Thank You for your support.

Thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections 2019. You are amazing.

HUGE THANKS
Huge thanks go in particular to the campaigners across the South East of England who bundled, delivered, tweeted, facebooked and put up those fabulous stake boards and posters. With little media coverage, this is what we rely on to get our message out.

RESULTS
The Liberal Democrat vote in the South East of England more than tripled. We elected three MEPs. Please seek us out on social media. You can read about us, here:

ACROSS THE UK
In a fantastic result spread across the UK, Liberal Democrats elected 16 MEPs. Our biggest team ever. This is a clear indication that people want to STOP BREXIT.

REMAIN WON
The papers are parading a Brexit Party victory, but the total vote for all the Remain-leaning parties clearly outweighs UKIP and the Brexit Party.

  • Lib Dems, Greens, SNP, Plaid and Change UK – all backers of a second referendum polled 39.1%.
  • No-dealers, Ukip and the Brexit Party collectively achieved just 33.7%.

It’s not often that I post links to the Daily Telegraph, but it is particularly sweet to read their report on the result: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/05/27/won-uks-european-elections-leave-remain/

Here, in the South East of England, Nigel Farage’s home territory, we held the Brexit Party to four seats only – the same number of seats that UKIP won in 2014. This time, UKIP won no seats. There was no improvement in representation for Leave.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MEPs
You can find out more about the full Liberal Democrat team across the UK, here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/meps

THIS IS NOT THE END
I will write more in the next day or so, but this is just the beginning. Our campaign to Stop Brexit goes on and will continue until we win a People’s Vote.

JOIN US
If you would like to join the team – please sign up here:
https://www.libdems.org.uk/joining-us

The Great Liberal Democrat Brexit Debate – Rural Affairs and Racing

On Tuesday 11th April, Newbury and West Berkshire Liberal Democrats hosted a panel discussion at East Garston Village Hall to explore the effect that Brexit is likely to have on rural affairs, including the racing industry.

Thank you to everyone who came along to join us – and to our speakers for the event who are all top notch in their field.

We were delighted to be joined by entrepreneur Ivan Massow, who made national headlines last year, when he defected from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Democrats. Tim Clement Jones, a former resident of East Garston, who now speaks for the Liberal Democrats on the Digital Economy in the Lords, also joined us, to sit alongside Cotswold businesswoman, Liz Leffman, who as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the recent Witney by-election slashed the Conservative majority from 25,155 to 5,702.

The audience included locals from East Garston village and Hungerford, as well as Remain and Leave supporters from Newbury, Thatcham and Pangbourne. I enjoyed the fact that the room was not all one sided, especially when debate is informed and good natured as it was here.

As a Liberal Democrat, of course, I believe Britain would be better off staying in Europe, but the more advice and information we can give West Berkshire businesses, the better they will be able to plan for the uncertainty ahead.

Discussion covered threats to University education and research, as well as the opportunities and issues Brexit brings for farmers and the agricultural industry. Tim Clement Jones spoke on worries raised by the racing industry, which is already suffering because of the fall in sterling and faces the likely loss of European Horse Passports as well as potentially significant increases in tariffs if the UK drops out of the single market without a deal.

The next Great Liberal Democrat Brexit Debate on Brexit and the Creative Industries is at 3pm on Saturday 13th May at Johannes von Stumm’s sculpture studio at Wellhill House, South Fawley. Discussion will be led by Baroness Jane Bonham Carter.

Please join us – whichever side of the debate you sit!

EU cross-party Q&A in Hungerford

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 12.24.23

Answering questions about Europe in Hungerford this evening (Monday 20th June):

Judith Bunting (Liberal Democrat)
Richard Benyon MP (Conservative)
Jonny Roberts (Labour)

Thank you to all who came along to the debate in Hungerford this evening. We were faced with a great set of questions and had at least one clear conversion in the room.

A couple of follow up notes: 

* Re EU borders, new members and Turkey: Yes, Britain has a veto. Accession of any candidate state must be approved unanimously by the Council of the EU, which is made up of representatives from each member state, and ratified by all national parliaments. 

* Re Democracy in the EU. People say the EU is led by people who are unelected, call it a dictatorship, say it’s undemocratic. To build on answers given this evening explaining how this is not the case:

1/ The Council of Europe sits at the top of the tree. It’s members are government ministers from each EU country according to the policy area to be discussed – ie: for us, MPs elected in the UK. In the Council, these government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed on in the meetings.

2/ The European Parliament is the directly-elected EU body with law-making, supervisory, and financial responsibilities – ie: this is where EU law is made, where international agreements are decided, where the people WE elect as MEPs sit to represent us and supervise policy motions that come down from the Council of Europe (see above).

3/ The European Commission: The European Commission proposes new laws, manages some policies and represents the EU in trade agreements. Most staff of the Commission are akin to our civil servants. They number approx 33,000, a group about the size of Birmingham City Council.

The Commission is led by a group of Commissioners, 1 from each EU country, each of whom has responsibility for one area of governance eg Energy, Environment, Trade. Yes, these people are unelected, but a) they are effectively senior civil servants and b) each is appointed by the elected government in the member state. Britain’s current Commissioner is Jonathan Hill, appointed by David Cameron in 2014. He is Commissioner for Financial Stability in the EU and Financial Services.  

If you have a question there wasn’t time to ask, do drop me a line at judithbunting@wbld.org.uk. 

 Phot from Hungerford Lib Dems

This event was hosted by the Stronger IN Campaign