I hope you shared my admiration for the biggest multi-national act of democracy in the world at the weekend. Brexiteers constantly complain that the EU is “undemocratic”. It is true there needs to be reform to give the European Parliament greater powers over the Commission and Council of Ministers. In fact, you will see the MEPs demanding a major influence over the selection of the leaders of the Council and Commission in the coming weeks. But all that said from Bucharest to Belfast and Vilnius to Valletta millions of people voted for their representatives in the European Union. It was a democratic exercise for a democratic body where we share our sovereignty.


Next, who won? Nobody. Certainly not the Brexit Party. Although the one policy outfit topped the poll everywhere in England except London, the combined total of parties opposed to Brexit came to roughly 40%. Brexit, Con and UKIP got 44% and when you distribute Labour’s 14% between broadly southern Remainers and northern leavers, one concludes that the country is split. The only thing that has changed since the 2016 Referendum is that people are much more polarised between No Deal and Remain.


The Tory leadership contest is broadly turning on whether you want to let the clock tick down to No Deal on October 31st or try to reopen talks. Will Conservative MPs keep Boris Johnson off the shortlist? It seems unlikely and in his limited public pronouncements the former Foreign Secretary has indicated he is prepared for No Deal. Incidentally his need to appear in court over his 2016 lies on the cost of our EU membership will only enhance his reputation amongst his supporters. As with Trump and the Russian connection, fans of Boris and Donald just see their man being persecuted rather than the rules being observed.

Immediately after the European results came in, it was presumed that with Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement dead, there was nothing for Remain MPs to vote on that could stop an automatic Halloween exit. But the Speaker is surely right that Parliament will not sit on the side lines and let that madness happen. John Bercow will be justified in allowing MPs to stop No Deal one way or the other.


It was a shame the Remain parties couldn’t work together. ChangeUK paid the penalty. They need to join the Lib Dems as soon as possible. Change claimed the taint of working with the Tories over austerity in the Coalition was a barrier. It isn’t anymore. The Lib Dems have had two good election results and are about to get a new leader. Their brand is toxic no more.

It would be great if the Greens could also help to form the new centre grouping the UK so badly needs. Let’s hope the new Lib Dem leader can listen to the growing environmental concerns in the country and make it possible for a grand merger.

Nigel Farage says he is prepared to fight a General Election. Will that be on one policy again for the Brexit Party or will the people of Britain be entitled to know where he stands on tax rates, elderly care, university funding, devolution and nuclear weapons?

Finally, we come to the pitiful state of the Labour Party. There is an expectation that Corbyn will finally pivot to a People’s Vote. Don’t be so sure. The expulsion of Alistair Campbell shows the real instincts of the leader and his close advisors. Stalinist party control, the EU is a capitalist club and the EU debate is a distraction from implementing a socialist programme for Britain.

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It is essential that the North West sends a strong anti-Brexit message in next Thursday’s European elections. The only way to do this is to vote Liberal Democrat. They have a familiar reliable person at the head of their regional list in Chris Davies. He is a former MEP and MP in the North West, and is supported in second and third place on the Lib Dem list by good Stockport councillors Jane Brophy and Helen Foster-Grime.

I have much respect for the Greens, but on this particular occasion the stakes are too high and it must be a vote for the Lib Dems. ChangeUK have had a baptism of fire, have little support and have engaged in arrogant centrist sectarianism suggesting the Lib Dems are a spent force instead of seeking constructive ways to work together.

Sadly, Labour are not clearly a Remain party in this election and most of the Tory membership want to merge with Nigel Farage.


The need for solidarity behind the Lib Dems is because the region faces an onslaught by the Brexit Party. Their simplistic message on just getting out of Europe will have strong appeal despite the deficiencies of their leading candidate. Claire Fox was once a Revolutionary Communist. The party defended the Warrington bombing outrage and according to Colin Parry, who’s son died, Fox has failed to disavow the dreadful deed. Second on the Brexit list is a Danish dentist Henrik Overgaard Nielsen, a veteran opponent of the Maastricht Treaty. Third is TV doctor David Bull, born in Farnborough.


These elections were last contested in 2014 when the Coalition was in power, UKIP were rampant and the Lib Dems on the floor. Labour got three MEPs elected from the North West and Theresa Griffin from Merseyside heads their list again. Julie Ward, who has had a very low profile is second with Wajid Khan third. He replaced Afzal Khan when the latter was elected Westminster MP for Gorton in 2017.


This is the most extraordinary election for the Tories. Their distaste for the contest is palpable and a drubbing is expected. Feel some sympathy then for Saj Karim who is seeking re-election. With Jackie Foster retiring, Eden council leader Kevin Beaty is second on the list.


