In October 2019, Heidi Allen defected to the Liberal Democrats, becoming the fourth ex-Conservative MP to do so, after Sam Gyimah, Sarah Wollaston and Philip Lee. [Editor’s note: expelled ex-Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach has also defected to the Liberal Democrats on 31 October 2019 bringing the total number to five].
Like the defectors before her, Allen went from a party pledging to implement the 2016 EU referendum “come what may”, to one pledging to ignore the result under a “bollocks to Brexit” slogan, all in a matter of months. And of course, there was no “People’s Vote” in her constituency (or in the constituencies of any of the other defectors) to gain a mandate from the electorate with regards to the huge change of their stance, despite them all calling for a “People’s Vote” on the UK leaving the EU.
During the 2017 UK General Election, the election on which all these MPs were elected, the manifesto and policy aims of the Conservatives were incredibly clear. The Conservatives promised to respect the referendum result, negotiate a Brexit deal, and leave the European Union. In the event of only a bad deal being offered, the voters were assured that “No deal is better than a bad deal”, and this appeared in the Conservative manifesto.
Not only did this feature in the manifesto, it also featured in Conservative campaign literature, and also in many of Theresa May’s speeches (including her Lancaster house speech in January 2017).
In order to appeal to their electorates, the defectors promised to honour and respect the referendum result, openly opposed a second “confirmatory” referendum, and toed the party’s increasingly eurosceptic line during the campaign period for the General Election.
Dr Sarah Wollaston was elected as a Conservative to her Totnes constituency after saying the following in hustings shortly before the General Election:
“…Taking all of the people within this constituency into account, this constituency voted by 54% to Leave. I think this is one of the things that annoys people is telling them that they didn’t know what they were voting for. That was the purpose of the referendum, we accept the result…”
“…We have to go into this, absolutely understanding that the principle here is that we respect the outcome of the referendum and I think it would be a huge mistake to go into this promising that I’d be prepared to vote to actually overturn the deal and send us back into Europe.”
— Sarah Wollaston, speaking at hustings in 2017
Heidi Allen made similar remarks whilst speaking in hustings for her South Cambridgeshire seat in the months leading up to the General Election. She also ran a leaflet campaign stressing the need to honour the referendum result.
“This is democracy. We might not all like the result. I was a remainer, but the minute we start ignoring the democratic will of the people in this country, we are slipping very quickly towards the kind of banana republic I don’t want to live in. So we have to accept the result…”
“So quite frankly, if I am re-elected as your MP, I am not going to waste time, precious time, resisting Brexit from happening…”
— Heidi Allen, speaking at party hustings in 2017.
The front page of Heidi Allen’s 2017 General Election leaflet.
Sam Gyimah stood on a eurosceptic Conservative manifesto in East Surrey, and only a few months after the election confirmed his attitude towards a “People’s Vote”.
“I think that a second referendum would be very unhelpful, and as I said in my answer to Philip, I think basically we’d be asking the same question but in another way. There was an EU referendum in 1975, and then 40 years later there was another referendum. That kind of makes sense, but to keep having a referendum on the same subject, two or three years afterwards, because we didn’t really like the answer, I don’t think is particularly healthy. I also think it would be bitter and divisive for the country…”
— Sam Gyimah, speaking in January 2018.
Philip Lee promised before the referendum that he would honour the result. His campaign material also heavily featured “standing with Theresa May”, inferring that he supported her Brexit position, and that “no deal was better than a bad deal”.
“If the country votes to Leave, I will represent the country’s view and vote accordingly.”
— Dr Philip Lee MP, speaking at the Frontline Club in June 2016.
Once the defectors had conned the electorate and secured their seats, it wasn’t long before their public position on Brexit seemed to drastically change overnight. By September 2018, Allen was calling for a second Brexit referendum, and by November 2018, Wollaston was doing the same. In December 2018, Sam Gyimah was also openly calling for a second referendum.
In October 2019, the news broke that all major parties were willing to approve a new General Election, to be held sometime in December. Brexit voters must ensure they back Brexiter candidates in their constituencies, and punish the undemocratic Remainers who cynically campaigned in Brexit clothing, only to shed it once having achieved power. Once Parliament finally matches the population more closely, we will finally be able to break free of the shackles of the EU.
This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog: https://joelrwrites.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/the-libdem-defectors-are-undemocratic-liars-elected-on-false-pretenses/