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Sunday shows round-up: A Lib Dem government would revoke Article 50, says Jo Swinson

15 September 2019

1:20 PM

15 September 2019

1:20 PM

Steve Barclay – Boris Johnson ‘believes in Brexit’

David Cameron’s memoirs are due to be released this Thursday, with some of the more explosive highlights already seeing serialisation. The Sunday Times has published an extract today that argues that Boris Johnson did not believe in Brexit, and only backed the Leave campaign to win over the Conservative rank and file. The Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay joined Sophy Ridge and immediately refuted the former Prime Minister’s claims:

SR: Does Boris Johnson really believe in Brexit?
SB: He does! He led the campaign… and the Remain side was expected to win, so the more prudent thing, if someone was looking purely at their career, would have been to back Remain. Boris Johnson… believes in Brexit and he’s committed to delivering it

We can see a ‘landing zone’ for a future deal

Turning to the substance of Barclay’s brief, Ridge asked whether the government was having any success in achieving its aim of an improved Brexit deal. Barclay said that there were grounds for optimism, hinting that attitudes were beginning to shift:

SR: Is progress really being made in getting a deal?
SB: We can see a landing zone in terms of a future deal… EU leaders themselves have said that they’re open to being creative and flexible in terms of future arrangements… We’re very clear we want a best-in-class free trade agreement.

‘We will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court’

This Tuesday, the Supreme Court will decide on the legality of the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament. The move, which has proved highly controversial, has been contested in both the English and Scottish courts, with the Scottish appeal court declaring it to be unlawful. Barclay made clear that the government would respect the final verdict:

SB: We respect the decision of the [Scottish] court. It’s right that this matter now goes to the UK Supreme Court and the government will abide by the decision of the UK Supreme Court.

The Hulk ‘was a winner’

The Prime Minister has given an interview to the Mail on Sunday in which he likened the UK to the Incredible Hulk, highlighting the Hulk’s ability to break free from the toughest of restraints. Barclay was happy to endorse the sentiment:

SB: The Hulk was a winner… and was extremely popular, and I’d rather be backing a leader who’s a Hulk rather than one who’s on the chicken run as Jeremy Corbyn is.

Harriet Harman – Speaker should rebuild trust in democracy

With the Speaker of the Commons announcing his resignation on Monday, several candidates are rallying to succeed him. Labour’s former deputy leader Harriet Harman spoke about why she wanted to fill John Bercow’s shoes:

HH: A casualty from the divisions over Brexit… has been public trust and confidence in our Parliament… and if there’s a vacuum there, then extremism can move in and fill that gap… We really need to address that. All MPs, but also centrally, the Speaker.

A male Speaker will render women ‘invisible’

Harman also argued that with the departure of another female Prime Minister, women’s issues were at risk of being overlooked. She suggested that electing a man to the role of Speaker would be inappropriate:

HH: We’ve now got more than 200 women members of the House of Commons, and I think it would show that Parliament has changed to have a woman in the chair… If we put a man in the chair, it will render all those women invisible.

Sam Gyimah – There are ‘too few people like me’ in the Tories

Sam Gyimah became the latest parliamentarian to defect to the Liberal Democrats over the weekend, appearing before the party’s conference in Bournemouth. Gyimah, who attempted to run for leader of the Conservatives earlier this year, was one of the 21 rebels who lost the party whip after voting for the Commons to set the agenda on Brexit:

SG: There are too few people like me in the party who stand up for those values [which made us successful]… If I want to fight for liberal values… then the Conservative party is no longer a place to do so.

Priti Patel – ‘No point going over the past’ on referendum

Another cabinet minister who David Cameron has taken aim at in his memoirs is the Home Secretary Priti Patel. Cameron states that he ought to have sacked Patel from her role as Employment Minister for repeatedly attacking her own government’s record on migration. Patel told Andrew Marr that this was now ancient history:

PP: The referendum has happened, we’ve all moved on… There is no point going over the past.
AM: He says you ‘left the truth at home’ during that campaign.
PP: Many of those issues went to the heart of the vote to Leave… Those issues are still prevalent to the debates and the discussion today.

Sadiq Khan – ‘We are a Remain party’

The Mayor of London stressed that Labour was a party with strong Remainer credentials and insisted that Labour should campaign for that outcome no matter what:

SK: We are a Remain party. We should give the British people a final say… [but] once we’ve got a public vote, we should campaign to Remain in the EU.

Jo Swinson – A Lib Dem government would revoke Article 50

However, the leader of the Liberal Democrats went one further and told Marr that, in the unlikely event that her party did secure an outright majority, she would be happy to interpret that as a mandate to stop Brexit without a referendum:

JS: If people put us into government – the ‘stop Brexit’ party – then stopping Brexit is exactly what people will get… Everybody can see that we are stuck, that Brexit is in a mess and there needs to be a way out of that.

Philip Lee ‘supports equality’

And finally, Swinson defended her decision to accept Conservative MPs into the Lib Dem fold despite objections from some of her members. In particular, Jennie Rigg, the former chair of the party’s LGBT caucus, has denounced Dr Phillip Lee as a ‘homophobe’ among other accusations:

JS: I do not believe that is an accurate representation of Phillip’s views… Phillip is a supporter of equality.


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