Live coverage of the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch.
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We are covering the launch of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. A
referendum on any final Brexit deal will be at the heart of that
manifesto campaign. The British people, you,
should have the final say. And if you don't like
what Theresa May comes back with, you should have the
right to vote remain. The Lib Dems are making a pitch
for younger voters - With promises of cheap bus passes
and help to Buy home. I think many things need to be changed, tuition,
health care, is only to be different. I will be live in Bethnal
Green in east London where the Lib Dems are launching their general
election manifesto this evening and we will hear from the reader Tim
Farron on the stage behind me in just a few minutes.
Good evening from Bethnal Green in east London where the Liberal
Democrats are launching their general election manifesto this
evening. If you want to watch 100 days that is over on BBC Four. The
Liberal Democrats have chosen this nightclub in Bethnal Green to launch
their manifesto and in about ten minutes Tim Farron will be on the
stage behind me launching that and making a speech. He will say that at
the heart of this manifesto is the promise of the Liberal Democrats to
hold a second referendum on Brexit. Many other promises as well,
including a promise to legalise cannabis and tax the sale of that.
This report on the Lib Dem manifesto from Vicki Young.
He says his policies offer young people a brighter future.
And Tim Farron has put Brexit at the heart of his campaign.
The Lib Dems hope the promise of a referendum on any Brexit deal
the government negotiates will persuade Remain voters
But the polls suggest the message isn't having much impact.
Certainly there are many people in this country lacking hope.
They think that the only thing on the table is Theresa May's bleak
vision of us leaving the European Union
But there are also many people who voted Remain
And they feel, actually, we have just got to get on with it now,
and many of them think Theresa May is the person to do that.
So what there is out there are many people who feel
And what I'm saying to people is that I haven't and if you believe
that Britain's future is better alongside our neighbours in Europe,
you should not be forced to accept a stitch up between Brussels
and London, you should have the final say.
As well as a referendum on the Brexit deal,
the Liberal Democrat manifesto promises ?7 billion of extra
A penny rise in income tax to fund more spending
on the NHS and social care, an end to the freeze
And the party wants to legalise and regulate cannabis.
There's no mention, though, of abolishing tuition fees,
a policy the Lib Dems abandoned when they went into coalition
Would you now accept tuition fees were the right thing to do,
Well, you know, I voted against the rise in tuition fees.
I think it is critically important that people keep their word.
And that is why my advice to others is do not make
Would you now put reversing it on your manifesto?
We have said we would put in significant additional money
to return grants to students to make sure it is affordable.
Here in south-west London the Lib Dems are hoping for a comeback.
The area voted overwhelmingly against Brexit.
So how is their promise of another referendum
It is very childish to think just because you do not like a decision
that has been made and has been voted for, that you can go
This is a democracy, this is the country that we live
in and I think we should support that and stand by that.
Even though the decision wasn't one that I liked.
I do not think that the fight should ever stop.
I think it affects far too many lives.
And yes, we should carry on fighting until we have, you know,
I was disappointed with the news about a potential referendum
because I think that ship has sailed now.
And it is about trying to get the best kind of Brexit.
And so how many seats do you need to gain?
My sense is that we need to increase our number of seats,
increase our vote share, but what we need above all else
is to offer the British people this one chance.
This is the last chance saloon for Britain.
If you believe Britain is open, tolerant and united,
if you reject the extreme version of Brexit that Theresa May,
Jeremy Corbyn and Ukip have pushed through the House of Commons,
if you reject that and want a better future,
the Liberal Democrats are the only party that is offering new hope.
Two years ago the Lib Dems narrowly avoided election wipe-out.
They're hoping Brexit thrown them a political lifeline.
