Jonathan Fryer

Ludford Calls for Strong LibDem Euro-message

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 3rd December, 2012

Sarah LudfordIn her first local party engagement since being re-elected to the top of London Liberal Democrats’ Euro-list, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP told the Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats’ AGM in Bethnal Green this evening that the Party must be quite clear in its pro-EU stance in the 2014 Euro-elections and she pointed out that we are likely to be the only party that is. That doesn’t mean saying that everything coming out of Brussels is rosy; there are things that need reforming. But the electorate knows where the LibDems stand on Europe and it would be madness to obfuscate. Local member David Hall-Matthews — a prominent figure in the Social Liberal Forum — argued from the floor that if, as expected, the Euros coincide with the London borough elections (and in Tower Hamlets’ case a mayoral election as well) then it is essential that the Euro-campaign is indeed about Europe and not about British domestic issues, as has sometimes been the case in the past. I added the comment that we will need a strong regional and national campaign on Europe London-wide to complement the more targetted campaigning for the local elections, and highlighted the fact that among many Tory voters in Tower Hamlets and beyond there are those who realise that elements of the capital’s prosperity — and in some cases their jobs — depend on Britain’s being a full member of the EU. There are just 18 months left for Sarah, myself and the other six members of the London Euro-candidate team to get our messages across. And those must indeed be strong and simple and persuasively argue the benefits of being part of Europe.

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One Response to “Ludford Calls for Strong LibDem Euro-message”

  1. Alex Macfie said

    We certainly need a strong message for the 2014 Euro election campaign. However, whether or not the UK is part of the EU is actually a domestic issue. MEPs have not much influence over whether any particular country stays in the EU.

    Our European election campaign should focus on what MEPs actually do in the European Parliament, both for the region in which they are standing and for liberalism. So it should focus on our policy IN the EU (not necessarily policy ABOUT the EU), and what we would do differently from the Commission, and from the other groups in the European Parliament — in particular the Tories and their allies who are “nutters, anti-semites and homophobes” (© N. Clegg). We should also emphasize the independence of our MEPs from our party in UK government (“a Coalition-free Zone”), and so should not be afraid to point out where the Lib Dem party in the European Parliament has taken a different line from the UK government in the Council.

    How we would reform EU institutions is an important part of a good Euro election campaign, but so are the bread-and-butter issues that MEPs discuss and vote on.

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