The ex-head of the Liverpool FC Foundation, Andrea Cooper heads up the team for the new kids on the block with former Warrington Labour councillor Dan Price second.


The Greens will be hoping to ride the surge of alarm over climate change to improve on their 1989 performance when they won over 2 million votes. Long standing Lancashire and Lancaster councillor Gina Dowding tops their list, followed by former Salford mayoral candidate Wendy Olsen.


Five years has certainly been a long time in politics for UKIP’s North West MEPs. They came a strong second behind Labour in 2014, but look what happened to the three elected MEP’s. Paul Nuttall briefly became leader, joined Brexit and now isn’t standing. Louise Bours became an Independent and Stephen Woolfe, who would have been a good leader, had a punch up with a fellow Ukipper, and isn’t standing.

Top of UKIP’s list this time is party secretary Adam Richardson.


Sadly Stephen Yaxley-Lennon otherwise known as Tommy Robinson is standing as an independent. One would like to right off the chances of the former head of the English Defence League, but remember the North West elected the British National party leader Nick Griffin in 2009.


A reminder that the whole North West is the constituency for this election. Voting is on Thursday, counting is on Sunday evening. The eight winners will be allocated from the party lists on a proportional basis depending on the percentage of the vote they get. A Belgian gent called Victor d’Hondt devised this form of proportional representation.


Expect Fox and Neilson to be elected for Brexit, Griffin Labour, Karim Con, Dowding Green and Davies for the Lib Dems.

The remaining two will be a toss up between Ward Lab, Brophy Lib Dem and Bull Brexit.

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The Liberal Democrats are back as a credible force in British politics following last week’s local elections. Because of this it is vital that everybody who opposes Brexit or at least wants the people to have a final say, votes Lib Dem in the Euro elections. Support for the Greens or Change UK will confuse the issue and allow leavers to point to Farage’s vote (that could be 30%) as effectively a second national vote to Leave.

The Green Party deserves support in subsequent elections as concern about the environment rises, but on May 23, the future of the country is at stake and there needs to be huge support for the Lib Dems with their clear, principled and long-standing commitment to remain.

Change UK are a major disappointment. They are engaging in sectarian politics in the centre ground claiming the Lib Dems are still tainted with the austerity agenda. Well some of their Labour MPs voted for the Iraq War so two can play that irrelevant blame game. They have no infrastructure to fight elections compared to the Lib Dems and should not be supported in these Euro elections.

The Conservative and Labour parties should be rejected as their leaders are in favour of leaving the EU.


Shadow Cabinet member Barry Gardner let the cat out of the bag the other day when he told the Tories, Labour was trying to bail them out over Brexit. So, there we have it, hard left Jeremy Corbyn saving the Tories who are in their biggest crisis since the Corn Laws.

As I write the Lab/Con talks haven’t reached a conclusion but Corbyn is desperate to get back to the domestic agenda. I was in the Commons Gallery for PMQ’s on Wednesday where Corbyn didn’t ask a single question on Brexit preferring to concentrate on the health service. Don’t rule out the Labour leadership deciding to take the hit from their People’s Vote MPs and, insofar as they are able, letting May’s deal go through.


It was the worst result for the Tories since 1995 when even the old Macclesfield Council went into no overall control. The successor authority Cheshire East followed suit last Thursday along with Pendle and South Ribble. In fairness the Conservatives were coming off the high base achieved on the day David Cameron (remember him?) won his General Election and more importantly the Brexit shambles has been deeply damaging for the Tories.

Although the losses were less, it was a bad night for Labour, with the important exception of Trafford. Their 1995 local government performance was a springboard for Blair’s landslide two years later. Losing control of Wirral, Cheshire West and Chester and Burnley and losing ground in places like Bolton shows Labour is not on course to win the General Election, Jeremy Corbyn says he wants. Further afield Labour’s showing in the North East is truly dreadful.

Labour are paying the price for their ambiguity on a People’s Vote and on internal splits, particularly on Merseyside. The loss of Wirral is down to Momentum activity but in Liverpool it is perhaps more to do with personalities. The attempt by council deputy leader Ann O’Byrne to abolish the elected mayor post of Joe Anderson revives memories of the dark days of Liverpool politics.

The Lib Dems improved their position across the North West but only came close to taking a council, apart from South Lakeland, when they drew level with Labour in Stockport.

Independents had their best showing in decades. They benefitted from a growing disillusionment with conventional politics and a desire for more power at the grassroots level. I would only say that if all the small communities in a council area elected people demanding special treatment for their area, coherent government would be difficult. There is a view, however, that council politics should be less political, so perhaps it is a healthy trend.

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