Health and the EU take centre stage on day 2 of the Lib Dem Conference

Chukka has been in fine form over the past couple of days and made a great speech to conference yesterday on the EU and business

Day 2 was fortunately not quite as frenetic as Day 1. Not a single MP defected to us yesterday! However, those that did were in highly visible activities throughout the day. Especially visible was the normally demure Chukka! However, all the new MPs were doing this in the meeting and conference hall. It was great to see how relaxed they were and how much at home int heir new Lib Dem family.

This particularly applies to our own MP Luciana Berger who last year needed a police escort at the Labour Party Conference but who yesterday wandered round the exhibition with Tim Farron as her sole bodyguard!!

The drama shifted to the main hall for the big conference debates. The one which has caught the most attention is, of course, the motion which was heavily passed which calls for a manifesto commitment to revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU. It is an absolutely clear position should we win the next General Election. We will then have been given an electoral mandate in 2019 which must take priority over a mandate given in 2016. If we don’t win, we will work with other Parties to secure a second referendum.

Before the General Election we will again work with other Parties to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Much was made of the fact that Johnson is contemplating breaking the law passed by parliament and not asking the EU for a further extension. The rule of law should be upheld by everyone but especially by the Prime Minister

A major debate was held on the Health Service with a huge move from curing illness to the prevention of them. The role of local government both in its official Public Health and in its control of the social determinants of health such as parks, libraries, housing and the environment was repeatedly emphasised both within the motion and within the full 10,000 work paper which lay behind it.

The only elements of controversy came when a group tried to reduce our commitment to the sugar tax and minimum prices for alcohol. There were defeated but with surprisingly high numbers in support of the amendment. When 30% of our 11-year olds are obese and 3% are mobility obese in a way that is life threatening action must be taken. When 43,000 children under 16 have to have extractions of teeth so severe that they need to be done in hospital and the reason for that can be traced to excessive consumption of carbonated drinks.

Taxation policies do not work to deal with issues by themselves but as part of a suite of actions. In fact, they work best when they don’t raise much money with the sugar tax bringing in much less cash than expected as drinks manufacturers reduced astoundingly high levels of sugar to more acceptable ones.

Another favourite topic of mine discussed yesterday was a motion about education through life. This is so important not just for individuals but for our economy. In times gone by you became a joiner or a metal worker or an accountant and you took exams at the start of your career which would last for life. Today everything changes rapidly and yesterday’s skills become redundant and new ones need to be acquired. This means that we all have to want to learn and be prepared to reskill if we want to stay active on the jobs market.

Education, as was emphasised yesterday, is not just about work but about pleasure and leisure. The joys of learning a new subject or how to take up something new are so important for our physical and mental health. The whole of system needs to be rebalanced so that people want to learn and can learn farther than being placed into an examination-based sausage machine.

Prevention rather than cure will also be the subject of a debate on Crime today. I spoke a few days ago to a senior police officer in Merseyside and we agreed that just catching crooks was not a viable policy. As with health prevention crime prevention is the only real way forward. We need to look at the reasons crimes, especially violent crimes, are increasing. We need to deal with the issues that push youngsters into criminal activity inside their families and communities. We need to prevent gang culture not just contain it.

As always part of the pleasure in these events is the ‘family reunion’ element of them. I had dinner last night with relatively new friends like Cllr Kris Brown and Cllr Alana Tormey but also long term friends of more than 40 years like Alderman Paul Clark and Chris Davies MEP.

Being a Lib Dem has never been the easiest path to follow. It was never a great career choice but I am glad that it is a path that I took when I was just 14. My bank balance would have been considerably bigger but my life experiences would have been considerably smaller had I not done so!

So, if you have any doubts about joining the Liberal Democrats contact me and talk about it. Over the past two days 55 people have joined the Liverpool Party – a huge number of new recruits. You can join them to at www.libdems.org.uk//join-local.

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The first day of the Lib Dem Conference 2019 was the best I’ve been to in 50+ years

Our Party is being joined from all sides by bright young MPs like Luciana Berger from Labour and Sam Gyimah from the Tories. Every day we get bigger and stronger

I was trying to work out yesterday how many main Spring and Autumn Federal Lib Dem Conferences I have been to. I gave up because it’s a hell of a lot! In 52 years, I have been to most of them although missing a few when I worked abroad. Even then I helped out at the first national convention of the DMP, the Turkish Liberal Party, so I suppose I can count that!