Tim Farron is going to be taking to the stage quite soon in Bethnal
Green. Our Political Correspondent,
Sima Kotecha is with me. She's been following
the Liberal Democrats campaign. Choosing a nightclub for the launch,
is that part of the message that they want to target the young
voters? Absolutely. At the heart of the manifesto that has been launched
our young people. We heard about things like housing, the
legalisation of cannabis, some liberal views that would appeal to
young people. They're playing loud music Mall, and you may remember in
2010 the Liberal Democrats did well but young people, winning 30% of the
vote of those aged 18 to 24. But then the figure plummeted in the
following election and they won just 5% of the vote. So this time around
there trying to win over at that demographic again which could lead
to some significant seats around the country. We all know they did pretty
badly in the last election. They lost almost 50 seats and ended up
with just eight seats in the House of Commons. Obviously they're hoping
to turn that around but the opinion polls are not brilliant for them at
the moment. We must look opinion polls with caution but the most
recent shows that there are are around 10%. Just talking to people,
we have been falling Tim Farron for the last couple of weeks and just
talking to people about him some people just feel that he is not
quite cutting through. That his message is not delivering the impact
that the other parties might be doing. So he has to do something
significantly different I think in the next few weeks if he wants to
win those folks. We will be listening carefully to what he's
about to say and he is also taking part in live debate tomorrow. Nick
Clegg in 2010 did well in the leaders debate and that led to many
young people coming out. Even labelled by some as the Barack Obama
of the UK election in 2010. So we will watch Tim Barron again closely
tomorrow as it is a chance for him to show really what he's capable of.
Thank you very much. So if Liberal Democrats have
promised to help young people get on the housing ladder and discount
bus passes - how will The BBC's Chris Morris has been
giving the figures a Reality Check. The biggest revenue raising proposal
is to add 1p to income tax across the board. The estimate that would
raise ?6.3 billion per year. Money that they would spend exclusively on
the NHS, care services and Public health. Then they want to reverse
cuts in corporation tax. Back up to 20%, raising ?3.6 billion annually
they say. There's also an eye-catching proposal to legalise
and tax cannabis. The Lib Dems say it would raise another 1 billion per
year. Overall this is a manifesto that will cost the country war. By
2020 the Lib Dems will spend 14.1 billion more in new day-to-day
spending than they would raise in taxes. That would mean a small rise
in the budget deficit by the end of the decade. But if you strip out the
money going into longer term investments in things like hospitals
and roads they said they would still balance the
books. They also want to launch a package of
to build 300,000 new homes per year. to build 300,000 new homes per year.
But the big thing in this manifesto, something that sets them apart from
the Conservatives and Labour, want to hold another referendum on
Brexit. This would be a vote on whether to accept the terms on
offer. They also put the option of staying in the EU on the ballot
paper. Over the next Parliament the biggest factor in determining the
health of the British economy and spending will be the outcome of the
Brexit negotiations. The Lib Dems said they oppose a high Brexit.
There will be a vote in parliament on a proposed deal but in this
manifesto the Lib Dems argue it is the British people who should have
the final say. Back here in Bethnal Green and you
can see on the stage some of the Liberal Democrats, members and
supporters, holding placards saying, a brighter future. All that remains
is for the Liberal Democrat leader himself Tim Farron to take to the
stage and make his address to the party faithful as he launches the
party manifesto. Our correspondent is with me, he needs to make a
speech appealing to the party faithful tonight but also to the
wider electorate. In order to climb up the opinion polls and try to put
in a good performance. But he has accepted they're not going to be in
government. Absolutely, that is incredibly interesting. From day one
he said that the party is not going to win the election and talking to
people on the campaign trail some are saying why is he admitting
defeat. I put that to Tim Farron when I spoke to him earlier and he
said it is not about admitting defeat but being realistic. But the
goal is to is to present a strong
opposition, they want to change the debate and hold the government
accountable. He said the election is more like a coronation for Theresa
May rather than an election. He said what is required is a credible
opposition. The message is if you voted remain in the referendum you
should vote Lib Dem. What is interesting is even those who have
voted remain, some are actually still wanting to vote for the
government and still want to vote for Theresa May. A subgroup has been
created, so people who voted to remain but actually now are quite
happy with the fact that the UK is leaving the EU. I think he has to
win back those people on his side win back those people on his side
and I think that message, he has to reiterate the message, show a bit of
charisma and gravitas, that is appealing to that tough demographic.
