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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.

Scroll to Continue


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