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Whither Brexit? Ed Davey Says LibDem Election Victory Would Mean UK Remaining in EU

© REUTERS / PETER NICHOLLSAnti-Brexit protestors sit on the Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, August 31, 2019
Anti-Brexit protestors sit on the Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, August 31, 2019 - Sputnik International
In an effort to position themselves as the party of Remainers, the Liberal Democrats have long argued that if they were to win in any election, then the possibility of staying in the EU regardless of the 2016 referendum result would be very real.

The Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has come out in defence of his party’s proposal to completely cancel Brexit if it secures a majority in any future election.

On the first day of the LibDems’ autumn conferences in Bournemouth, Mr Davey argued that his party would have a democratic mandate to toss Brexit to the wolves if victorious in an election, adding that the LibDems are now much more likely to win in any election than they were in the past.

While Mr Davey did say that he and his party would prefer to have a second Brexit referendum immediately, he added that the other parties “won’t give us that democratic opportunity.”

Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Davey said that, “to be clear, we are saying we would prefer a referendum because then that’s as clear as you could possible be. But if we just said in the general election: ‘Well, we will have a referendum,’ that would be asking people to vote twice.”

“It would be asking for this to go on for so long, and people are fed up. They want to get on with things like investing in our health service, our schools, tackling the climate emergency – things the Liberal Democrats want to do – and they want to therefore have finality, and we would offer that.”

The LibDems have faced increasing accusations that by calling for the total abandonment of Brexit through the revoking of article 50 they are simply positioning themselves as the political opposite of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. During his BBC interview, Davey strenuously denied this, asserting that doing away with Brexit altogether would allow the UK to focus on the issues that, according to him, caused Brexit in the first place, such as austerity and economic inequality.

“While we have got this nightmare going on in parliament we can’t deal with those problems,” Mr Davey added.

On Friday September 13, the LibDems’ leader, Jo Swinson, once again dismissed the possibility of entering into coalition with a Jeremy Corbyn-led government after any general election, pointing in particular to what she characterised as Mr Corbyn “totally, totally failing” to purge his party of antisemitism. Miss Swinson also rejected the possibility of teaming up with incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson to moderate his Brexit position, saying that he treats politics as “a game.”

“In Boris Johnson’s case I just do not think he cares about people. I think he only cares about himself. I find it easy to get on with most people in politics, but I find that difficult to respect,” Miss Swinson reportedly added.

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