There have been highs and lows. One of the best highs until recently was the famous conference where David Steel told is to, “Go back to your Constituencies and prepare to Govern”. The undoubted low was the 2015 conference when all the commercial stands just cancelled. The media teams weren’t there and the exhibition area looked as if it was covered in metaphorical tumbleweed!

But I don’t think that any of them those days I have spent in seaside towns could match yesterday at conference. The whole conference centre was fizzing with energy. If you could have connected us to the National Grid we would have supplied all the power needs of Bournemouth!

The Members are here in huge numbers. More than 5,000 have registered for all or part of the Conference. The press are back with the media vans parked outside and 900 media passes issued. The diplomats are back as they realise the leading role that Jo Swinson will take in the next Parliament.

Some of the motions we looked at are extremely radical compared to the pallid and old-fashioned policies of Labour and the Tories. Both of those Parties are looking back and fighting the political battles of the 1970’s whilst we are looking forward to creating a liberal society for the next 30 years.

What a united Party we are. 120,000+ (more are joining every day) people working behind our Leader to bring about a new society. No splits, no factions, no rancour. Some honest disagreements, yes of course. Without disagreement policy and ideas do not develop. But all disagreements are being conducted in a positive and courteous way.

And look at the calibre of the people joining us! Tonight, the Liverpool crew will be having a drink with one of our new recruits, Luciana Berger MP. She is looking forward to her first Lib Dem Conference when she arrives today. This theme was picked up by Chukka Umunna at a meeting I was at yesterday when he said that it was the first time for years when he and his team had not dreaded going to their Party Conference and left as soon as they possibly could!

The people who joined us from other Parties either as MPs or as ‘ordinary members’ are the pick of the crop. Dedicated activists in their Party who just could not stomach their Party any longer as they lurched to left or right. It is no coincidence that both our candidates in the 2 Liverpool Council by-elections are people who until recently were Labour Party members.

The quality of those leaving as recognised by Alistair Burt MP when he commented in a Tweet after Sam Gyimah joined said his Party (the Tories) need people like Sam. Too late Alistair, the Rubicon has been crossed!

Sam Gyimah told our Rally last night that centrists were being “cast out of both main parties”. The East Surrey MP called on them to unite and fight back against the drift to the extremes.

“I listen to ministers undermining the courts,” he said. “Ministers questioning experts because their views are inconvenient for what the government is saying about no deal. You have a government that says law enforcement is the centrepiece of its platform, and yet says in another breath that it will pick and choose what laws it chooses to respect”.

Absolutely correct but politics is not and should not be just about Brexit. Brexit is defining us now because of the effects it will have on the quality of our lives for decades ahead. There will not be a small blip on the road if we leave the EU. Our economy, which has already lost 400,000 jobs, will decline. This will affect our ability to fund new developments for health, social care, education, transport, the environment, indeed everything that the people of the UK think need improving.

We say, “Bring on the next General Election” because we know that our Party will leap forward in it. Almost every poll predicts a Parliament where there is no overall control which is why every vote and every MP gained will increase Jo Swinson’s ability to force change in a system which is basically corrupt. Given the unpredictable nature of the First Past the Post system where there are four Parties in contention it is not impossible that the shots will really be called by Jo as the Prime Minister.

The next few weeks are crucial ones for our Country. The Lib Dems approach them larger than ever before, united, self-confident and gaining the support of centrists from both left and right. The bright sunny uplands are before us and the Lib Dems will leave Bournemouth full of vim and vigour and ready to take advantage of any opportunities which come our way to increase our presence and make our Country the great one that it used to be.

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Why I am Standing to be Party President

As President of the Party my feet would be firmly on the ground as I continue to be a front line campaigner in my own Church with Cllrs Liz and Andrew Makinson

I was amazed to be told that the Federal Board has decided to run the internal elections for the Presidency and Party committees this Autumn. Yes, I know that they are due BUT I also know that they will be taking place when there are far more important things to do. There may just be some issues like stopping Brexit; welcoming new MPs to our Party and fighting a General Election that should take precedence.

Had it been left to me I would have taken the opportunity to tell the Conference in Bournemouth that the Party would be postponing the elections until January and, I would expect, getting a rousing standing ovation from our front-line troops for doing so.

But perhaps it is because decisions like this keep getting taken that I want to stand to become the Party President in the first place. I first became interested in standing when our LGA Lib Dem Executive was told in March last year that the Party was proposing to send out three emails to the membership before the May elections all about Brexit campaigning and not one about local elections. Don’t get me wrong I believe that Brexit is important. As far back as 1975 I chaired the Liverpool ‘yes’ team in the EEC referendum of that year. Elections are even more important. Unless we get elected to councils and parliaments, we are a talking shop, a debating society.