You have been following him around, they are targeting constituencies
they think they can win or win back from the last election. Many of the
constituencies they are targeting didn't bode remain. The south-west
is crucial, just to be a Lib Dem battle ground but we were there at
the other day in Somerset, North Norfolk, and many voted to leave,
the area as a whole voted to leave. So he has an uphill struggle to
convince those people to get them onside. And to actually vote for
someone who is still going on about wanting to stay in the EU. And that
is tough. Just to remind you, we're just waiting for the Liberal
Democrat leader Tim Farron to take to the stage. We have live special
coverage from here in East London on this Lib Dem manifesto launch. We
had the Labour Party manifesto launch yesterday of course in
Bradford and today is the turn of the Lib Dems. And very much of the
heart of the manifesto is the promise to hold a second referendum.
The Lib Dems saying the British people should have the final say on
whether we stay in Europe or leave. Of course a very controversial call
for a second referendum but one that Ted dashed Tim Farron and the
leadership are campaigning on and campaigning hard. They did not do
well in the last election, they lost almost 50 seats. Really a
devastating loss in that election. And they were left with just eight
seats in the House of Commons. They have since added one was a
by-election so they now have nine. But there is the stage, there are
the supporters. They will stand behind Tim Farron when he makes a
speech. And obviously the party faithful love their leader. How does
he compare dizzy with his predecessor Nick Clegg? A lot of
people have said over the last couple of weeks that he is not so
charismatic, that he is likeable and honest. They feel he has those
values that they want the parties represent. But it is about whether
he can have the same impact as Nick Clegg over the next few weeks. We
know in 2010 Nick Clegg appealed to the younger demographic. Which the
party is aiming for. But can he be as highly impactful as Nick Clegg?
We will see over the next few weeks. At the moment the polls are showing.
Here he is. He appears, the leader of the Lib Dems, Tim Farron. Let's
listen as he launches the party to the election manifesto.
A couple of weeks ago in Kidlington near Oxford I met a bloke called
Malcolm. He came up to me in the street and he started shouting at
me. You might have seen it on the news or the intranet. In the end we
got along. But he was angry at me for not getting behind Theresa May
and backing Brexit. I think I count down a bit when we spoke but I'm
fairly sure I did not change mind. And that is fine. When the
referendum took place last year I campaigned harder than anyone else
to remain. I believed passionately that our children would have a
brighter future in Britain if we remained in the EU. But we lost and
I accept that. But that does not mean that I have changed what I
believe. I believe that our children will have a brighter future if we
are inside the European Union, that they will be safer and better off,
that our economy will be stronger and our country will have more
influence in the world. But just because I believe that does not mean
that I think people who voted to leave are bad people. Of course
they're not. We just disagree. I grew up in Preston in Lancashire and
most folks in Preston voted to leave. Parts of Lancashire, two
thirds of the people voted to leave. Friends of mine did, members of my
family did. They do not all admit to it to my face! But I know that they
did. Because you told my sister! Pretend otherwise! These people,
they are my people and I love those people. There are good people. There
are decent people. And as it happens, I liked Malcolm as well
once he's stopped shouting at me. But here's the difference between me
and Theresa May. I want Malcolm, everyone here, everyone in Preston,
every single one of you, to have your say over what comes next.
Nobody knows what Brexit will look like, the choice is -- the choices
Theresa May will make will affect your life and our country for
decades. Your weekly shop, your job, your environment, your safety, where
you can travel to and where you can live. And already she is making
choices that will affect those things including the most profound
choice she could make, taking the UK out of the single market. That
decision alone is a time bomb under our economy and when it blows up it
will take down our NHS and schools with it. It will wreck our
children's future for decades to come and it is a choice, her choice,
plain and simple. It was not inevitable, there was nothing on the
ballot paper last June that said we were choosing to pull out of the
single market. Other countries are outside the EU and inside the single
market. Just look at Norway, Switzerland. There was nothing on
the ballot paper that said people and families from Europe who have
made this country their home will be left in limbo not knowing if they
can stay in the country they have raised their kids in. And definitely
nothing on the ballot paper that said we would turn our friends and
neighbours, our allies, into enemies. And yet here we are with
our government making accusations of our
neighbours and even threatening war with Spain. The choices Theresa May
makes and the compromises she negotiates with the bureaucrats in
Brussels will affect our children's future for decades to come. My
children, your children. In June last year we voted for a departure
but we did not vote for a destination. So I want you to have
your choice over your future. APPLAUSE.
