Why There Must Be An Early General Election

So history has been made this week: David Cameron has become the youngest Prime Minister to leave office at the tender age of 49. In his place, former Home Secretary Theresa May, who was elected by…oh. That’s right. She hasn’t been elected at all. The new Prime Minister has assumed office with the backing of 199 Conservative MPs, a mere 0.0004% of the British electorate. Not even the Tory members were given a say (which would have improved the percentage to 0.03% of the electorate), after her rival Andrea Leadsom withdrew her challenge for the UK’s top job.

Whether or not you vote Conservative or whether or not you happen to be quite pleased with the “coronation” of Theresa May as Prime Minister, there can be no question that to assume office with the support of 199 people is in no way democratic and contradicts the claims from the Leave campaign in the recent EU referendum, of “taking back control” from “unelected leaders” in Europe. #awkward.

It is accurate to say that we do not have a presidential system here in the UK, thus meaning that when people vote in an election, they vote either for the party they wish to assume office or for their local representatives, and not for the candidate they wish to become Prime Minister. For me, this argument really hold firm against calls from the Liberal Democrats and others, for an early General Election.

The Conservative Party were elected into power last year on a mandate built around and taking into account the UK’s position inside of the European Union. That manifesto is now outdated, untenable and defunct. Whilst it is entirely the fault of the Conservative Party to have not put a plan in place for the eventuality of a leave result in the referendum, it must be acknowledged that the new government formed by Theresa May is acting in immensely different circumstances to those under which her party was elected last year.

There is an entirely new Cabinet. There is an entirely new agenda. There is an entirely different manifesto. The British people must be given a say on this new government and on this new post-Brexit era; without an election, Theresa May has no elected mandate and is leading an illegitimate government. The British people voted to leave the European Union, but in no way does that result indicate the sort of relationship people want the UK to have with our European neighbours. Each party should have the opportunity to put their case to the country, for the sort of future they see for the UK and the EU. People should be able to vote for which they prefer: whether it’s access to the single market and free movement from the Tories or remaining altogether from the Liberal Democrats, there needs to be a democratic decision taken to ensure people’s trust in the government does not falter.

Already there is talk of remaining within the single market and maintaining free movement of people, meaning continued payment into the EU budget along with a loss of influence at the debating table when trade laws are being made. Is this what people who voted leave really thought they were getting when they put that little cross in the LEAVE box on their ballot paper? I think for the majority, the answer is no. If we’re so obsessed with upholding the democratic right of the British people, then how does it make sense to take that right away by simply handing the premiership down to an unelected successor?

To ensure the continuation of democracy, to legitimise May’s premiership and to give the British people the opportunity to have their say on what they want the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU to look like, there must be a General Election. Without one, I can see many leave and remain voters alike, feeling extremely cheated by the actions of the forthcoming government, actions which will not have been mandated by the people they claim to represent.

Corbyn’s a Principled Man: But He Cares Nothing About the Future of the Labour Party

I’m not normally one to comment on the affairs or issues of political parties other than my own (the Liberal Democrats in case you didn’t know), but the fallout from Thursday’s referendum and its impact on the Labour Party has got me and indeed the whole nation wondering just what the hell is going on. Whilst it may be fair to comment that media outlets, in particular the BBC is lending far too much airtime to the leadership crisis as opposed to the clear incompetence and ineptitude of leave campaigners, it is simply impossible to turn a blind eye to what I think is the unravelling and potential death of the Labour Party as we know it.

Last year saw a particularly terrible defeat for Labour. Admittedly it wasn’t as disastrous as it was for the Liberal Democrats but Labour lost 29 seats and with it its strongholds in Scotland. The fault of this loss was placed on Ed Miliband who, gracefully, resigned his post which led to the hugely observed leadership contest. Jeremy Corbyn, a back-bencher for over 30 years emerged from the far-left of the Labour Party to sweep to an overwhelming victory, securing more than 60% of the vote in the first round of ballots of the leadership election. It was hailed as Labour returning from the era of Blairite ideology that galvanised support from thousands of young people who had become disenfranchised with the elitism of Westminster politics. Not but only nine months later, Corbyn’s leadership is in dire jeopardy and this impact of his victory back in September feels a little hollow.

