Anti-democratic europhile stance helped destroy LibDems
There were many reasons for the Lib Dem meltdown at the election, but their outrageously anti-democratic stance on the EU was a big one. On that issue they showed they were neither liberal nor democratic, and voters punished them for it
Whilst the main headline of election night was the unexpected success of the Conservative Party, the utter collapse of the Europhile Liberal Democrats was, of course, a close second. They dropped from 59 seats to 8 seats after securing less than 8 percent of the vote.
This led to the Lib Dems losing a huge host of prominent figures including former Party Leader Charles Kennedy, Energy Secretary Ed Davey and Business Secretary Vince Cable. Lib Dem Financial Secretary Danny Alexander, co-president of the Europhile campaign group British Influence also lost his seat.
Meanwhile, Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg only managed to save his seat after Tories voted tactically to keep out the Labour candidate in his constituency.
Rather than lead the other 7 MPs who scraped their way into Parliament, Clegg has resigned in disgrace and is expected to be replaced by arch-Europhile Tim Farron. Don’t feel too bad for Clegg though; as a former MEP, he is certain to head to Brussels for a cushy new job and his snout will be back in the trough again.
There are plenty of reasons for this Lib Dem wipe-out, but it is incontrovertible that their raft of broken promises and their deluded stance on our continued EU membership has played an important part.
The Liberal Democrats, after campaigning in 2010 for an In/Out EU referendum, have spent their 5 years in government preventing the Conservative Party legislating for this. How a party with “Democrat” in their name can be in favour of denying the Great British Public their say on this crucial constitutional issue is astonishing.
Aside from acting as a break on the Conservative Party’s plans to grant a referendum, the Liberal Democrats have also been at the forefront of the pro-EU scaremongering campaign. They are firm supporters of the “3 million jobs would be lost if we left the EU” myth, despite the Treasury and leading economists describing this as “pure Goebbels” propaganda.
Unfortunately, despite UKIP’s higher national polling the Eurosceptic Party only secured one seat, after UKIP MP Mark Reckless lost his Rochester and Strood constituency, and Nigel Farage failed to ensure a seat in Thanet South.
None of the other parliamentary candidates managed to secure seats, in spite of coming a clear second in many constituencies. This of course is a reflection of the biased 'first past the post' electoral system, not the attitude of Britain towards the EU.
The results show the British electorate are clearly finished with pro-EU parties like the Lib Dems, who have in the past styled themselves as the “Party of In”. The British people have spoken.
They want a Parliament of MPs prepared to give them their say on our membership of the EU. With the collapse of the Lib Dems we are one step closer to the day we Get Britain Out of the EU.
Luke Stanley is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out
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