Someone... Maybe it is obvious when you think about it, someone is going
to have the final say over the final Brexit deal. It could be the
politicians or it could be the people. I believe it must be the
people. APPLAUSE. You should have the say over whether Theresa May and
her Brexit deal is right for you and your family in a referendum. If you
do not like the deal you should have the choice to remain in the European
Union. Giving you the choice and giving you the choice of your future
is exactly what our manifesto is all about. I want you to change the
future of Britain and imagine a brighter future, imagine a future
where our children can grow up in a country where people are decent to
each other, where we have good schools and hospitals, where we take
the challenge of climate change seriously. Where we give our
teachers and nurses and soldiers the pay rise they deserve for the
service they give to our country. While we have an open innovative
economy, where we treat the poorest and the most vulnerable with
compassion. Where we do not turn our backs on desperate refugees. That is
the Britain I love and the Britain I want to lead.
APPLAUSE. But that is not the Britain that is
not the future that Theresa May is offering you. If you want to know
the most revealing thing that has been said during this election, just
look at Nigel Farage and his Twitter account. Not too often, but look at
it just this once. In his very words Theresa May is using the exact words
and phrases I have been using for 20 years. Think about that for a
minute. Nigel Farage says the exact words and phrases, the Prime
Minister of our great country saying the same things that Nigel Farage
has been saying for 20 years. And not just the words and the phrases,
the policies as well. That is what Ukip MEP Patrick Flynn said just
this week. Brexit never did just mean Brexit, for Nigel Farage Brexit
was always part of a package. Part of a worldview. It is a worldview
that includes shunning climate change, shrinking the state by
starving our schools and NHS of the funding that they need, turning our
backs on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world
as Theresa May did when she shamefully closed the door on
desperate child refugees. That is Nigel Farage's worldview, the same
that leads to Donald Trump banning Muslims and building a wall. The
same one that Marine Le Pen try to impose on the decent people of
France. Nigel Farage his vision for Britain is now that of Theresa May.
He has taken over the Conservative Party. Anti-Europe, and to refugee,
slashing funding to schools and hospitals. No wonder Ukip is
standing candidates down to support the Tories. After all who needs Ukip
if the Tory government is doing what they want anyway. Somebody has to
stand up to them. Someone has to bite -- to fight for the decent,
compassionate Britain we love. But it will not be Jeremy Corbyn. On the
biggest issue facing us all for a generation when all of this is at
stake Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party has not even shown up. Jeremy
Corbyn ordered his MPs and his Lords to go into the lobbies and vote with
the Tories and Ukip, not against them but with them. Before the vote
on Article 50. He said he would order his party to vote in favour,
even if the government made no concessions, whatsoever. So surprise
surprise, they made no concessions, whatsoever. Jeremy Corbyn did not
need to do that he could have voted with us to stay in the single market
or to give European citizens living here at the right to stay. He chose
not to. Jeremy Corbyn and Labour chose not to. Jeremy Corbyn has
always been pro-Brexit, he campaigned against Europe for years
so we should not be surprised. But we should be bitterly disappointed.
Labour are supposed to be... APPLAUSE.
Labour are supposed to be the opposition but they have not post
anything. They're supposed to stand up for working people but they have
not stood up to anyone. They're supposed to care about our
children's future but they're letting the Conservatives wreck it.
They have lost the right to call themselves the opposition.
Labour has lost its purpose. But we have found our purpose. The brighter
future we want for all our children is at stake. Our economy is at
stake, our schools and hospitals. This is about the future of the
open, tolerant, united country that we love. I'm here tonight to tell
you that we will not roll over. A few weeks ago in France the two
parties that had run the country together for decades came third and
fifth. The decent people of France decided they did not want to simply
accept one of the two tired old parties so they rejected them. And
when the two old establishment parties have been eliminated, the
decent people of France faced a stark choice. A liberal,
pro-European candidate who believes in an open, tolerant and unite
France, versus the leader of the National front. Hope versus fear. A
brighter future versus a cold, mean-spirited one. Nigel Farage
pinned his colours to the mast, just as when he backed Donald Trump in
America, he backed the candidate who represented his worldview.
