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September 16, 2019

I’ll cancel Brexit if I’m PM: Lib Dems leader Swinson

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P
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September 16, 2019

BOURNEMOUTH: Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson has promised to cancel Brexit altogether after members backed revoking Article 50 if the party wins a majority at the next election.

The pro-EU party is enjoying a revival under Swinson’s watch, with a host of MPs defecting to her party with its clear stance on Britain’s relationship with Brussels.

Sam Gyimah, a former Tory minister, became the sixth MP to switch allegiance to the party this year and some polling companies predict the Lib Dems could take as much as a fifth of the vote at the next election — up from just 7 per cent in 2017.

The clear stance on Brexit was cemented when members at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth voted overwhelmingly to support a motion to revoke Article 50 if the party gains a majority in a general election. The move would stop Brexit in its tracks without the need for a second referendum.

“The policy we are debating at conference today is very clear,” Swinson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “If the Liberal Democrats win a majority at the next election, if people put into government — as a majority government — the ‘Stop Brexit’ party, then stopping Brexit is exactly what people will get. Yes, we will revoke Article 50.”

The East Dunbartonshire MP added: “We have argued that a specific Brexit deal should be put to a People’s Vote to give clarity. We still argue for that. But if we end up at a general election then I think we need to be straightforward with people and give them an option for all this Brexit chaos to stop. I recognise not everyone agrees with the Lib Dems on this. (But) it is genuinely what we think is right for the country.”

James Cleverly, chairman of the Conservative Party, predicted the Lib Dem stance would lead to “more delay, division and uncertainty”. “Despite calling herself a ‘democrat’, Jo Swinson’s mask has slipped and we now know that she wants to overrule one of the largest democratic votes in British history, cancelling Brexit,” the Braintree MP said.

For Swinson to secure a majority in the House of Commons and become prime minister, she would have to increase her current number of 18 MPs, which includes Gyimah’s recent defection, to more than 350, gaining an election upswing never seen before in British electoral history.

She admitted the party would need to take a “leap” to achieve such results but said she wanted to “build the movement to do that”. But she also vowed, in an effort to convince middle-class Europhiles to vote for her party, that she would not support efforts to install Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister if there was another hung parliament.

“Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are not fit to be prime minister, we see that day in, day out,” she told the BBC. “Jeremy Corbyn is not going to be put into Number 10 with Lib Dem votes because he is not fit for the position. The country deserves better.”

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