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Bristol West needs a Liberal voice

June 6, 2017

I am standing for a third term as Bristol West’s MP. Theresa May called this snap general election for reasons of cynical party advantage. She thought Jeremy Corbyn would crash Labour straight into the electoral iceberg and that she would be Prime Minister of a Tory government with a commanding Commons majority. She might also have thought that she would act before the Liberal Democrat recovery strengthens. We shall find out in the early hours of Friday whether this calculation was right.

Yet she said the reason for calling the election is Brexit. She said it was to give her a strong hand in the negotiations that will start later this month. I think Brexit may well have been a strong factor in the calling of the election but not in the way suggested by May. For some time now people have been saying to me that I should stop fighting Brexit because “it is done” or “it’s been decided.” At the moment even many people who voted Remain think nothing can be done. Brexit is a becalmed debate.

This will surely change once the negotiations advance and people realise just how many rights and advantages are slipping away from us. By the end of this year the public are likely to be more concerned and the mood will be angry. Even many Leave voters will realise that a hard Brexit will damage their livelihoods and shrink their opportunities. Mrs May’s government would be in deep trouble. The Liberal Democrat clarity on the need for a negotiated soft Brexit and the deal to be put to a final public vote would have far more appeal than now.
In the meantime Bristol West needs an MP who will stand up, consistently, for the 80% of people who voted Remain in this seat. The country needs an opposition party that will stand up to the government, rather than stand aside and wave Brexit through by 2019. So I hope the voters of Bristol West give me the chance to serve them for a third time in Parliament. I hope also to be part of a large united Liberal Democrat Parliamentary force, challenging the government in the difficult years ahead.

As Bristol West’s MP I would also stand up for the NHS, schools and other public services. They need extra money and the Liberal Democrats are clear about how we would find the money. We all need the NHS and social care sometime in our lives so it is right that all income tax payers should pay a little more, according to their means. A rise of 1p in the pound on all three tax rates would raise an extra £6billion a year for the NHS and care. We would raise company tax by 1% to reverse school budget cuts and protect budgets in real terms over the next five years. I would also vote against divisive Tory education plans for a reintroduction of grammar schools and secondary moderns.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has looked at the plans of the three main parties. It concluded that only the Liberal Democrat plans were credible, with their tax plans funding their spending commitments. The Labour pretence that everything can be found from the super-rich and large companies was found to be incredible. The IFS didn’t look at the Green Party. But their top policy of a four day working week, with everyone given £75 a week basic income (whether in work or not) would crash the economy. There would be little left for their huge tax rises to bite.

Bristol West is in the enviable position of being able to choose what sort of opposition MP it wants to represent its interests. Someone who can represent its progressive, internationalist and liberal values. In the last twenty years the seat has been evenly divided between Labour MPs and a Liberal Democrat MP, me. I am Bristol West’s most authentic liberal and progressive voice. Our city needs an experienced representative at this critical time in our history. I offer a clear vision of an outward looking Britain, trading and cooperating with our closest neighbours. A Britain that invests in the future through education and protects us all when we are sick or need care.

Please vote for me so that I can be Bristol’s liberal voice again.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Gill Pembury permalink
    June 11, 2017 2:47 pm

    Now that you have not been elected for any post in Bristol this year, can we assume that you will now finally give up and then I will be able to start voting LibDem again?

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