Anti-Europe, anti-refugee, he backed the National front. For the decent
people of chance -- France, they've chosen hope over fear and the
National front loss. Do not let anyone tell you the only choice you
have in this election is between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. The
selection is a your choice about your future, it is about your future
and you can choose a brighter future where our children grow up in a
country where people are decent to each other. Where we have good
schools and hospitals so our children have a fair chance in life
and the elderly are treated with dignity. Where we have a clean
environment and innovative economy, the more Liberal Democrat MPs unite
the better deal we will get on Europe. The more jobs, the more
money for our NHS and schools. The more and brighter the future for our
children. Theresa May and Nigel Farage, their cold, mean-spirited
Britain, is not the Britain that I love. The Britain I love is
generous, and it is compassionate. It is one where we are decent to
each other, it is open, tolerant and united. If that is the Britain that
you love as well then this is the moment to stand up, this is your
chance to change Britain's future. I'm here tonight because when my
children are my age I want to be able to look them in the eye and
tell them honestly that when the moment came to stand up for their
future, I stood up. I'm determined that our children will grow up in a
country where people are decent to each other. I'm here tonight because
the Britain but I love is not lost yet. That is the country that I want
to leave. Thank you. -- to lead. There we are, the speech from Tim
Farron followed by a lot of noisy music. I'm joined by a prominent Lib
Dem, Vince Cable. to own the speech was great.
It was a very clear speech with clear definition. It started and
finished with the issue of Europe. Giving people the choice of the
destination, not just the departure. That is clear. The way in which the
Tory party has morphed into Ukip. A lot of Tory voters will be alarmed
when they realise what they are signing up to. But your message
doesn't seem to be cutting through to the voters, if you believe the
opinion polls. Well, it is a very long campaign. Three weeks ago. Our
manifesto is only out today. I think it is up from here. And really, you
need to do so much better than the last election, when you really lost
almost 50 seats. Can you do that? I was one of the victims in that but I
am fighting again, as many of my colleagues are. Because of the
British footing system, we have got to win seats will stop thoughts are
important but we have to win seats. I am optimistic we will have
substantial improvement and a real impact on the next Parliament. The
message of this manifesto is really that the Liberal Democrats will not
be in Government but want to be strong in opposition. Exactly. It is
very clear that the Conservatives are going to win. They are probably
going to win big. The Labour Party will be defeated. But we need a
substantial amount of Lib Dem MPs in the next Parliament to hold the
Government to account and form the nucleus of an effective opposition.
Lot of condemnation of the Labour Party and Conservative Party from
Tim Farron. He topped about a cold, mean-spirited Britain. Well, that is
what hard Brexit leads to. It is also what we are beginning to see.
They have been in power for two years. In many parts of the country,
we are already seeing school budgets, hospitals and social care
severely cut. If they get a big majority, continuing Government,
that will be extended over a long period of time. It could get very
nasty. Howdy explain to people who voted in the referendum that there
should be a second referendum? People have had their say on Europe.
They had their say on leaving. They do not know what the destination is.
It could turn out well. It could turn out very badly. We can get no
agreement at all. What we're seeing is when we get at that point, people
will have the opportunity to say if they accepted the knot. But some
people will say... You want a second referendum because you do not think
the British people give the correct answer. The first time around. We do
not disrespect the majority, the small majority. We accept that vote.
The processors that but we do not know where we're going. It is one
thing with people deciding to move house, that is fine, but they don't
know where they are going to live. And if the houses to try rotten
rising damp, they would decide to stay well they are. Do you have a
problem with your leader? You're not cutting through. 9% in the opinion
polls. Actually, I think it is a bit higher. But nonetheless, this is a
want of a manifesto tonight. There is tremendous enthusiasm. He has
already got the party going with the largest membership we have ever had.
We will keep going from here. Vince Cable, thank you for your time. That
is his reaction to the launch of the party's manifesto in Bethnal Green
in east London. Tim Farron really launching an attack on both Theresa
May and Jeremy Corbyn, saying that they wanted a cold, mean-spirited
Britain. He said it hard Brexit, including leading the single market,
would be a time bomb under economy which would wreck the lives of young
people for decades to come. That is the launch of the Liberal Democrats'
manifesto in this very noisy nightclub Udinese London. For the
moment, back to you, Clive. In the quiet of this to do. It is very
quiet here. And warm. The Liberal Democrats, as Ben said,
hope to attract young