Britain should “tear down the Conservatives’ trade barriers” with Europe if the economic system is to prosper once more, the Liberal Democrat chief Sir Ed Davey has warned.
In a keynote deal with to the get together’s convention in York, Sir Ed known as Brexit the “elephant in the room” of UK politics as he attacked the Tories and Labour who “daren’t even whisper its name”.
“So let me shout it, yet again. If you want to boost our economy, you have to repair our broken relationship with Europe,” he mentioned.
“Conference, you don’t need me to tell you what a disaster the Conservatives’ botched deal with Europe has been for our country.”
Sir Ed mentioned the Lib Dems “are the only ones with a real plan to fix Britain’s trade” and vowed to “tear down the Conservatives’ trade barriers, rip up their red tape and rebuild the ties of trust and friendship with our European neighbours”.
The speech didn’t define any new insurance policies, however centered on the get together’s essential arguments forward of the native elections in May after which the final election subsequent yr.
The Lib Dems are hoping to make positive factors in Tory-held seats throughout the south of England by concentrating on voters disillusioned with sleaze, get together in-fighting and the Conservatives’ transfer to the fitting.
Part of the technique will likely be to enchantment to Labour voters to lend their help in “blue-wall” areas the place the Lib Dems are the primary challengers by stressing the liberal and internationalist credentials of a celebration some nonetheless affiliate with the Cameron-Clegg coalition days.
Sir Ed known as the Tories “a bunch of mutinous pirates” extra interested by arguing over their very own self-advancement than serving to the British folks.
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“When Britain needed integrity, they gave us Boris Johnson,” he mentioned.
“When our country needed wise leadership, they gave us Liz Truss. When people needed change, they gave us more of the same with Rishi Sunak.
“When we would have liked a gallant crew on the bridge to steer our Great British ship by way of uneven waters, we have as an alternative had a bunch of mutinous pirates, solely interested by who obtained to put on the captain’s hat. We wanted Hornblower. They gave us Pugwash.”
Water sewage is another key battleground for the Lib Dems and in his conference speech, Sir Ed warned that Rishi Sunak will lose “dozens of seats” at the next general election if he fails to stop it being pumped into rivers.
He called the government’s latest asylum plans “appalling” and argued foreign aid spending should be returned to the 0.7% of GDP benchmark immediately.
Sir Ed also talked about the Lid Dem’s support to ditch the first-past-the-post voting system, saying “our zeal for Proportional Representation stays undimmed at present”.
The Lib Dems received three by-elections in Tory areas final yr, although they path behind the Conservatives in nationwide polls.
Sunday’s occasion was Sir Ed’s first speech to a full convention since taking on as get together chief in 2020, with the earlier one known as attributable to COVID then the Queen’s funeral.