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Lib Dems challenge Tory Remain MPs to shun Theresa May’s Hard Brexit manifesto

April 21, 2017 9:30 AM

Lib Dems challenge Tory Remain MPs to shun Theresa May's Hard Brexit manifesto

Theresa May will reportedly include her Hard Brexit negotiating priorities in the Conservative General Election manifesto to lock Remain-backing Tory MPs and the House of Lords into backing her stance.
The manifesto will include guarantees to leave the Single Market, end the free movement of European Union citizens, and to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Today, (Friday) the Liberal Democrats unveiled its 'litmus test for remain-backing Tory MPs', urging them to refuse to support May's Hard Brexit manifesto and instead sign up to a series of key points that many of the people who voted for them in 2015 support:

Keeping Britain in the Single Market

Keeping the UK in the European Court of Justice

Right to remain for European Union citizens

Agreeing to protect worker rights, environmental protections and consumer rights.

A senior Lib Dem source said - "In Witney and Richmond Park we found that remain supporting Conservative voters flocked to us when they heard our message. Remain Conservative MPs cannot sign up to a Hard Brexit manifesto, it goes against everything they say they believe. They need to stand up for what thousands of their voters in their seats believe in. Otherwise they will face a vicious backlash in the election - we know these voters are open to the Liberal Democrats."

Tim Farron said: "This election is your chance to change the direction of the country. If you want to stop a Hard Brexit and keep Britain in the Single Market, you need MPs who will fight for you. These are things thousands of voters hold dear and things that the Liberal Democrats believe with every fibre of our being.

"This is a litmus test. If these Tory MPs reject these principles and back a hard Brexit manifesto then people will know that on the biggest issue of the day they went missing in action. People will then know only the Liberal Democrats will fight for a country that is open, tolerant and united."

Former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Sir Ed Davey, who is seeking the party's nomination in Kingston and Surbiton, a seat that went Conservative in 2015 but backed remain in the referendum, added: "People across Kingston and Surbiton voted overwhelmingly to remain. They deserve an MP who will stand up for what they believe in. That means someone who will oppose Theresa May's Hard Brexit and fight to keep us in the Single Market."

As background:

This fresh call comes after Tim said moderate Tory MPs should get some "self-respect" and defect to the Lib Dems or face the same fate as Zac Goldsmith.

In a keynote speech at his party's Spring conference last month, Farron threw down the gauntlet to "centrist" Tories who did not share Theresa May's vision of a hard Brexit.

He called on those MPs to stop marching through the voting lobbies in support of policies they disagreed with, and either "defect or resign".

Speaking at our recent party conference in York, Farron addressed those Tories who were attracted to the party by David Cameron's "Compassionate Conservatism" and said: "We shared power with their party for five years, so I think I can say this to them bluntly: You aren't in that party any more - it has gone.

"You are now the supporters of a government that is as anti-business as Jeremy Corbyn. You are now the cheerleaders of a government that is as anti-refugees as Nigel Farage. You are now backing an agenda that is the opposite of what you signed up for.

"You are trooping through the lobbies voting for this stuff and you know it's wrong, so for pity's sake, have some self-respect. Defect or resign.

"If you don't then when the next election comes we will do to you what we did to Zac Goldsmith."