Liberal Democrats Officially Back Revoking Article 50, Rule Out Labour Alliance


The Liberal Democrats will make Brexit cancellation part of their official election platform.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson Supports Brexit Cancellation and will write that into its election manifesto.

Whenever the election comes, our position is clear and unequivocal. A majority Liberal Democrat government would not renegotiate Brexit, we would cancel it by revoking article 50 and remaining in the European Union,” said Swinson.

“The Liberal Democrats are the number one choice for people at the next general election who are opposed to Brexit. Our position is clear and unambiguous. A majority Liberal Democrat government would not renegotiate Brexit, we would stop Brexit,” said former shadow frontbencher Chuka Umunna joined the party in June.

I disagree with Swinson but her position is at least clear.

I also suggest that staying in the EU is a better course of action than a Customs Union, May's deal, or Labour's incoherent and ever-changing position.

This is not a change in stance by me. A Customs Union trap is the worst of all possibilities.

Swinson Blasts Labour's Renegotiation Stance

Sources in the Lib Dems said it was time for the party to set itself apart from Labour’s “renegotiation” position on Brexit and make itself an unequivocal remain option for voters.

The move effectively closes down pre-emptive conversations around an electoral pact with Labour. Swinson angered many within Labour just a month into her new role when she criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that he should become a caretaker prime minister to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Instead she said someone like Ken Clarke, who lost the Tory whip last week after he voted against the government, or the former deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, would be better suited to the role. The shadow international trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, described her dismissal of Corbyn as “extremely petulant”.

Liberal Democrats vs Labour Rift Widens

This announcement is the most important Brexit news of the day.

Swinson and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn already did not get along. This announcement widens the rift. She would like to get rid of that thorn in her side.

Unless Labour changes its stance, this announcement seemingly rules out a Labour-Lib Dem election alliance.

I say seemingly because positions are subject to change.

Corbyn, Swinson in a Box

If Corbyn insists on being the temp caretaker leader (as he has demanded many times), and Swinson refuses, Johnson can run out the clock (assuming Johnson has a creative way around Benn).

I suspect someone will give, but these politicians are all egomaniacs, so who the heck really knows?

Creative Way Around Benn

I am positive Johnson has a way around Benn. A legal challenge of some sort is coming or the law is flawed somehow. I suspect the former.

Let's take up that line of thought from the Guardian Live Blog.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab Statement

This government will always respect the rule of law. That’s been our clear position consistently, and frankly it is outrageous that it is even in doubt. Of course, how the rule of law will be respected is normally straightforward. But sometimes it can be more complex because there are conflicting laws or competing legal advice. The government usually gets its interpretation right, but there have been many judicial reviews over the years by many governments of different complexions. When on occasion the government has lost a case … then of course it must correct its position accordingly and expeditiously.

Respect the Rule of Law

Challenging the law and ignoring it are two different things.

One can "respect" the law yet challenge it in court of law. This is the path Johnson seems to have taken.

Raab then correctly added:

"Respecting the referendum must also mean that this house allows us to leave without a deal if Brussels leave no other credible choice. Taking that option off the table severely weakened our negotiating position."

Johnson Backdown?

The Financial Times reports Johnson Softens his Brexit Stance on Irish Border.

Here's Johnson's statement: “The landing zone is clear to everyone. We need to find a way to ensure the UK is not kept locked in the backstop arrangement and there is a way out for the UK while giving Ireland the assurances it needs.”

Is that a change in stance?

I don't know. A Johnson spokesman commented Johnson does not mean what he appears to be saying and that a time limit is insufficient to solve the

The FT noted DUP would not go for a Northern-Ireland Backtop and Johnson will not go for an all-UK Backstop.

So, if Johnson does not mean what he says, what's changed?

Bear in mind that Johnson has to make it look like he is pursuing a deal, whether he really is or not.


Appearances may be far from reality, and likely are.

Johnson needs to appear as if he is doing something.

The solution is to appear as if he is doing something.

Johnson Throws Down the Gaunlet

"If you really want to delay Brexit beyond October the 31st, which is what you seem to want to do, then vote for an election and let the people decide if they want a delay or not. And if you refuse to do that tonight, I will go to Brussels and negotiate our departure, hopefully with a deal, but without one if necessary. I will not ask for another delay," said Johnson.

