David Gauke is wrong – voting for the Lib Dems will only help Corbyn
BY SUSAN HALL
David Gauke has made a huge mistake. Actually – scratch that – he has made at least six of them. In September he was wrong to argue (and to vote) to try and take ‘No Deal’ off the table. I wrote at the time that Boris Johnson had no choice but to remove the whip from 21 rebels and, although I was pleased that there was a pathway back for those rebels who rowed back behind Boris and supported his deal, David Gauke was wrong to fail to do that. Both those mistakes were hugely regrettable, but they pale in comparison to the egregious errors he has made this week. In deciding to run as an independent parliamentary candidate, in throwing his weight behind a second referendum and by calling for voters to support his fellow independents or Liberal Democrats (who, by the way, will need to choose a new name soon before they get prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act) in the hope that doing so will deny Boris Johnson a majority he has made a catastrophic series of blunders.
However all three of these recent blunders rest of two further intertwined misjudgements. The first is to believe that there’s some pathway to a second referendum which doesn’t involve Jeremy Corbyn being Prime Minister. The second is to calculate that leaving the EU and pursuing a Canada-style relationship with it is a worse option than Jeremy Corbyn being Prime Minister.
Let’s take both of these in turn. Is there any way that democracy deniers could navigate their way to a second referendum without agreeing to Jeremy Corbyn sitting in Number 10? One way to achieve that would be for the Lib Dems to gain so many seats that they overtook Labour. The Liberal Democrats entered this election with 20 MPs, whilst the Labour Party had 243, so that could be achieved by the Lib Dems gaining 112 seats from Labour. They would then, notionally, have 132 seats to Labour’s 131. Another 40 seats gained from the Conservatives could take the Lib Dems to 172 and would enable a Lib Dem, Labour and SNP Coalition to take power, propelling Jo Swinson into Downing Street. This seems unlikely, to put it mildly. So are there any other manoeuvres to enable a second referendum without letting a Marxist run the country?
Could, for example, the Lib Dems get enough seats – even without overtaking Labour – to be able to make the case that Labour should back them? Might there be enough Labour MPs who would prefer to back Jo Swinson over Jeremy Corbyn in those circumstances? The answer is a clear ‘No’. There’s a reason that Ladbrokes are offering odds of 16 to 1 (a 6% chance) that Jo Swinson might be the next Prime Minister. Furthermore, those are not the odds that Jo Swinson will be PM on 13th December. She could (I’m rolling my eyes as I type) become the next Prime Minister in 5, 10 or more years. It’s not going to happen.
So we’re agreed. The only realistic way to achieve a second referendum is to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. Every voter who still hopes that the UK will remain in the EU needs to decide if that is a price worth paying. When 47% of Jewish Brits are considering emigrating if Labour win on 12th December, when our Five Eyes partners would withdraw from cooperation, when the UK would see its economy destroyed – with spending through the roof and the tax base decimated – it’s hard to imagine many decent people really believing that giving power to a fiscally illiterate, terrorist-befriending Marxist would be worth it to remain in the EU. Jeremy Corbyn would be an utter disaster as Prime Minister. We cannot let that happen.
Nevertheless we know that if the Conservatives fail to win a majority, that’s what will happen. Every vote for Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP or the Brexit Party increases the chance that Jeremy Corbyn will gain power. It’s easy for David Gauke to release a statement urging people to vote for the “Liberal Democrats” and to hope for a hung Parliament. But to do so is to hope that Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister. There is no other pathway. I’m a proud Brexiteer, who sees leaving the EU as a tremendous opportunity for our country. But even if you disagree with me and are worried about us leaving, it is worth remembering that the worst predictions for Brexit vanish into insignificance in comparison to the damage Corbyn’s Labour Party would do to the UK. Don’t make the same mistake as David Gauke. Don’t think that you can safely vote Lib Dem. Don’t take an appalling risk with our country’s future. The only way to stop Corbyn is to vote Conservative on 12th December.
Susan Hall is a London Assembly Member and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group. Follow her on twitter: @Councillorsuzie