Former senior Lib Dem slams ‘stupid’ and ‘extreme’ Brexit policy during Swinson leadership


THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS’ “extreme” decision to make revoking Article 50 their Brexit position will go down as “a historic miscalculation”, former Lib Dem MP Sir Norman Lamb told LBC.

Former Lib Dem MP Sir Norman Lamb spoke to LBC about his party’s election “disaster”. December 12 saw then-leader Jo Swinson lose her seat to the SNP, causing the party’s numbers to drop down to 11. Sir Norman blamed the disappointing result on the pro-European party’s Brexit position, which “gave people across much of the country a positive reason to vote against” them.

When asked if it was Ms Swinson’s fault, the former MP told LBC: “It’s not just her, I think the party took a very stupid turn.

“I have to say I largely fell out with the party in the period since the referendum.

“I think to just take a decision to seek to block a referendum which we’d voted to hold in the first place was a big mistake.

“We just became more and more extreme in our position.”

He continued: “We doubled down on hard Remainers and we gave people across much of the country a positive reason to vote against us.

“My old seat of North Norfolk and seats across much of the country have become completely un-win-able to the Lib Dems because of this approach that they’ve taken to totally resisting the outcome of the referendum rather than engaging in the discussion about the sort of Brexit we should have.

“I think this will go down as a historic miscalculation by Remainers – not just in the Lib Dems but Labour MPs as well.”

Sir Norman was a candidate in the 2015 Liberal Democrats leadership election, but lost to Tim Farron.

The Liberal Democrats were grilled during the election campaign for their controversial Brexit stance.

They began by declaring that if they won, they would revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit without a second referendum.

However, as this “extreme” position proved unpopular, they turned to backing a second referendum.

Labour also suffered a devastating loss, dropping 59 seats to 203.

24 of their strongest constituencies swung to the Tories for the first time in decades.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party seriously hurt the Labour vote, but achieved zero seats at the end of election night.

In contrast, the SNP had a victorious night, gaining 13 seats to hold 48 of the 59 Scottish battleground.

The Conservatives achieved 365 seats, giving them a majority of 80 in the House of Commons.


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