There's no change in that stance.

The apparent legal contradiction in regards to the Rule of Law remains as discussed in detail above.

Six Key Implications

Far more happened in the Liberal Democrat announcement than in all the rest of today's Brexit news combined.

  1. The rift between Labour and the Liberal Democrats widened.
  2. That rift might kill a No Confidence motion. It might also delay a No Confidence motion long enough that it won't work.
  3. An election alliance between Johnson and the Brexit Party seems likely.
  4. An election alliance between Labour and the Liberal Democrats seems unlikely.
  5. If Johnson wins the election, No Deal will result thanks to the Tory purge even though I can construct a way in which the purge could partially be undone.
  6. If Johnson loses, I expect Labour and the Liberal Democrats will come to some sort of agreement. Otherwise there will be endless bickering and a hung Parliament.

Labour's Ridiculous Position

Compare the Liberal Democrat official position with Labour's Ridiculous Position: Seek a Deal With the EU, then Campaign Against It

The rift increases the odds of No Deal.

As a supporter of "No Deal", I am encouraged by this turn of events.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (76)
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blue peacock
blue peacock

This all seems rather confusing. Boris has no support in the House of Commons for any of his proposals. The House of Commons as currently constituted don't want an election. And they don't want to comply with the referendum where the majority voted to leave the EU.

Bottom line is that in the UK there is no democracy.



"The liar has behaved in such a manner that it is now possible for the Ex Tories to abstain in a VONC on a Corbyn administration."

Possible or likely? I believe the latter but it may not matter.

Swinson has stated she will not back Corbyn.

If true (who the hell really knows?) and Corbyn the egomaniac will not back down (again who knows?), we are at No Deal on Oct 31.

The position of the ex-Tory rebels might even be irrelevant as the SNP also cannot stand Corbyn. DUP will certainly not back Corbyn.




Hi Mish. Avid Brexiteer from Québec here. I have a question for you: do you think Boris could invoke the Civil Contingencies Act to call an emergency election and potentially suspend the Benn Bill long enough to force a no-deal?

This act allows the PM to suspend any law for 30 days in a situation of emergency, except for the Human Right Act 1998 and the Civil Contingencies Act itself. The idea being that if you suspend the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, you can go to the Queen and directly ask her to dissolve Parliament like in the old days.

Jeff Taylor seems to think this is a legal impossibility (the election part at least) since the Queen apparently lost her royal prerogative to dissolve Parliament when she gave royal assent/consent to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011:

I am no constitutional lawyer (I'm not even British), but the way I understand it, the Queen still has that power, Parliament just decided the PM/Privy Council could not advice her to dissolve Parliament. And since she's not supposed to act on her own, the Parliament can achieve the same result by limiting the PM/Privy Council's range of actions.


I'm confused.... A vote is held on Brexit... A slim majority vote to leave... And now, in the name of 'democracy,' those who don't agree with the slim majority are actively subverting that will....

These actions simply point out that democracy is really a sham....

The will of the majority (on any issue) is only to be adhered to when it conforms with the will of the political intelligentsia...



This seems amazingly stupid if true. I rather doubt it

Country Bob
Country Bob

This is just the political class refusing to accept that folks outside of politics are not happy with more of the same. Its happening all over the G7. But those same political groups are 110% reliant on issuing more more more debt in OUR name to keep THEIR party going.

The political class doesn't see the problem, they don't want to see the problem, so it is no surprise they think remain is a viable outcome (in the medium term, 3-5 years out, it is not viable).

I don't know if Marie Antoinette really said "let them eat cake" or not, but the level of total disconnect exhibited by the quote rings true (then and now).


Dominic Raab is so right about competing/conflicting laws. What about EU law? EU law takes primacy over that of member states.The ECJ is the highest court in the UK. This principle is enshrined in International Treaty. Article 50 gives member states only two powers, one to revoke and another to negotiate a deal, it doesn't give the UK any power to extend (and pretend).

The European Court of Justice tested the "constitutional waters" the last time we were at this sorry impasse. Now here we are again no further forward, and with Article 50 still "locked and loaded". If the UK government (and that is not Parliament) doesn't agree a deal at the Council of Ministers on the 17th/18th October, the "Benn Bill"- which is shockingly bad law under the UK Constitution and will eventually be stripped from the Statute books - has no further purpose.

