Spring Conference Rally!

Jo started out with a heartfelt tribute to those killed in the Christchurch mosque shooting this morning.

“The forces that sow hate and division and seek to turn fellow citizens against each other must not and cannot win”

She continued to pay tribute to outgoing leader Vince Cable – “a powerful champion for liberalism”

She carried onto Brexit “the word omnishambles doesn’t do it justice” “At every stage the Conservatives have put the interests of their party than the country” “Brexit’s distracting us from the other issues that we need to tackle – all of which will be made worse by Brexit”

She spoke about our fight for a people’s vote: “Together, we’ve been fighting since 2016 and still are”

She paid tribute to our councillors delivering local wins up and down the UK – “millions for geothermal energy in Cornwall” “LD councillors working hard every day delivering liberal policies for liberal Britain”

She rallied the troops for a last push before the local elections in May: “Let’s get out there and knock on doors. Let’s deliver letters and Focus leaflets, let’s reach out on social media. Together, we can demand better for our environment. We can demand better for our children. Together, we can build a better Britain”

Jo handed over to 2 council candidates Ali and Christina – both originally European citizens. Their message to us was simple but powerful: “Don’t be stopped by your gender. Don’t be stopped by your accent. Don’t be stopped by your age.”

Ed took to the stage briefly – and invited Siobhan up to join him.

“I’m hugely upset and angry by the way the two parties are being dragged to the extremes” “Now is absolutely the moment that everyone with liberal values needs to come together”

“We need different kinds of people coming forward. There’s been a lot of testosterone in City Hall”

“We need to wrap every young person in London with love and hope”

Siobhan welcomed Jane Dodds onto the stage:

“90% of Welsh lamb exports go to the EU. Which is odd, because Mid Wales Conservative MPs voted for a no deal Brexit.”

“Welsh farmers want the opportunity to vote again to stay in Europe. They are very clear that the facts were not available to them and what they have seen is a real fear that farming in Wales will be denigrated”

“Don’t stop fighting to stay in the EU. Don’t stop fighting for a people’s vote.”

Next up was Mohsin Khan, NHS psychiatrist:

“Many EU citizens have families, leaving them uncertain for their futures. Do they leave now? Do they wait?”

“it’s heartbreaking hearing young teenagers talk about the abuse hurled at them. Frightened to go out, to go on buses or trains”

Jenny Marr was next onto the stage:

“Type 1 diabetes plays a big part of my life. I went to the pharmacy last week to pick up 4 items. They had 1.”

“Nobody should be losing sleep because they’re losing access to the one thing keeping them alive”

“Only the Liberal Democrats have the answer to this – a people’s vote”

And next up was none other than Lib Dem Anti-Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake:

“Fewer than 20% of people supported a final say referendum in 2016. Then there was Jeremy Corbyn, demanding that Article 50 was triggered immediately”

“We knew the only way to solve Brexit was to go back to the people at the end. What started with democracy must end with democracy”

“So back to the present day and look how far we’ve come. We’ve defeated Theresa May’s Brexit plan by the biggest margin in Parliamentary history – twice! We’ve ruled out crashing out the EU in 2 weeks. A majority of people now support a people’s vote. We’ve reached over 5 million people online. Over 250,000 people have signed our petition calling for a people’s vote”

“In whipping his MPs to abstain yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn has let down Remainers, Labour members and voters”

“There is still time for a people’s vote. But we must keep up this fight”

And with that, he handed over to Ed Davey, “the gin to my tonic”

“I want to pay tribute to Vince. I met him on a Lib Dem policy working group in 1990. I was impressed that he, chief economist for Shell at the time, called for higher taxes on oil and gas”

“If we can beat Brexit, if we can get a people’s vote, it’ll be our party’s biggest victory ever”

“We must have answers to these divisions, to get back in the game again”

“We must speak with more passion. More emotion.”

“We must stand for radical change. Thanks to us, Britain is now the global leader in offshore wind”

“For our young people, let’s make the environment top priority again. Like Vince, let’s take on the banks who still invest in fossil fuels. Let’s decarbonise capitalism”

And then came the main event – party leader Vince Cable.

“York is where I had my formative political education. I was a candidate for the Alliance in the 80s”

“A friend of mine got a feel of what Jacob Rees-Mogg is about when she went to his house. There was a board with instructions for the servants on. In red letters was ‘when filling the steam iron and feeding the potted plants, always remember to use Perrier mineral water”

“I’ll list the 3 most incompetent members of the govt. Third is Karen Bradley, who thought the Battle of the Boyne was in World War 1. She’s pipped to second by Chris Grayling, inventor of the invisible ferry service. But top is Gavin Williamson, who wants to send in the SAS to combat knife crime”

“When I introduced the phrase “Exit from Brexit” 2 years ago, I think we can all admit it felt like a long shot. But it isn’t anymore. It’s the main argument Theresa May is using to scare her MPs into line.”

“We had a setback this week. Jeremy Corbyn went AWOL, but it’ll come back.” “We heard the killer argument yesterday – Donald Trump thinks it’s unfair”

“If we want this to be more than an email list, we need to give them a stake in the party’s future”