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Europe meeting, with Dick Newby

November 7, 2016 9:30 PM
By Mark Argent
Hertford and Stortford LibDems with Dick Newby

Members of Hertford and Storford Liberal Democrats with Dick Newby

On 2 November, parliamentarian Dick Newby, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords came to Bishop's Stortford to join prospective parliamentary candidate Mark Argent talking with Hertford and Stortford Liberal Democrats about Europe.

Newby spoke about the present situation in government - with a sense of confusion, and of many Conservatives who privately support remaining in the EU now facing Brexit and therefore acting against their own convictions. This is made much more complex by the lack of clarity on people were voting for when they voted to leave the EU. Even before the recent High Court ruling that the government must involve parliament in the process around invoking article 50, he spoke of the practical process of scrutinising what the government is doing, with a sense that parliament can't simply ignore the referendum, but that there does need to be a responsible response to it.

Argent echoed this, speaking about some of the things that had led people to want to vote Leave - typically expressing frustration, the remoteness of "London" or seeking to "send a message": these are things that need to be engaged with, but are not primarily about Europe. In fact, many aspects of LibDem policy seem very relevant: electoral reform would do something about people feeling that their votes don't count, proper devolution would mean government felt less remote, a more liberal approach to wealth inequality might succeed where socialism hasn't, and an internationalist outlook offers a constructive way to engage with globalistion.

One of the outcomes of the meeting is that a group of people from Hertford and Stortford will go to join in the campaigning in the Richmond Park by-election, as the Liberal Democrats taking that seat back would help to steer things in a pro-EU direction.

All Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidates have been asked to contact key businesses and public sector organistions in their constituencies to find out how these organisations are viewing the prospect of Brexit, and the developments since the referendum: if your organisation would like to take part, or you have suggestions of ones to talk with, please contact Mark Argent.