Corbyn never had the full support of his MPs. Instead he owes his success in the leadership contest to the party membership and the trade unions who secured him more than 200,000 votes. His ability to lead a successful opposition to the slim majority government run by the Conservatives was always doubted, but the two months of campaigning for the European Union membership referendum preceded by seven months of serving as Leader of the Opposition have, in my view and the view of countless others, cemented those doubts as 170 MPs supported a vote of no confidence in Corbyn’s leadership.

In the days after the EU referendum result, there have been calls from all throughout the Labour Party, most importantly from Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, for him to do the decent thing as resign as leader, after what many MPs have called a half-hearted and unclear message in the referendum campaign, which has been constituted as one of the main reasons why the Remain side lost to the Leave campaign. Despite those calls from his shadow cabinet and his Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, Corbyn has refused to budge. More than 20 of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet resigned their posts, further calling him to “do the decent thing” and make way for a new leader. Today a vote of confidence was held regarding Corbyn’s leadership, which he lost 170 votes to 40 (with four abstentions).

Despite having the support of merely 20% of his MPs, Corbyn has again refused to go anywhere saying he will not betray those who voted for him in the leadership election and gave him up an overwhelming mandate to lead the Labour Party. Whilst I respect the scale of Corbyn’s victory in his leadership contest, I cannot accept that it is what he has described as an overwhelming mandate to lead the Labour Party. 9.3 million people voted Labour at the last election, which is a figure significantly different to the 251,000 who voted for Corbyn as leader. Only 2.7% of those who voted Labour at the last election voted for Corbyn as leader – that’s hardly an overwhelming mandate to lead especially in the face of utter rejection from Labour MPs.

The fact is Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party has come to a premature end. He can no longer command the respect of his MPs and has been shown throughout the EU campaign that he cannot successfully engage with Labour voters to secure an electoral victory. If the Labour Party is to continue to be at the forefront of British politics, it needs new leadership from someone who has the backing of the MPs who also command a mandate from the constituents they represent. If Corbyn does not resign then Labour cannot be united and cannot form an effective opposition, let alone a government.

In the face of defeat we have seen politicians accept their responsibility and step aside to allow for fresh leadership: Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, (Nigel Farage) and most recently, David Cameron. If Corbyn cares about the future of the Labour Party he too will step aside to allow new leadership in order to ensure that his party can survive into this new era of British politics. I fear Corbyn cares too much about Corbyn-issues to do this, which was demonstrated by his attendance at a pro-Corbyn rally rather than following Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon’s example by leading their party and giving voters a clear message in the face of the Brexit vote.

Corbyn’s a principled man there can be no denying that, but his recent refusal to accept responsibility for his part in the failure of Labour’s EU campaign shows he cares more about his own political agenda than that of the wider Labour Party and its future.

Why the Liberal Democrats Could Hold Power After the Next Election

It’s been a little over three days since the result of the UK’s referendum on its membership of the European Union was announced to the world and the fallout has been somewhat of a political shit-storm. The Prime Minister has resigned triggering a leadership contest and potential civil war within the Conservative Party; the markets and currency have fallen to thirty-year lows; the leave campaigners are running around clueless as to the next step and now the Labour Party appears to be in danger of completely falling apart as 19 shadow cabinet members (an counting) have resigned their positions and are calling for Jeremy Corbyn’s immediate resignation as leader of the party. It’s all a bit sad really. At a time when the country needs strong and decisive government more than ever, both Her Majesty’s Government and the Opposition are embroiled in bitter internal arguments, showing no leadership and leaving the British people to wonder just what the hell is going to happen next.

As far as I can see there have only been two party leaders in the wake of the Brexit victory, that have risen above petty party infighting and have provided a clear vision of where they stand on the issue and their vision for future steps. Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party and Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, although offering visions that differ from each other, have been the two decisive voices in the immediate aftermath of the Leave Campaign’s victory in Thursday’s referendum. And that’s important. Recent polls have shown that in light of the prospect of a British exit from the European Union, the Scottish public are now in favour of a second independence referendum which further bolsters the support for the First Minister, which as heavily fortified in May’s local elections and last year’s General Election. But what of the Liberal Democrats? Why do I think they have the opportunity to regain the strength and be serious contenders at the next (and probably impending) General Election?

