The Liberal Democrats have a long-standing reputation as the adults in the room. Don’t lose it now.

First published in October 2019.

This is extremely badly judged.

The only way to avoid a Tory Government and a hard Brexit would be with a majority for a pro-People’s Vote alliance. Ruling this out definitively (rather than, say, saying “it is not part of our plan” or “it is not what we really want”) achieves nothing.

It also undermines the Tactical Voting from which the Lib Dems would be a net beneficiary. What is the point in voting tactically if a hung parliament with no People’s Vote or Remain alliance is the best it can achieve?

Yes, if every Remainer in England and Wales voted Lib Dems they would get a landslide victory and a majority in Parliament. But, lads, sorry to say it, it is not going to happen.

How about: “Our aim, as always, is to form a Government, but, if that is not possible, we’ll work with whoever we need to to stop Brexit/get a People’s Vote.”

You could add: “Nothing is more important than avoiding a Tory Government and the hard Brexit that will bring misery to millions.”

The Lib Dem surge in the European Elections was hugely down to Remainers coming to them from other parties. If Remainers don’t believe you will cooperate across party lines to stop Brexit or get a People’s Vote, that can evaporate.

If you are irritated by this piece, and want to reply “But Labour...” or “But Corbyn...”, please accompany the reply with an explanation of how else either a Tory Government or Brexit are going to be avoided without cooperation with Labour.

If, at some point, there is going to be some form of cooperation, the Lib Dems’ leadership is going to face explaining it to a membership that has been whipped up into a frenzy by them, and sees that cooperation as a U-turn and giving in to them.

The Liberal Democrats have a long-standing reputation as the adults in the room, the reasonable ones, the thinkers, the ones that recognise that cross-party cooperation is necessary to advance their objectives.

If you lose that over some hubris about Jo Swinson becoming Prime Minister, you, and Remain, lose.🔷

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 30 October 2019, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Dreamstime/Jonathan Schöps.)