Sheila Kingston-Jones (candidate for Aberavon) and Frank Little (Neath) welcome the decision to call a general election on 12th December.
Winter, leading up to Christmas, is hardly an ideal time to go to the polls. However, it ends the uncertainty that has been hanging over us for months. Johnson’s government is in turmoil and Corbyn has been unable to put together any effective opposition.
Welsh Liberal Democrats, following the September federal conference and our AGM in Brecon last week, are ready with a full slate of policies to reduce poverty and homelessness, counter LGBTQ+ discrimination, reform business taxation, redress the gender balance, increase house-building, provide for young carers and invest more in health and social care among many other issues.
But of course the issue dominating this election, as one issue has seldom dominated a general election before, is that of our EU membership. Frank Little writes:
"Liberal Democrats have consistently maintained that the United Kingdom is better off inside the European Union than outside. It has become clear that, as the evidence has mounted over the years since the 2016 referendum of the difficulties we would face in the event of even a 'soft' Brexit, more and more of our fellow-citizens have come to the same conclusion.
"We felt it only fair that the electorate be given the choice of accepting any withdrawal agreement which the Conservative government could come to with our fellow-members of the EU, or rejecting it with the option to remain in the EU. That was our manifesto pledge in the general election of 2017, but we failed to convince this parliament that a confirmatory referendum must be held, thanks largely to the intransigence of the official opposition. Worse, this parliament failed to come to any sort of realistic decision in this area.
"Inevitably, therefore, we stand on a manifesto in the coming election which seeks a mandate to withdraw the request to the president of the EU (the A50 letter) to leave the Union."