Tim Farron took a bold step on Friday and announced that the Lib Dems would stand at the next election, based on the pledge to either keep the UK from leaving or the seek to re-enter the European Union, depending on the state of the Brexit negotiations at the time of the election. Many people have called this move undemocratic and a cheap grab at power, but perhaps it’s actually one of the most daring, brave and admirable things a Liberal Democrat leader has done in many years. The Liberal Democrats have always been a party that is heavily pro-Europe, they have always believed that the UK should be part of the EU and so to stand in an election on the basis that Lib Dems want the UK to be part of the EU is nothing strange or alien. It does not ignore the result of the referendum; if a party is elected on the basis of an election pledge then that is democracy.

There are over 16 million people left deeply unhappy by Thursday’s result and an increasing number of leave voters who have now entered a period of what has become to be know as “Bregret”. That’s a huge number of people who do not want the UK to leave the EU. Those people will be looking to a political party that represents their pro-EU beliefs and a party that will fight for Britain’s place in Europe and in the world. That party is not the Conservative who have always been deeply divided over Europe and who have now entered a bitter civil war for the top job; that party is not the Labour Party, whose leader has been subject to one of the greatest mass exoduses since the Jews fled Egypt and who are clearly so out of touch with their voters. That party is the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats have seen yet another surge in membership since Thursday’s referendum with 4000 new members signing up to join the #LibDemFightBack, often using the Twitter tag #wearethe48. It wouldn’t surprise me if many disaffected Labour members, potentially MPs, or even those from within the Conservative Party see the Lib Dems as the rightful place to represent their moderate, progressive,  pro-European views. If the Lib Dems play it right, Tim Farron’s promise of being back in power within five years could in fact, retrospectively, be considered to be a prophecy.

But we all know British politics has a funny way of giving you exactly the opposite of what you might expect, even when all the indications to the supposed outcome are there right in front of you, so I won’t hold my breath of place my money on Prime Minister Farron…just yet. But it is a very gripping and thrilling act on the stage of politics in the United Kingdom.

The Choice is Clear: Voting Lib Dem is a vote to Remain

Tonight the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, announced in a statement to party members that despite the referendum result on Thursday returning a 4% majority in favour of leaving the European Union, the Liberal Democrats will campaign the next General Election (which could be in a matter of months) on the promise of keeping the UK inside the EU.

This pledge has of course been met with criticism from those on social media calling the pledge unfair, undemocratic and an act of “ignoring the people’s voice”. But I strongly disagree. The margin of victory for the leave campaign was negligible and even Nigel Farage himself before the campaign, called for a second referendum if the margin of victory was 4% in favour of remaining. The Liberal Democrats have always been a pro-EU party and so it is the natural thing that they should want to keep the UK inside the EU. If people decide they want to take up that offer then they will vote Lib Dem; if not, then they’ll vote Tory, Labour or indeed UKIP.

I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat tonight, more proud than I have ever been. We are standing up for what we believe in without fear of retribution or criticism; we are offering the 48% (plus those who regret their Brexit vote) a chance to rewrite the events of Thursday’s referendum result. If in the event of the Liberal Democrats winning an election based on this promise it is the furthest thing from undemocratic. People will have voted for the Lib Dems because of the promise to remain; if they don’t, then it will be a signal that people are comfortable with Brexit.

This referendum was advisory and not legally binding. The UK government is not bound by the result and has no compulsion to initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, but that does not mean that the result should simply be ignored and tossed aside. Similarly to the 2010 election result, the hung parliament showed politicians that the UK population did not trust one party enough to govern alone. The result? The first coalition government in a generation which provided financial stability and saw two opposing parties collaborate for the good of the country. This referendum result demonstrates that a large portion of the UK population has become disenfranchised with the EU and many of its systems. This of course, should not be ignored. The government should instead use this result as a chance to engage in further reforms in the UK’s relationship with the EU and in fact the union as a whole. Major figures within the EU have already said that the result has triggered a need for the remaining 27 nations to think carefully about the future of the EU – there is absolutely no reason why the UK should not be involved with and included in those future reforms.

