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Tim Farron addresses Lib Dem North East Regional Conference 12th November

November 17, 2016 9:44 AM
By Joan Tebbutt

With his usual inspirational and personable manner, Tim made a number of highly significant and well received points at the North East Conference, including:-

*We are now the only party that is united and has the courage to say that our country must be open, tolerant and united. Liberalism has never been more needed, so we matter more than ever. There is an appetite among many for reasonableness.

*UKIP do not need to elect a new leader. They already have one; she is called Theresa May. She has chosen division. Labour; well, isn't it going well! The idea is to make your party electable, as being in power best enables you to work for the people you care about. They have chosen not to be electable.

*In the Richmond Park by election, UKIP are not standing as they think the election, caused by the resignation of Zac Goldsmith, is about Heathrow airport. However, the theme of any by election is what voters make of it, and in this case it is Brexit, Richmond Park having voted to Remain.

*Brexit has become a good way to bury bad news every day. A good example of the bad news is the chaotic state of the NHS. The UK spends less money on Health and Social Care than Spain!

*The UK voted to join the Common Market, not the European Union. We have now voted to leave the European Union, but we did not vote to leave the Single Market. Everyone, even North Korea, can have "access" to the Single Market, but not everyone can be a "member" of it. We are going to lose jobs, more repossessed homes, and lose Doctors and nurses. Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin are preparing for businesses to move there from the UK. This is not Project Fear, but Project Colossal Understatement. Liberal Democrats will not betray our country.

* It would be an example of cognitive dissonance if the government have to appeal to, or seek advice from, the European Court re the Article 50 court case!

*Charles Kennedy was vilified when he voted against war in Iraq, but it is now accepted that he was right. This resonates with the situation today, This as an example of how it is necessary and appropriate to stand up for liberal values and what we believe. We are an open, tolerant and united party wanting an open, tolerant and united UK.