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Lib Dem Candidate Criticises Guildford MP’s Vote on Article 50

Published on: 19 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 21 Mar, 2017

Guildford Liberal Democrats have criticised local MP Anne Milton for voting last week to reject two changes made by peers to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which gives the Prime Minister the power to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon and the ensuing two-year Brexit negotiations.

The two amendments, proposed in the House of Lords and backed by the Liberal Democrats, were to give existing EU nationals the right to stay in the UK and to give parliament a “meaningful” vote on the Brexit agreement negotiated with the EU.

In a press release the Lib Dems said: “There are 6,258 residents from elsewhere in the EU living in Guildford. This includes 307 staff from the EU working at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, including 46 doctors, 147 nurses plus 144 other staff.

“It also includes many of the 207 EU staff working for Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who provide specialist mental halth, drug and alcohol and learning disability services across Southern England.

Zöe Franklin, Guildford’s Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate and spokesperson, commented: “On this historic occasion, Anne Milton has chosen to ignore the expressed wishes of Guildford residents who voted 57% in favour of remaining in the EU and instead support a hard Brexit and vote against giving EU nationals living here the right to stay.

“This is a betrayal of the thousands of people from the EU in Guildford as well as their families, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

“The hundreds of local nurses, doctors and other NHS staff from the EU are already worried about their futures here, this vote sends them completely the wrong signal at a time when our NHS is already facing huge pressures.

“This shows you can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong NHS.

“ At a time when Guildford needs its MP to take a strong stand on their behalf she has let them down. Unlike our MP, the Liberal Democrats will keep fighting to give EU nationals living in Guildford the certainty they deserve and to stand up against a damaging hard Brexit.”

Rt Hon Anne Milton MP.

Asked if it could be expected that Anne Milton, the government’s deputy chief whip, could defy her own party’s whip in this vote a decision that would be a resigning issue Ms Franklin responded: “I respect Anne Milton’s role as deputy chief whip.

“However an MP’s primary responsibility is to their residents and, as in this case, where the government line on an issue differs significantly from the clear views of their residents, has potentially serious social and financial implications for their community and/or has a potentially adverse effect on a significant number of their residents it is their duty to seriously consider their voting position.

“If this results in them deciding to defy the whip and resign then so be it. Residents must hold a higher priority than party positions.

“I believe that in this instance it was at odds with the best interests of Guildford for her to have voted with the government and it is right for residents to expect her to explain the rational for her decision.”

Anne Milton was invited to comment.

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Responses to Lib Dem Candidate Criticises Guildford MP’s Vote on Article 50

  1. Mike Davis Reply

    March 20, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Why is it that the Liberal Democrats cannot accept the result. That the House of Commons have rejected the House of Lords motion and it is the will of 17.5 million voters that we leave the EU.

    We voted to leave because we have got fed up with the EU telling us what we can and cannot do.

    The EU is falling apart and someone has to jump first before they end up like Greece and a few others that are on the brink of collapse.

    Zoe Franklin is a very nice person but unfortunately some people are just not listening to what people are saying and thinking about the EU. It is a shame that the Liberal Democrats are behind the curve of public opinion. Their popularity is still going down faster than a speeding train.

    • Ciaran Doran Reply

      March 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      It’s not the Lib Dems who don’t accept the result, over 16 million people don’t accept the result. The position of the Lib Dems is simple and easily understood.

      If we choose to leave then we should get a proper vote and proper scrutiny on the conditions upon which we leave.

      If a customer tries to leave Netflix or a utility supplier you get many chances to check what you’re doing and whether you’ve made the right decision.

      For something so seismic as Brexit the country should be given a chance to review the conditions on which we propose to leave. Doing otherwise is plainly foolish but this government seem hell bent on bulldozing this through and creating an almighty divide in our country.

    • Thibault Jamme Reply

      March 23, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Forget about the Lib Dems, anyone with a conscience will not accept the EU referendum result as it was secured on lies.

      As a result, we are now going to leave the biggest trade block in the world and we will also find ourselves without deals with the rest of the world. We’re not even guaranteed to make World Trading Organisation (WTO) rules.

      In this particular case our MP, Anne Milton, has been heartless by voting in support of a Bill that will leave her EU constituents in limbo.

      As a former nurse she should be well acquainted with the challenges facing the NHS. Our local health service provision relies on many talented EU individuals which we would find extremely hard to replace.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    March 20, 2017 at 9:17 am

    The Liberals (who are definitely not democrats) are still living in a dream world.

    • Ciaran Doran Reply

      March 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      So does Mr Barnes believe that over 16 million others are also in that dream world?

      There is no black and white in such a situation but we are being forced down a road that half the people don’t want and all because of infighting within one party, the Conservatives.

  3. D Bisdee Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

    What nonsense Brexiters do utter.

    Actually the LibDems’ popularity is growing massively, being the only party consistently against Brexit.

    Zoe’s comments focused on the contribution EU workers make to the NHS that Brexiters claimed to care so much about. They should remember her words when they go to hospital and find there are no staff to look after them, or carers to look after their elderly relatives.