The elections last year began the very public process of raising in people’s minds the full potential of the Lib Dems. The 175 gains and subsequent headlines led to repeated successes in council by-elections. That lead to this year’s huge gains in this year’s round, the election of Jane Dodds and the defection to us of 5 MPs including our own Luciana Berger MP in Liverpool Wavertree.

That’s the way I think that we can grow. We built our Party in the past street by street, community by community, ward by ward and then to parliamentary success. That’s the Lib Dem way and it’s the right way. Parliamentary successes caused by defections or Brexit will be short-term unless underpinned by a phalanx of Councillors and strong community action.

For 52 years I have been a front-line worker for the Party. For 37 of those years I have been a Liverpool Councillor. At times I have represented some of the most deprived communities in the UK. Now I represent a wealthier ward which includes the most famous Lane in the World! I lead the Lib Dem opposition on the council where we are clawing our way back to power against an increasing cult-like extremist Labour Party.

That has not stopped me doing things globally or nationally. For 10 years I was the UK representative on the World body for local government UCLG. For 8 years I was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in local government at the LGA. I now lead on health & social care at the LGA and regularly attend sessions of all sorts in both Houses of Parliament.

I believe that we need to change the way we do things nationally:

  • We need to change the way we relate to our members. We need to give them real news and information not just endlessly appeal for cash (Yes, I do know that we are short of money!)
  • We need to link our policy making processes to our campaigning processes. We have large numbers of excellent policies which never see the light of day either in our leaflets or by way of being used in conversations with specialist local and national bodies.
  • The excellent work of our Councillors and Lib Dem controlled councils is rarely publicly recognised or used in social or other media.
  • We spend money on performing back office operations from an expensive central London property on wage levels that would be good if we paid them to none-London based staff but are poor for London prices.
  • We need to become a much more disciplined ‘fighting force’ for liberalism which involves far more of our members and registered supporters than we currently do in our campaigning.

I will, of course, be available at Conference to discuss these or any other ideas with you. I won’t be spending lots of money on a campaign. I won’t be showering members with messages at a time when they will be concentrating on more urgent priorities. I will however, be keeping people in touch with what’s happening and my views at my new Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/Kemp4President/, my blog which is www.richardkemp.wordpress.com and my Twitter account @cllrkemp. It would help me greatly if you liked this Facebook site and retweeted my relevant tweets.

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Revoke Article 50 now

Its great to see these two strong women, Luciana Berger and Jo Swinson united in the Lib Dems to fight leaving the EU which would be so damaging for the Country and particularly damaging for Liverpool

So, the advice that was given to Her Majesty the Queen about proroguing Parliament has been found to be illegal and both Labour and Tory Parties are facing four (at least) different ways at once on Brexit. It seems very complex and very messy then along comes our knight in shining armour, Jo Swinson, with the sword of light to cut through this darkness. Her proposition is simple, “revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU”. Whether you like it or not that is simple position, everyone can understand it and it would end the Brexit debate in its tracks.

As I look at the Labour and Tory Parties, I am clear about one thing – that even if we were to leave on October 31st (or any other date) there will be years of arguments and parliamentary time taken up with the aftermath of a Brexit. 500 pages of the Withdrawal Agreement will need to be made into laws, treatises and agreements. That will continue to mean insufficient or no time being spent on major issues like social care; the NHS; falling education standards and climate change.

Let me look at the situation in England. Please forgive me for not looking at the other three nations of the United Kingdom. I know what the Lib Dem position is there but not what the nuances of the SNP; PC and NI Parties positions are.

Let’s start with the Tories. This is a much easier position than that of Labour because most of the people who want other options than the preferred waffle of the Prime Minister have either been chucked out or have chosen to leave. We can see this in Parliament but we can also see it in the membership surge into the Lib Dems in the past few months. Yes, most of them have been from Labour or the social democrat tradition but many have been from the One Nation conservatism of the Conservative Party.

We know that even Johnson supporters in the Commons are being by-passed in favour of discussions with his evil band of advisers such as Dominic Cummings. His own Party members in the Commons and Lords have branded him a serial liar. The most egregious of his current lies is that he is negotiating alternatives to the May Withdrawal Agreement specially over the vitally important back stop on the borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The Irish Prime Minister made it clear that there have been no proposals put forward by Johnson and does not believe that there any that have not already been considered. Johnson claims to want a  deal but is not trying to negotiate a new one with anyone.

