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Wera Hobhouse's pitch for Lib Dem Leader.

June 3, 2020 5:45 PM
By Newshound
Originally published by Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield Liberal Democrats

Wera Hobhouse ()Wera Hobhouse has set out her vision for the party on her website.

It's about making a clean break with the last decade and abandoning one key element of our strategy and reigniting another.

The time for equidistance is over:

The mistake was to see our party in the political centre, standing equally between right and left. In this day and age, the biggest threat to liberalism - not just in Britain - comes from the right.

Our reasons for entering coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 were well intended, but we ended up undermining our values. We ultimately legitimised the Conservatives' long-term illiberal, nationalist agenda.

She argues this cost us:

By aiming so much fire at Labour (rather than just distinguishing ourselves from Labour) we weakened the centre-left as a whole. As a consequence, we strengthened the Conservatives and thereby shot ourselves in the foot in the majority of constituencies where our immediate opponent was Conservative.

We need to keep open the possibility of rejoining the EU:

We were right to take an unequivocal anti-Brexit stance working with other parties on the centre-left, to set the national agenda and to successfully pressure the Labour Party into backing a People's Vote. The Revoke position indeed proved a lot harder to explain than intended. But the clear 'Stop Brexit' message in the European Elections, which arose from the same unflinching, strident pro-EU position, is what catapulted us back to relevance in the national conversation in May.

Going forward we should be proud of the dynamic pro-European movement which has been at the heart of our national revival. We must keep the flame of EU membership alive as a genuine possibility for Britain, because if the flame goes out it may never be relit.

South West Wiltshire Lib Dem members will have the opportunity to put questions to Wera later in mid June, detailsof the event to follow via members communication.