Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg speech at the National Liberal Club on May the 2nd 2017, highlighted the cynicism of Theresa May’s call of a general election and the risks this general election poses for the future of Great Britain.
Nick Clegg renewed the Liberal Democrats’ call for a second referendum on a final Brexit deal. He pointed out that “At this election, the Liberal Democrats are the only major national party that is sounding the alarm against hard Brexit.”
On Theresa May snap general election, Nick Clegg commented:
“Clearly the temptation of taking advantage of Jeremy Corbyn’s poor public standing – and getting her excuses in early before the Brexit bad news hits – was too great. Far from putting the country first, her decision was an old fashioned wheeze to secure narrow party political advantage.
But what it shows above all is a growing, swaggering complacency on the part of the Conservatives.
They expect a coronation, not a contest.
They expect voters will give them a majority with the minimum explanation as to why.”
Nick Clegg also analysed in great details the economical impact of Brexit and it social consequences:
“Now the Conservatives and their cheerleaders in the Brexit press would have you believe that all the projections about the impact of Brexit on the economy were wrong, and have been disproven by events.
This is nonsense. First, Brexit hasn’t happened yet. The long-term impacts won’t start to be felt until 2019 at the earliest. […]
With average earnings growth set to stall later this year, consumers are inevitably going to feel the Brexit squeeze. […]
Putting all of this together, the Brexit squeeze means the average household is likely to be £500 worse off in 2017 compared to 2016 – and that’s even before the Brexit negotiations have started in earnest.
Cumulatively, this means that Brexit will have dented the public finances by £59bn over a 5-year period.
Let’s be very clear: this has serious consequences for the NHS, social care, and schools. At a time when vital public services are desperately in need of additional funding, the Conservatives are pouring billions into the Brexit black hole.”
Nick Clegg underlined the irony of the Government refusal to call for a second referendum:
“It is peculiar that Theresa May argues that supporting a referendum on the outcome of the Brexit talks is tantamount to thwarting the will of the people – it does the opposite, by entrenching the supremacy of the people – especially since it is a case made so forcefully in the past by ardent Brexiteers from John Redwood to David Davis.
If Brexit is going to be as popular as they argue it will be, they should surely be enthusiasts for a referendum on the final deal? It is becoming increasingly obvious that their refusal to countenance another referendum is because they fear they would lose it, not least since voters will be much more alert to the lies and fabrications so effectively deployed the first time round. It is the same reason that they brought the date of this general election forward: they know that come 2019, the prospect of Brexit might be far less appealing to many people than it appears today.”
Nick Clegg concluded:
“By choosing to be careless with your future and carefree in their approach to such a huge task, the Conservatives have placed party before country, themselves before all else, politics before the nation.
Don’t let them get away with it. They don’t deserve to rule our country unopposed.
Britain needs an effective opposition to hard Brexit. That is why I urge you to vote for a real opposition – the Liberal Democrats.”