So, let me summarise Labour’s position if I can! “There is no credible alternative Brexit”, says Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, but in fact its far more complicated than that! Labour faces four ways on this vital issue:

  • Corbyn’s policy is an election, then referendum with leave & remain options –
  • Today Tom Watson will say referendum FIRST
  • 50+ backbenchers want to agree a deal in Parliament and leave
  • A handful of MPs would settle for No Deal

None of these four positions are actually consistent with the fact that the vast majority of Labour members and voters want to Remain! It is also significant that Corbyn continues to sit on the fence on this issue. He won’t say if Labour would campaign to leave on his newly established Brexit deal or vote to remain. The position remains that should Labour get a new deal large parts of the Party will then vote against it!

Of course, the fact is that this will not happen. It would be possible to negotiate a new deal but not on the lines suggested so far by Corbyn. In particular his negotiating stance on the Freedom of Movement so contradicts the fundamental principles of the EU that there would be no point in putting anything else on the table.

Against all this murky obfuscation from Labour and Tory Parties the Lib Dem position is clear, as Jo Swinson says, “I relish the chance to take the fight to Boris Johnson in an election and I’m confident we’d make significant gains. Whenever the election comes, our position is clear and unequivocal. A majority Liberal Democrat government would not renegotiate Brexit, we would cancel it by revoking article 50 and remaining in the European Union”.

She then makes clear that if there was not a majority Lib Dem Government the Party will work with others to ensure a second referendum and would campaign as a Party for Remain.

You might not like this policy but at least you know what it is. You can decide to vote for Lib Dem candidates or against knowing what we actually stand for which is far more than you can say about your choices elsewhere.

However many votes the Lib Dems get at the next General Election and however many MPs we will get at the next General Election each one of them will count to keep the UK in the EU; the only logical and credible situation for our Country to be in.

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We must defend our national flags

This flag which is a key symbol of our Country must not be allowed to be seen to be the symbol of small minded, xenophobic bigots

A few years ago, when I was in Arkansas, USA, I commented to one of the Mayors that I was with that every house seemed to have two flags, the Stars and Stripes and the Arkansas State flag. “Yes, we all have flags here. Don’t you”, he asked me. My reply was that I have never owned either an English or a national flag. I’ve never seen the need for one although I have sat in front of a Union flag on many occasions whilst representing this Country overseas at conferences and on delegations.

I raise this because in the past three days I have two examples of English and UK flags being used appropriately and one where I believe they have been used to tarnish the reputation of our Country.

On Sunday I went to a commemoration of the 17th (PALs) Battalion of the Liverpool Kings Regiment. This was the first battalion to be formed at the commencement of the Great War and the last to be disbanded after the war. After World War I was concluded and after 5 years in the trenches the 17th Battalion was sent to the Murmansk and Archangel area to defend 2 million tons of munitions assembled for the war against Germany which would have fallen into the hands of Bolsheviks. 21 died. The Union Flag was rightly carried in by an honour guard and laid before the altar. Afterwards it was lowered when the Last Post was sounded as a sign of respect.

This morning we had a brief service to commemorate the bravery of all in 999 emergency services who have either lost their lives during the course of undertaking their duties or on a daily basis may be called on to risk their lives. Again, our flags were used to emphasise how they represented everyone and were a part of our national identity.

However, on Saturday via the BBC, I saw our flags being used in the wrong way. A small bunch of thugs assembled in Whitehall carrying the Union Flag and the English Flag. They had to have man or woman to man marking by the Police. They were foul, vulgar, aggressive and thick. They thought so little of our Country that they trampled all over poppy wreaths laid in honour of the Dead at our Country’s National Cenotaph. These people don’t represent me and they don’t represent the vast majority of people in this Country. Yet the signs of our flags being carried almost into battle against our Police Force would have been beamed across the World.

The problem that I have with taking things further is how we get to decide what is proper or improper use of our flags. Some will say that football supporters going to a game in which England or (or Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland) are playing should not be flag wavers. I disagree. I see nothing wrong with people who have pride in their nation and want to carry their flag when there is a national game on. Being proud of one’s Country, as I am, is not nationalistic provided we accept that our Country is good but imperfect and realise that other Countries doing things differently to us makes them neither better or worse than us because of those differences.