The Brexit vote was driven mainly by fears of immigration and the vast amounts of money sent to the EU in membership fees. Promises made to cut immigration and to further fund the NHS have already been rubbished by senior leave campaigners and have left a very bitter taste in the mouths of many who voted to leave. Many of those who voted against remaining on Thursday have already expressed their regret and have claimed they would have rather voted to stay. There is also the pressing issue of the online petition to hold a second referendum under new electoral rules which has gained more than a million signatures in the space of three hours: the current total is 2,571,626 and is rising every time I hit the “refresh button”.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party who were positing the positive case for remaining inside the EU and are the only party committed to ensuring that the UK does not endure one of the most traumatic political events in recent memory. The choice is clear: if you are one of the 48% who wanted to remain inside the EU, then you need to show your support for the Liberal Democrats.

Brexit: The Biggest Con in UK History

So yesterday was an interesting day: the unthinkable happened. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. And no, I’m not happy about it. I’m heartbroken, I’m disappointed and I’m angry. A decision has been made that will forever change the face of politics here in the UK, across Europe and perhaps even the world. But those of you who voted LEAVE have just bought into one of the biggest cons in UK history and that became clear yesterday as the markets fells, the pound slumped and Nigel Farage admitted his £350 million a day figure would in fact, not be going to the NHS.

They also bought into the idea that immigration numbers would be cut: yet again another fallacy spread by the Leave campaign, which was highlighted in the BBC’s debate on Tuesday night. Head of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, asked the direct question to the Leave panel as to whether or not they had ever promised to reduce immigration. The answer? A big fat silence met with a bumbling response which pretty much translated as a “No”.

This campaign wasn’t about our relationship with Europe, to the men and women in the polling station, it was about immigration and nothing anyone tells me is going to persuade me otherwise. People interviewed as to why they voted LEAVE spewed out phrases like “taking back control”, “stopping them from coming over here”, “stopping immigration” and one misguided fool even voted LEAVE to “stop the Muslims from Syria coming here”… oh dear. Now I’m not saying that concerns about immigration weren’t valid reasons for voting LEAVE, but what people have failed to recognise is that this was not a single-issue decision. And for that, I blame the Leave campaign. They used people’s fears and concerns surrounding immigration to bolster their support without giving their voters any indication about what else would happen when the UK left the EU.

What about the very likely event of Scotland becoming independent? What about the tensions created on the Northern Ireland/Republic border, which is so tightly bound and relies on EU involvement? What about our passports? What about banking jobs already being moved out of London? None of these concerns were addressed by the Leave side. They had their single-issue to campaign on and used the complete ignorance of the British regarding the EU to push forward their narrow-minded, Little England agenda.

On the topic of Little England, people yesterday who were celebrating the result were adorning themselves in the St George’s Flag proclaiming that they had got “England back”. I mean, seriously? If that doesn’t demonstrate the rising of English nationalism which, I feel is vastly different to Scottish or even Welsh nationalism, then I don’t know anything that will. Not everyone who voted LEAVE is a racist, bigoted xenophobe – but all the racist bigoted xenophobes DID vote for Brexit. It’s clear that England and even Wales want to be outside the EU – although Wales’ decision makes absolutely zero sense as they will be the ones who probably suffer most – but Scotland and Northern Ireland do not. For that reason, I 100% support any calls for independence referendums and I might even consider emigrating to Scotland so that I can be part of the EU.

Regardless of what I write or what I say when debating this issue, the damage has been done. The country lied to and those who voted LEAVE will be the ones to pay the bigger price. We have lost one of our best Prime Ministers, something which I feel is one of the biggest casualties of this referendum, we have lost our special status in the world and we have become the sort of country that, at this time, I am not proud to be part of. I hate the thought of people across the world looking at the UK and thinking that all British people voted LEAVE.

I am one of the 48% that did not turn our back on Europe. I am one of the 48% that believed we would further prosper as part of the EU. I am one of the 48% that has had their voice drowned out by racists, bigots and xenophobes.  The emergence of right-wing nationalism is something I am not proud of and something which must not be tolerated. I am scared for the future; I am scared of the prospect of Prime Minister Johnson, Gove or May furthering a right-wing agenda. I am scared of the inefficacy of the Labour Party and of the lock of support for the Liberal Democrats.

If being fundamentally opposed to and angry with the result makes me a sore loser or bitter, then fine. I’m an angry and bitter liberal whose values, ideals and beliefs were upheld within the European Union and whose values, ideals and beliefs have just been silenced yet again in the space of a year. I’m fine with being a sore loser. But today I have never felt less British, and more European.

