Amid critical Brexit debate, Conservative MP defects to Liberal Democrats

Originally published at:


Maybe they just had a lot of empty chairs available in that section…


If a few more so-called conservatives had some moral principles (like this fellow seems to have) rather than a commitment to authoritarian dogma, the world would be a better place.


Bit like defecting to the Allies during the Battle of Berlin, but better late than never I guess.


Some context for those outside of the UK - although this was a fine choice of timing, this will almost certainly have been in the works for a while.

The main issue within the Lib Dems for this will be the local party members. There could well be loyal, long-term members who have their own candidate for that constituency, and without their approval this would be a fairly disastrous move. In the UK a candidate really needs a good support team in an election - strict spending limits mean that door to door leafleting and pop-up events at local civic and shopping centres are some of the main campaigning tools. You need lots of motivated volunteers for that kind of thing. So you really need to have the existing local party on board for this kind of defection, or the next election might not be too good.

And as mentioned, there’s going to be a local candidate for the party already. That person has to be willing to stand aside, in the hope that the inertia of the incoming defector will get votes that they couldn’t last time.

So whilst the timing is superb, this won’t have been a spur of the moment thing.

For myself personally - well, this isn’t my constituency so it doesn’t affect me. But I live in a fairly Conservative area, and we’re picking up a few new members who are lifelong Conservative voters but are disgusted at the xenophobic and irrational direction that the Conservative Party has lurched towards in recent years.
I welcome all new members, and my only worry is that this may mean that we move a little to the right in our politics. The Lib Dems occupy the centre ground in British politics, and whilst the right (Conservative) party and left (Labour) party were close to each other, we were a tough sell to the electorate. The recent distance that’s opened up between the two of them means we’re getting support from the disaffected centre-ground members of both parties. I’m hoping that the right leaning of our new members reflects the voting tendencies around here, and that we’re also picking up similar numbers of members in left-leaning constituencies…

We’ll need both to succeed. If all we get are Conservatives, it’s no good. Myself, I’m socially progressive but I think that the best way to implement my beliefs is through regulation and competition, rather than the Labour preference for centrally controlled government initiatives. It’s why I joined the Lib Dems - I often tell my fellow members that I’d be in Labour if their methods weren’t so thoroughly discredited by history. Those of us on the left of the party will just have to work harder to keep the party in the centre.

(Oh, and if you’re in the UK, progressive, and hate the centralised government methods that Labour’s wedded to - consider joining the Lib Dems. We can work together to try to save this country from the right wing lunatics!)


Johnson has threatened to deselect anyone who votes against Brexit

I can’t wait for the announcement that Johnson has just kicked Winston Churchill’s grandson out of the Conservative Party


I don’t think they accept borderline anarcho-communists. Neither do Labour, to be fair.



You’re on fire today…


It’s a stretch, I’ll admit. But we’ll stand together with you when you’re fighting Brexit. :wink:

It’s a pity they don’t do the £3 supporter thing anymore. I think they took anyone for that particular wheeze! But then I detect you may not want to be a member anyway… :smile:


The 319-320 figure, which looks so promising, has an asterisk attached.

Charlie Elphicke
Technically independent after having the Tory whip removed while under investigation for sexual assault.
Likely to vote with Boris Johnson


That’s an odd way to spell “facilitate pitiless austerity for half a decade”, but we can get back to that once Boris is gone.




On the contrary, you can see them all shuffle along to let him in.


I think Mr. Soames isn’t quite up to date on the use of the #MeToo hashtag?


Is this an American equivalent?


Firstly, we tempered their efforts. Things like having the first £10,000 tax free were our idea, and despite being part of the coalition agreement the Conservatives tried to go back on it and fought it tooth and nail. It would have been worse if we’d not been in the room.

Secondly, take a look at the Labour manifesto from 2010. It had billions of pounds of cuts too. The sad fact is that the media narrative - driven by the right wing press - was that austerity was necessary. This was when we still had weekly stories about welfare scroungers on long term sick benefits. (Before they moved on to immigrants.) A Labour government would have been under that exact same pressure, and had promised a similar level of cuts to the Conservatives.

I agree that we shouldn’t have has as much austerity. I argued at the time that we should borrow to spend whilst the rates were so low. But the media was obsessed with “home budget economics” - the idea that a nation’s budget is the same as an individual’s.

If we want to prevent austerity and undo it, we need to break the media’s narrative first. That’s what drove austerity more than anything else. The Mail, Sun, Express and Telegraph would have gone for the blood of anyone who tried to tax their owners and regulate their financier friends rather than cut funding for services. :angry:


McCain never switched sides. His “thumbs down” on the vote was because he was unhappy with the procedure not the policy.

He was always an asshole republican.


Note for non-British readers: “Secretary of State” is not a position. “Secretary of State for X” is the formal title of any government minister.

Andrea Leadsom is Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


Good luck Brits, we got our own little lord poopy pants.


A closer approximation would be if John McCain and Jeff Flake had switched parties at a time when the Republicans controlled the Senate by a margin of 51-49, thus handing control of the Senate from Mitch McConnell to Chuck Schumer.