In some Countries that issue has been resolved and there are actually laws about how and when a flag can be used. To my mind that is overkill. Because we have been both a nation and a then United Kingdom of 4 Nations for so long perhaps, we just don’t need think of outward signs of belonging in a way that relatively new nations do. Or perhaps we need to think again about this because of the way that our flags are being used by narrow-minded xenophobic bigots? I am not prepared to surrender my Country’s identity to people like this. The flags are representative of our nation and should be carried with dignity and awareness of the way that our nation is perceived as a result of those that carry them.

Having raised this issue I must tell you that I don’t have a solution to it. I do think it’s a discussion that needs to be had. Men and women died because of the beliefs inherent in those flags. They ‘followed the flag’ wherever it led and whatever personal sacrifice needed to be made. The way that they are being used now by a small minority of people besmirches their sacrifice and besmirches our Country on a day to day basis. This we must prevent and together we must find answers to this conundrum.

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Liberal Democrats welcome Luciana Berger

Lib Dems have given a warm welcome to Luciana Berger the MP for Liverpool Wavertree who joined the Party today at a conference with our Leader, Jo Swinson

On behalf of Liverpool Liberal Democrats, I have today welcomed the news that Luciana Berger has joined the Liberal Democrats. I do so not only as the Leader of the Lib Dems in Liverpool but also as the now ousted Lib Dem PPC for Liverpool Wavertree!

It’s been an exciting day which was started at 9.15 with a call from Jo Swinson giving me the news. I was able to tell her that I was certain that Liverpool Lib Dems would be supportive of this. We had already agreed as a Party to not fight against as a Change UK candidate. We were unsure what to do if she tried to stand as an Independent but I suspect that we would have come to the same decision.

Basically, we were able to move to this position with little debate because we have always respected her as an individual and have tried to work with her both locally and nationally. Tonight, we have called an emergency Executive Committee in accordance with the Party’s protocols and will, I am sure endorse her membership of the Party and then she will become not just a Lib Dem MP but officially the Lib Dem MP for Liverpool Wavertree!

Luciana arrived in Liverpool at the 2010 General Election where was a tense campaign in which we were quite aggressive (more than I would have liked) about the fact that she was arriving fresh from London and had no Liverpool roots at all. The local paper asked her questions about a range of local issues some of which caught her out. That, of course, is not our tradition. We are used to helping work up our local patch and riding a tide of support that we helped to create.

Since then she made her home in this City, got to know her patch well and has given birth to proud young Scousers who we hope will always maintain their Scouse Passports irrespective of what happens in Brexit!

We have always respected Luciana even when she was a Labour MP and have come to know her better in the last few months since she took her first step into a new world when she left Labour. Of course this happened just before she was to give birth to her second child so we had a quick meeting; decided to leave things for a few months but work together on important case work and local issues.

She has endured an appalling hate attack in the Labour Party since the rise to power within the Party of Corbyn and his cult.  She was female, Jewish and bright. Unforgiveable sins in the eyes of many Labour members. She was subject to vicious abuse both inside her Party and externally. Even as a Labour MP we extended a hand of friendship to her to try and help her. The level of hate mail she received would certainly have overwhelmed me.

Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party is not a good organisation to be part of. Of the four Labour councillors elected this May one has resigned first as Lord Mayor and then as a Councillor for distributing a racist video. Another one has been suspended for sexism including calling a local Labour MEP a f*****g b***h on a video filmed in a pub!

Locally, she has worked hard and has not always been on the same side as the Lib Dem team on local issues. However, as many Lib Dems will tell you MPs and councillors in the same Party often have to disagree because they have different jobs and see things with a different perspective. This gets magnified when they are of opposing Parties.

Nationally, she has become renowned for her work on mental health where she has often teamed up with Norman Lamb on an issue dear to both their hearts. I have met her frequently at the Health Select Committee because of the work that I do nationally as health spokesperson at the LGA. Mental health and its links with physical health are of huge concern to the Lib Dems so working with someone as passionate about the issue as Lucian was not difficult.

Together the Lib Dems local and nationally will need to work with Luciana to decide what her next steps are. I hope that she feels as comfortable with her new political family as she felt uncomfortable with her last one. It’s great to have her on our team. Although Red is very popular for some reasons in Liverpool an increasing number of prefer an orange rosette!

What a great team of strong determined women MPs we now have in the Party. What a great team of 16 Lib Dem MPs we now have. I am sure that Luciana will not be the last MP to join us, in fact she’s the second this week. A clear reason for her arrival is the overriding issue of Brexit which she knows will be so damaging to her constituents and to our City. For too long Corbyn has been equivocal as to a way forward.  Even today two Labour spokespersons have said two very different things about what will appear in a manifesto for a General Election. In the Lib Dems there is no such confusion.

