a proud member of our family of nations.

The Liberal Democrats have led the fight for a People’s Vote. And in 2017 my constituents elected me on a promise to fight for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal and to keep our precious Union together.

I’m delighted that so many MPs from all parties are now saying that the public should have a final say.

Theresa May has returned from Brussels with a bad deal. Brexit has become a national embarrassment.

  • It’ll make us poorer, dragging us out of the single market and out of the customs union.
  • It’ll bring our NHS to its knees, leaving our most vulnerable in dear need of hard-working doctors and nurses.
  • It will weaken our union after we fought so hard to keep it together.

The Leave campaign told us we were taking back control – but my constituents don’t feel that way.

In one respect, I actually agree with the Government. I believe them and the EU when they say this is the best Brexit on offer. I even agree with the Brexiteers when they say that the Prime Minister’s deal is worse than staying in Europe. But I despair at the arrogance of Conservatives and Labour MPs alike who claim they can get a better deal. They live in the land of make-believe.

But here, in the real world, there aren’t any magic beans to put food on the table or pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Even my five year old could tell them that unicorns aren’t real!

And I’m horrified by those who suggest that leaving with no deal is the way out of this mess.

How nice it must be for them, claiming for their French residency or setting up investment funds in Dublin! Meanwhile, the poorest in our society pay the price for their ideological Brexit.

It’s time for the people to choose what future they want for their children.

We need a People’s Vote.

Two and a half years on, we can see that leaving the European Union won’t make us richer. It won’t bring £350m a week for the NHS and it won’t be the easiest trade deal in human history.

The Brexiteers claim that Brexit is about our sovereignty and that a People’s Vote would be a betrayal of democracy.

But how can they claim with a straight face that losing our seat at the table is taking back control?

How can they claim that turning our back on our closest neighbours is the dawn of a new global Britain?

How can Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn look people in the eye and say that a public vote on the deal is undemocratic?

There’s no deal that will ever be as good as our membership of the European Union.

There’s no Brexit that works for the whole of the UK. It’s time for the people to choose, knowing the Brexit deal on offer, what future they want for their children.

So let’s do the right thing. Let’s get this dreadful deal voted down and have a People’s Vote.

Demand better than Brexit

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

For more than two years, the Liberal Democrats have been leading the fight on Brexit. And it’s working – a year ago, less than 20% of the British people wanted a final say – now a majority of the public want to have their say.

The full film launches on Monday evening at 7pm, and you will be able to watch it here.

It isn’t too late; there is still time to save Britain.

A national humiliation

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The Prime Minister has spent 18 months putting together a compromise Brexit deal that doesn’t deliver on what the Brexiteers promised and pleases no one.

Theresa May is making a mess out of Brexit and her deal is a national humiliation.

She doesn’t have the support of her backbenchers, or of the DUP. Fifteen government ministers have now resigned over Brexit.

So she is running down the clock, hoping to strong-arm Parliament into accepting her deal as the lesser of two evils compared to a leaving without any deal at all.

But the Liberal Democrats won’t be bullied.

Our convictions are stronger than ever.

There is no deal better for Britain than the one we currently have as a full member of the European Union.

We will not stand idly by while the Conservatives destroy our economy, our NHS, our peace and security.

And Jeremy Corbyn is no better – he has said time and again that he will deliver Brexit and is Theresa May’s helpful ‘opposition’.

For two and a half years, the Liberal Democrats have fought to give the people the final say on the deal and the right to choose to remain in the EU.

And we are winning that argument.

A year ago, less than 20% of the British public wanted a final say. Today most people want to.

The Liberal Democrats demand better than our government and opposition ignoring the wishes of the majority of Britain.

We demand better than our politicians wilfully planning to make our poorer and less secure.

The Liberal Democrats are the party of remain.

And we are winning the fight for a final say.

Next week will be a crucial week for securing a People’s Vote, as Parliament will vote on the final deal.

The Liberal Democrats are voting against the destructive Brexit deal. We walk into the voting lobby alongside all those we have persuaded, including the SNP and backbench MPs from all sides. The result is a foregone conclusion, Theresa May will lose the vote.

But the question is what happens next.

No group has a majority, but the biggest block in Parliament is now the group of people fighting for a final say. If the Labour leadership will get behind this effort, they would swing the numbers.

Thousands of people have already contacted a member of the Labour leadership already to ask them to back a people’s vote.

Will you join them and contact a member of the Labour leadership?

Thank you.