Tom Brake: ‘Massive opportunity’ for Lib Dems to take centre ground

Monday, December 16, 2019

Former MP Tom Brake has said that Boris Johnson’s next move in Parliament could provide a “massive opportunity” for the Liberal Democrats as a centrist party.

Mr Brake lost his seat for Carshalton and Wallington in last week’s general election, with party leader Jo Swinson’s also making a shock exit from Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats “Stop Brexit” campaign suffered a devastating defeat in the poll, achieving just 11 seats, down from its previous 12.

But Mr Brake said that the party could see a way back into the political forefront, depending on what the Prime Minister does with his new government.

“We have to wait and see what direction he takes the party in,” he told talkRADIO’s Ian Collins and Kevin O’Sullivan.

He continued: “If he takes it to the right, at the same time as Jeremy Corbyn’s successor perhaps comes from the left – or some might say the extreme left – then for the Lib Dems there’s a massive opportunity there in the centre.”

The new Parliament convened for the first time in the House of Commons today.

The current makeup of the House stands at 365 Conservative seats, 203 Labour seats, 48 for the SNP, 11 for the Liberal Democrats, one Green, eight DUP and 15 representing smaller parties and independents.

One of the first matters on the agenda will be to vote on Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, which is set to be brought before Parliament on Friday.

However, despite the Conservatives' 80 seat majority, Mr Brake also argued that the most of the country disagree with what the UK’s withdrawal from the EU should look like.

He said: “Boris Johnson, yes he has got a majority of the seats, but in terms of the popular vote in the country, he did not get a majority of people to vote for what he is about to do.

“The majority of people actually voted either for the Labour party or the Lib Dems or the SNP or the Greens – none of whom support the position that he has adopted so he is going against the majority view as expressed in the general election.”

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