  4. Peter Shaw Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Mark Davis should not be too hasty in describing the Lib Dem’s popularity as, “Their popularity is still going down faster than a speeding train.”

    The Liberal Democrats are the largest national party advocating membership to the EU. The referendum was won by Brexit by only 2% of the voting population [52% to leave, 48% to stay]. Under first past the post system if all those 48% voted for Lib Dems, or a significant majority of them, then there would be a national landslide toward the Liberal Democrats and the conversation would be talking about remaining/re-joining the EU (and still remaining within the boundaries of being democratic).

    The 2015 general election was won by the Conservatives with the support of only 24.3% of the electorate. If the Liberal Democrats capitalize on the votes of the Remainers and can keep the momentum/dissent until the next general elections then they have potential to make significant gains in the Commons.

    Food for thought.

  5. Colin Taylor Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Let’s not forget that the Referendum (which parliament insisted was advisory not binding) only mentioned leaving the EU or remaining in it.

    Nothing was included about leaving the free-trade area (indeed most Leave campaigners said we would not) and nothing was said about the rights of EU Nationals living here or of UK Citizens living in the EU27 to stay put.

    No wonder the Lib Dems have doubled their membership and won so many by-elections.

  6. Julia McShane Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Zöe Franklin is right to speak out in support of EU nationals living and working in Guildford. Liberal Democrats are the only party who are consistent in their positive stance towards the EU and to our EU friends who contribute so much to the life of our communities here.

    She is also right to criticise Anne Milton MP who no longer seems to represent the people of Guildford but concentrates more on saving her own position within a party which is prepared to use EU citizens living here as bargaining chips in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

    The Tories have abandoned whatever principles they once had to become yet another party chasing the populist vote. They say one thing and then abandon it once elected to do whatever is convenient at the time.

    The Liberal Democrats have a clear position which is attractive to many people who are joining the party in their thousands and helping to secure Lib Dem wins across the country.

    Julia McShane ia a Lib Dem borough councillor for Westborough

  7. D Gregory Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    When will everyone get over it, there was a democratic referendum held and the country voted to leave the EU. You don’t keep voting or whinging until you get the outcome you want (Nicola Sturgeon springs to mind).

    As for allowing EU workers having the right to stay shouldn’t come in to it until the same rights are agreed for UK workers in Europe. That will be part of the negotiations for article 50.

    If it is used as a bargaining tool so what? If Mr Junkers wants to play hard ball and make a point with the UK to stop others leaving I doubt he would have any hesitation in blocking the rights of UK workers to stay.

  8. Alan Hilliar Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Let’s stop ignoring the obvious failings in the Brexit proposals. The lack of any clear plan, the massive uncertainty created both for our export businesses and the EU nationals working here to keep our NHS running.

    Let’s start to be honest about the nasty side of politics that was once shunned by the vast majority of tolerant and accepting people in this country; the deriding and rejection of people from different backgrounds, the demeaning of people who still hold to the British tradition of helping the weak and poor, respecting difference, embracing our part in the world as a bulwark against intolerance, division and unthinking isolationism.

    Those are the values which my father and his generation fought for in the last war. Those who share those values need to stand up and speak out to protect our country’s future.

  9. Paul Kennedy Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    We have a similar position in Mole Valley, which includes five Guildford Borough Council wards: a Conservative MP elected on a manifesto commitment to the single market, who professed himself in favour of remaining in the EU and warned of the consequences of leaving, in a constituency which voted to Remain and with over 3,000 EU residents who were denied a say on their own future. But our MP still voted against giving them a right to remain or even giving Parliament the final say on the Brexit deal.

    The referendum was flawed in many ways. However, the Lib Dems accept the overall result for what it was: a narrow majority for the principle of leaving the EU. We accept that things cannot stay as they are. But that is no excuse for Tory (or Labour) MPs to break a manifesto commitment to safeguard our interests in the single market, or ignore the views of the majority of their constituents, or pass a blank cheque Bill which no House of Commons in the last 400 years would have passed without reserving to themselves, or the public, a final say on the deal. Michael Heseltine has implied that such MPs are like ‘performing fleas’. Democracy deserves better.

    Paul Kennedy is the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Mole Valley

  10. Leonie Anderson Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    In addition to those key workers Zoe Franklin mentions, we – and Anne Milton – should not forget the academics and researchers based at the University of Surrey and the Research Park, many of whom fear both for their personal futures and for the future of some world-class projects.

    This instability affects both the EU citizens who work in Guildford and also those whose livelihoods depend upon interacting constantly with other EU members; this extends to those active in many walks of life including the performing arts and the media, as well as the financial and business sectors, many of whom also reside in the town.

  11. Harry Elson Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    The days of the Liberal Democrat party as a force in UK politics are over. The continual bleating of its leader sums up all that is bad about the “Remoaners”. People of the UK voted out.

    To put your mind at rest, I am 99% certain that the EU citizens currently living and working on the UK will be allowed to stay. We need them now and in the future, but not an open door policy to allow uncles, aunts and everyone else who has not contributed to our already overstretched NHS, schools and housing.

    We need a controlled immigration policy with improved vetting.

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