The ECJ may wish to give it's "final" ruling on the matter.




Once again, you are conflating two things, the referendum and the law. The referendum outlined a desire to quit the EU. The question was short and specific but did not provide details on the conditions of leaving. A law will be longer and provide specifics ("It shall be illegal to trim hedgehogs left front toenails shorter than 4 mm during the period beginning at 11:37 am on the 5th of June....").

If Boris wants to challenge the new law, he will be unlikely to be able to using the referendum as a basis. Any legal challenge using the referendum will open up the case to not simply the question and answer but to the entire Brexit campaign, the implied or explicit promises made and the intent of the voters. It is likely that a legal challenge to this law would fail in an English court if that is the basis of the challenge.

Mish, I am curious to know why you support a Hard Brexit?


I have to say that Jo Swinson's mumsy-wumsy, know-better-than-you smugness may go down well with the girls; but for the guys it's bilgeworthy.


Irish back-stop is important. This was put in place as a solution to Irish violence and fighting. Boris Johnson is playing with fire by not respecting it


I am sure Jo Swinson must be aspiring a cushy overpaid job within the fold of the parasitic EU circus.....She will get it, and the EU will have you back Brits....with a vengeance this time .... Cancel Brexit Brits, anoint and bend over Brits, the EU 'loves' you !


Will he or won't he...?

The hot topic now (lately missed) is will Boris Johnson sign the letter asking for a postponement?

Inquiring minds want to know....


There's zero chance of Corbyn standing down this side of winning his great election victory or getting absolutely pasted at the polls. If the EU election failure wasn't motive enough, he's not going to fold while he's got imagined smell of picket line brasiers from a return to the 70s in his nostrils.

Even if persuaded to go away because of "a bit of a health problem" (to make it not so much a case of facing reality as making way for the greater good), the Momentum and union nominee would be McDonald. He's even more un-electable than Corbyn. The sight of labour MPs singing the red flag in parliament last night will be played over and over and over again as soon as the campaign starts for real.

As for any sort of electoral pact between Lib Dems and Labour, there's more chance of Boris standing for US president and winning (he is American by birth, by the way). The LDs got electorally mauled for holding hands with the Tories in 2010 and the only reason they've picked up any votes this year is because there's nowhere else for the remoaners to go. Fool me once, etc.

Avid's behind, as always. Labour is already promising a referendum and will be campaigning to remain, they've declared so multiple times. The only recent update is that multiple shadow ministers have now indicated they will even campaign AGAINST a deal that they themselves will have negotiated. It's beyond comical.

Donald Tusk said there must be a special place in Hell for the Brexiteers who sold it to the country. I disagree, but there must be a special place there for the union boys who finageld the wrong Milliband brother to the head of the party, starting off the whole slippery slope including a Cameron victory, an EU referendum and the now final Labour descent into oblivion.



Polls have shown that only about 1/3 of the people favor a no-Deal Brexit, and the same holds true for MPs ("the sovereign"). A majority voted remain in N Ireland and Scotland. Polling shows support for Remain and Brexit have hovered slightly north of 40% for years. There is strong support for a deal, but of course, it depends on what kind of a deal.

All the moaning about lack of democracy, clear will of the people, etc., completely ignores that the support for a no-Deal Brexist is weak.

The EU is sick and tired of the whole spectacle. Why? Because the UK is incapable of coming up with proposals to discuss. And why is that? Because the people of the UK are deeply divided, and the whole Brexit chapter will only serve to polarize the UK further.


Come on Brits, face reality, the EU wants you to become full fledged Europeans(whatever that may be) again, in order to serve the personal agendas of the Junckers, the corrupt Verhofstadts and Tusks of this european circus and their corporate cronies.....they really WILL have you back, with a vengance.....anoint and bend over the EU 'loves' you !


Liberal Democrats Officially Back Revoking Article 50, Rule Out Labour Alliance

All 17 of them? I must have missed something here, I went to the House of Commons web page this morning to look at the make up of the DUP, while I was there looking at the MPs by party I noticed that the Lib Dems were just 17 MPs. So, why do they even matter? There are 10 DUP MPs, so for that matter why does their participation in a coalition/alliance matter?