“Bring it on”, is the Lib Dems view on an early General Election. Let’s get cracking with the General Election as soon as a no deal Brexit is safely in its box and get even more strong Remainers elected to Parliament.

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Brexit won’t be over for years

This picture of Rees-Mogg sums up all you need to know about Johnson’s Tories. Contemptible, contemptuous, louche, arrogant and thinking that they have a right to rule. We need an early General Election to sweep them away

One of the most common comments I have heard in the past few months about Brexit is, “I just want it to be over”. This sentiment has come from people who want to leave and people who want to remain.

I have some sympathy for that viewpoint. I was stopped on my way out with Erica last night by a constituent who I didn’t know who told us, “That lot down there are making a real mess of your profession”. As I unpacked this with him what he meant it was that the people’s trust in politicians was being even more quickly eroded that it had been hitherto”. Although he then did say that I was doing a good job and asked when I was going to get ***** ***** out. Of course, he meant the Mayor!

He is right on all three counts (I say with all due modesty!) We have been talking about Brexit for too long. It has sucked all the energy out of debates we need to have on social care; the NHS; the environment; education and other huge problem areas. It has lost us 400,000 jobs, many of them well paying. It has cost £billions to no effect. It has reduced our international standing to that of a banana republic. AND it WON’T stop on October 31st or any other date if the Government is successful and proceeds either with a No Deal Brexit or a Brexits based on May’s deal.

Why? Because the withdrawal agreement is only a start of the leaving process. It is 500+ pages of things like tariffs, education, labour agreements, environmental agreements, people movement agreements and hundreds of other things that will need to be negotiated almost page by page and then agreed by Parliament. Estimates I have seen from civil servants suggest a minimum of 4 years to deal with these items. At least with May’s agreement there is the basis of a discussion. Without one all the same areas will need to be covered but without a structure for a debate.

These are just some the discussions that will need to go on with the EU. Similar discussions on many of these issues with the rest of the World. From memory we now have in place agreements with just 4 small Countries. The Faroe Islands are not a major source of revenue for us even if we took all their trade. The USA says we will have an agreement with them quickly on trade issues. Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The US administration has already made clear that they know that they can walk all over us and see us as a Country where there will be rich pickings to be had.

For all the time it takes to renegotiate new trade agreements we will be subject to crippling tariffs for most of our exports on World Tariff Organisation terms. These terms will cripple our car industry and our farm industries and will force up the price of food both in the costs of purchase and the increased costs of the bureaucracy needed to move goods around when we are out of the world’s most prosperous free trade zone.

Of course, there is one way to close down the entire debate and that is to have a People’s Vote so there will just be one more national debate that could be over within 2 months. Make it a binding vote to accept either May’s agreement or remain and the matter would be dealt with in principle terms. If the Country votes to leave on these terms the negotiations can start on a better footing and if they decide to remain no further discussion will be necessary.

I personally feel that we need an early General Election but not an immediate one. I support Jo Swinson when she says that legislation to prevent a No Deal Brexit needs to be locked down before such an election should be held. Tories were hoping that we would all forget that the Government remains in place even after the election is called until after the General Election and a new Government is formed. The convention is that nothing contentious takes place at such a time. Johnson has already trampled over Parliamentary convention and etiquette.  I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him not to do things when he cannot be overruled by Parliament in matters relating to the EU.

Yesterday the Lib Dems were joined from the Tories by Dr Phillip Lee who joined us as Johnson rose to begin his speech. 21 Tories were then chucked out. It should also be noted that 2 Labour MPs who still are in receipt of the Labour whip voted with the Tories. Nothing seems to be being done about them. That, of course ignores the 11 Labour MPs who have given up the Labour whip voluntarily whose votes were all over the place.

Within one hour of Lee joining us 100+ new members joined as well. Yesterday I wrote to two more new members in Liverpool, a task which I seem to be doing every day at the moment. Few in Liverpool have come from the Tories. Most are former Labour members like Chris Lea our candidate in Old Swan and Sean Robertson our Clubmoor candidate who joined us a few months ago.

Liverpool Lib Dems are ready for the fray. We have candidates in place and a clear view of the national policy points we want to emphasise in our Liverpool campaigning. We say, “Bring it on”, but only when we are sure that Johnson cannot fix the agenda whilst the campaign is on.

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