Why the Lib Dems’ ‘Revoke Article 50’ policy isn’t all it seems

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November 5, 2019 by Paul Goldsmith

The Liberal Democrats’ central policy is to revoke Article 50 and end Brexit. It sounds anti-Democratic, but all is not as it seems.

I recently had a conversation with a Lib Dem peer, who explained the policy in a way that makes a lot more sense that it originally did when I first heard about it.

Firstly, he said the Lib Dems feel that it is the most honest policy they could have. This is because if there is a second referendum, the Lib Dems would be campaigning to Remain. This means that, assuming Remain wins, Article 50 would be revoked. Ultimately, it was explained that the policy was more honest because simply campaigning for a second referendum is not enough if you are not clear about how you would campaign. Labour may want to take note.

The second point was that the Lib Dems would only be able to revoke Article 50 if they won a majority in the upcoming general election. If that were to happen, it would a political earthquake of a magnitude that would justify revoking Article 50 without a referendum.

Thirdly, and possibly most significantly given the level of political earthquake necessary for the Lib Dems to get a majority, a policy of revoking Article 50 gives them negotiation room should they be in a position to support another party in Government. In simple terms, from a starting point of revoking Article 50, the Lib Dems could accept a Second Referendum. So, they would have achieved something (second referendum) they had been pushing for for years without giving up anything to get it.

It makes sense to me, anyway.

I welcome any comments - whether you agree with me or not!

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