Out of the 29 separate votes between November 2017 and April 2019, Jo Swinson abstained 27 times and voted in line with Boris Johnson for the other two. Corbyn, on the other hand, voted to ensure a positive working arrangement with the EU with full protections for trade, citizens, worker’s rights, national security as well as to protect the integrity of the Good Friday agreement. This seems at complete odds with Swinson’s claim that she and the LibDem’s are the party for the remain vote. This report does rather add weight to the theory that Swinson might be a closet Brexiteer.
Here are just some examples of how Swinson voted over the last 3yrs…
- 1st April 2019: Voted with Boris Johnson against the UK joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which provides comprehensive customs arrangement with the EU and continued participation in the single market, thus providing free movement of goods, services, persons and capital among member states and includes protocols relating to frictionless agri-food trade across the UK/EU border, thus ensuring no hard border on the island of Ireland.
- 1st April 2019: Voted with Boris Johnson not to instruct the government to ensure that any Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated with the EU must include, as a minimum, a commitment to negotiate a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU and that it should be enshrined in primary legislation.
- 27th March 2019: Abstained on a motion requiring ministers to negotiate changes to the draft Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration so that it included a permanent customs union with the EU, close alignment with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, dynamic alignment on rights and protections, commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation, an agreement on the detail of future security arrangements (including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases) and instructed ministers to ensure that they introduce primary legislation to give statutory status to these changes.
- 27th March 2019: Abstained from voting on whether or not to require the government to ensure that any Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated with the EU must include, as a minimum, a commitment to negotiate a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU and that they should enshrine this objective in primary legislation.
- 27th March 2019: Abstained from voting on whether or not to amend the retained EU law governing financial support for rural development currently provided by both from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Exchequer for programmes and running up to 2020, in order to allow rural development programmes to continue to operate in the UK after exit from the EU, up until 2020.
- 19th December 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to approve new regulations on Accounts and Reports from corporate bodies that would remove the involvement of the European Union and also remove preferential treatment of bodies from the European Economic Area. The new regulations were designed to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
- 18th July 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to authorise requiring fingerprint and facial photograph information from EU citizens, their family members, and certain others who apply for leave to remain to enable them to stay in the United Kingdom after withdrawal from the European Union.
- 17th July 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to empower the Government to implement obligations under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). This would empower the Government to change the law in the UK as required to continue the effect of European Union international trade agreements after the UK’s withdrawal from the union.
- 17th July 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to make it a negotiating objective of the UK to establish a free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU and if that cannot be agreed then it should be the objective of the UK to secure an agreement to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.
- 17th July 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to make it a negotiating objective for the UK Government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency, ensuring that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.
- 13th June 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to make it a negotiating objective for the UK Government to ensure that the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum.
- 16th May 2018: Abstained from voting on whether or not to require the government to publish all papers, presentations and economic analyses from 1 January 2018 up to and including 16 May 2018 prepared for the European Union Exit and Trade (Strategy and Negotiations) Cabinet sub-committee, and its sub-committees, on the Government’s preferred post-Brexit customs arrangements including a Customs Partnership and Maximum Facilitation.
- 21st Novermber 2017: Abstained from voting on whether or not to ensure that parliament be informed of any changes in EU & EEA provisions that might have amended UK laws around family-friendly employment rights and gender equality and their potential impact and also committed the Government to considering their implementation. This was to ensure that rights of workers and employees with caring responsibilities, and women’s rights, are no less favourable than they would have been had the UK remained a member of the EU or EEA beyond exit day.
This report seems to support the argument that the LibDem strategy is to split the remain vote and create an opportunity to form another Tory/LibDem coalition in order to assist the Tories to deliver a hard Brexit. After all, if the Tories win the general election the LibDem’s can claim that the country voted in support of Brexit so they’d be justified in throwing in the towel and assisting to deliver ‘the will of the people’.