The Conservative Flyer - Fact Checked 2
We've already reviewed the big promises in Gavin Williamson's leaflet, and we have shown that the commitments on education, policing and the NHS are - at best - misleading. Now let’s turn our attention to the rest of Gavin's promises…
Vote Brexit Party - Get Jeremy Corbyn
Given the announcement that the Brexit Party will no longer be standing in South Staffordshire (with Nigel Farage claiming he was offered a Peerage just days before) it's clear Gavin and his team were worried about the Brexit Party stealing their voters. And with good reason, because the Conservatives have become the Brexit Party in all but name. That Farage and his candidates have seen fit to stand down shows that they fear the surge in remain support. More and more people are leaving the Conservatives and moving to the Liberal Democrats because they no longer feel that this is the Conservative Party they have grown up with. Moderates such as Ken Clarke, Phillip Hammond, Dominic Grieve, Sir Oliver Letwin and Justin Greening have been forced out of the party, while others such as Sarah Wollaston, Antoinette Sandbach, Sam Gyimah and Phillip Lee have followed their conscience and joined the Liberal Democrats. This means those Conservatives left behind are the hardcore Brexit Ultras. Men like Mark Francois, Andrew Bridgen, Steve Baker and, of course, that great arbiter of ‘common sense’, Jacob Rees-Mogg. But, just to reiterate, the Brexit Party’s decision is born of fear, not of any passion for Boris’ deal, far from it:
This confirms what we all know. "Brexit means Brexit" means nothing. There a hundred different versions, not the single proposition Leavers would have you believe we voted on in June 2016. That hoary old chestnut "Get Brexit Done" features on the cover of Gavin's flyer and this is one of the biggest fibs of all. Once we leave, we have until the end of December 2020 to formalise our arrangements with the EU. If we don't do that, we may need to extend, which Boris Johnson has ruled out, or it's a No Deal Brexit. This is why the ERG suddenly got on board with Johnson's deal, even though it crossed a host of their supposed ‘red lines’. We won't be getting Brexit done. We will be either entering another long negotiation with the EU or brutally severing ties 12 months later. Either way we’ll be locked in tortuous trade negotiations with a host of countries for years. From conception to completion, Canada took 22 years to secure a trade deal with the EU, with 7 long years of detailed negotiation.
The Liberal Democrats know that the only way to get Brexit done is to stop Brexit. This will prevent the cataclysm of a no deal which will destroy our economy in the long-term. It will also provide us with a £50 billion Remain Bonus to allow more investment into our schools, NHS and economy.
Supporting Small Business Owners
Gavin claims to support small business owners, but a no deal Brexit will weaken the West Midlands economy by nearly 10 per cent. If the economy shrinks by this much, it will be that much harder for small businesses to function, with many companies already suffering the effects of Brexit before it has even happened and the closure rate increasing by 10% in the last year.
The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit, boosting our growth and helping small businesses to grow in our revitalised economy.
Enhancing our Environment/Protecting our Green Belt
In the commons, Gavin Williamson has one of the worst voting records on the environment, voting green in just 2 of 13 votes since 2010. Planting a few trees is a positive step, but it doesn't remotely get to grips with the greatest challenge of our age, the climate emergency. He has consistently voted against decarbonisation targets, against green energy subsidies and against carbon capture solutions. The Conservative led South Staffordshire council has also failed to set a target for achieving carbon neutrality. So much more needs to be done to try to reverse climate change and if Gavin's record is anything to go by, he is not the person to do it.
The Liberal Democrats will ensure 80% of all our power is generated from renewable energy sources by 2030 and the UK is carbon neutral by 2045 at the latest.