Be Part of Something Great; Be Part of the EU

Tomorrow, millions of people across the United Kingdom will visit the ballot box, only a year after the General Election, to cast their vote as to whether the UK should remain a member of the EU, or leave. Politicians, commentators and experts have said that this is the biggest political decision for a generation, and they’re right. But for something that has been deemed to be so important, the campaigns for both remain and leave have been woeful. They have been negative, hateful and often dishonest. The remain camp have been guilty of using “project risk” at every step of their campaign and hoping people’s fear of change will win them the outcome they want. The leave camp have been guilty of using “project fear”; fear of a shortage of jobs, school places and longer GP waiting times because of immigration.

What I have yet to hear, especially from the remain side, is the overwhelmingly positive case for continued membership of the European Union. So here let me present what I feel to be, a positive argument for why you should vote REMAIN tomorrow. For this to work, I think we should pretend that this referendum is not about whether we should leave or stay, but whether we should join.

The European Union is the single largest trading block in the world and has a client market of over 500 million people; the free market allows countries within the EU to trade with each other and that 500 million client base without expensive tariffs being imposed on imports and exports. Think about it: if we sign up to that, businesses will save money through the absence of trade tariffs and will ultimately lead to higher profits! Not to mention that businesses will be more attractive to investors because of the UK’s membership of the EU and because of its membership of the common market.

With the free market also comes the free movement of people. This gives employers a much larger pool of people from which to choose when staffing their businesses, schools and hospitals. Many of these migrants would have to go through a lengthy process to be granted permission to live and work here, ultimately making it more difficult for people to hire the staff they need. Not only can people come to work, they can also come and study in our world renowned universities. We know that universities have struggled for funding recently, hence the coalition government’s controversial decision to increase tuition fees six years ago. With access to more students, universities will receive more payments from tuition fees and will ultimately keep smaller institutions from closing.

The free movement of people doesn’t just apply to EU citizens moving to the UK, but it also applies to British citizens. By signing up to the free market and the free movement of people, we will have the opportunity to live, work, travel and study in 27 other countries without the need for lengthy immigration processes and without the need for an expensive visa. Think about the opportunities this opens up for you, your friends and your families.

The EU is a successful collaboration of countries that at several points throughout history, have been in conflict with each other. The EU has been a successful peace project and through the cooperation of its members, has established common rights pertaining to workers and indeed humanity as a whole. Our government has established rights protecting workers and parental leave and introduced legislation in the 1960s to bridge the gap between men and women’s pay. Whilst it was not the European Union that introduced these rights, whilst ever we are a member they will be protected under European law, meaning that should a government wish to change/abolish established rights, they would be blocked from doing so. What a great thing! To have our human rights and our workers’ rights guaranteed absolutely and more than that, to share the same rights which ensure the same standard of living for 500 million people is a step in the right direction for a truly integrated, liberal world. If ever you were to work, live or study in another EU country, you would be protected by the same rights as you are granted here in the UK.

Fighting international crime is also made a lot easier by being a member of the European Union. Being a member gives us access to the European Arrest Warrant, meaning we would no longer have to follow lengthy extradition procedures when bringing criminals to justice who have fled to other EU countries. Being a member of the EU also makes sharing information a lot easier so international crime and terrorism can be fought more effectively. Yes we can do it without being a member, but surely taking the opportunity to make the process quicker and easier is something to be taken?

Like with most clubs there is a membership fee, but think about what we get in return! We have the opportunity to elect Members of the European Parliament every five years who represent the UK and its interests in Brussels, meaning we can be part of the discussion when new EU laws or regulations are being drafted. Also, our government has an input in the appointment of the European Commissioners: those who have the most legislative power in the EU.

Our country can survive without the EU, but think of all the benefits membership brings. It is better for the UK to be a member in order to take advantage of the free market, free movement of people, protected workers’ and human rights, international cooperation in fighting crime, terrorism and climate change, than to go it alone.

Tomorrow we have the chance to make a decision that will affect our country’s future forever. The things I’ve listed above? We already have access to every single one of those without the drawbacks of being part of the Euro single currency or Schengen. Is the EU perfect? No, of course it’s not. But I believe the benefits of membership far outweigh the benefits of withdrawing from the EU. Tomorrow, be proud of a Britain that can lead in Europe, that can affect change and reform in Europe. Be proud of being a member of a group of countries that share cultures and that allows people to move freely between states in order make a better life for themselves. Be proud to be British; be proud to be European.

Be part of something great; be part of the European Union.

The Christian Case for the European Union

This week saw quiet success for the Liberal Democrats. Across the country, people took to the ballot box to have their say in council elections, regional elections and mayoral elections. The Liberal Democrats were the only party to gain control of a council; the Liberal Democrats gained the most number of new councillors; the Liberal Democrats gained the highest increase in national vote share. This is proof that the values of liberalism and the Liberal Democrats did not die completely in the wake of our election defeat last year, in fact it shows that people are keen to see a return to the mainstream of liberal ideals. So now that the local elections are done with, everyone’s attention will turn to the upcoming EU Referendum. Tim Farron spoke at great length during the party’s Spring Conference back in March of unity, openness and equal opportunity for all; values which are better served inside the EU. If, like me, you’re bemused and baffled as to the economic and business-related arguments of why Britain is better off in, may I suggest that we consider a different approach to back the IN campaign? Let’s consider a Christian approach.

Christians are all too familiar with the concepts of loving one’s neighbour, being charitable and generally just being a good person. For most this probably comes naturally, but we all have those people in our lives who we’d rather not see on a daily basis and so do everything in our power to avoid those awkward exchanges through gritted teeth. From time to time though, such an exchange cannot be avoided and so you smile and say “good morning” as you cross paths, in order to ensure that any future situations that require cooperation, are not tarnished by ill-feeling and dirty looks from across the room.

Our relationship with the European Union is far from perfect; I was on the side of voting to LEAVE not that long ago. No the EU is not entirely democratic and yes we have to give away some of our law-making powers as part of our membership, but what the LEAVE campaign seem to be absolutely rubbish at, is seeing the bigger picture. Let’s return to our less-than-favourable work colleague example. No your working relationship with them isn’t perfect and there are plenty of things about them you really aren’t the biggest fan of, but you work together when it is needed in order to achieve great things in the interests of those you work for.

Our involvement and cooperation with the EU follows a similar principle. By working together with our neighbours, we can achieve great things that benefit not just our country or the countries of Europe, but the world as a whole as issues like climate change and international terrorism are fought more effectively, when countries work together in order to achieve great things in the interests of the people to whom our politicians and representatives are responsible. That, is the bigger picture.

But we’ve heard this sort of message from Tim Farron, Nick Clegg and other Lib Dem politicians when making the case for Britain to remain in the EU. Yes Christians are good people, but what else about the UK remaining within the EU makes it an issue Christians should care about?

It is my belief that Jesus was a unifier – sorry Donald, I feel you misunderstand what unification actually means – he came to break down barriers between people to lead to a society where everyone cooperated for the common good. Philippians 2:2 says “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose”. The important aspects here are to be united and intent on one purpose. Now of course, the EU wasn’t around when the passage was written so I’m not going to be so bold as to claim that the author was making the case for the IN campaign, but it can certainly be applied to the situation we find ourselves in today. Only by remaining within the EU can we be united in spirit, intent on one purpose, whether that purpose is tackling the environmental crisis or the refugee crisis.

Moreover, I fully believe Jesus was a liberal. I don’t think Jesus would want to see a world divided by differences of nationality, race, culture or religion. This isn’t to say he wouldn’t have deemed these things important to one’s identity, but as tools to divide us and hinder cooperation is something he, I and every other liberal must stand against. The European Union is the greatest example of where cultural identities whilst celebrated, are not used as weapons to divide the people of our great continent. It is the greatest example of “loving our neighbours”, even after all the conflict and war that has befouled our history. It is the greatest example of how 28 nations can come together to tackle the biggest issues facing our society today. The EU is the Good Samaritan; if Britain were to leave, I fear we would be seen as one of the passers-by.

This referendum is our opportunity to lead by example, to show the world and the rest of Europe that we are prepared to stand up for openness, fairness and equality, and that we are committed to cooperate, united in spirit and intent on one purpose to make not only Europe, but the rest of the world a safe and free place to live. These are values I hold dear; these are values Liberal Democrats hold dear; these are values I’m certain Jesus held dear. These are values that Christians must hold dear. Let faith be a call to action.

Liberal theology. Liberal politics.