UK

Ed Davey vows to fight for UK to rejoin EU single market and eventually overturn Brexit

Sir Ed Davey has promised to push for Britain to rejoin the European single market and eventually the EU.

The Liberal Democrat leader said fixing the UK’s broken relationship with Europe will drive down prices in shops and widen opportunities for young people to work throughout the bloc.

Launching his general election manifesto, Sir Ed said Britain “needs to be back at the heart of Europe” and stressed the Lib Dems “are a pro-European party”.

But he accused the Conservatives of having “poisoned Britain’s relationship with our nearest neighbours” and “undermined trust in the UK”.

“We are being really clear that it is not going to be easy,” the seasoned Lib Dem said.

Follow our live coverage of the general election campaign here

And, just five years after Jo Swinson led the party’s disastrous 2019 general election campaign on a platform of stopping Brexit, Sir Ed has taken a markedly more moderate stance on Europe.

But, in an election in which former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine has slammed the major parties’ refusal to debate the consequences of Brexit, Sir Ed is hoping to win the support of millions of voters who want closer ties with Europe.

The party’s manifesto states: “Once ties of trust and friendship have been renewed, and the damage the Conservatives have caused to trade between the UK and EU has begun to be repaired, we would aim to place the UK-EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the single market.

It described this and other steps as key “on the road to EU membership, which remains our long-term objective”.

Asked about the pledge on Monday, Sir Ed said: “You have to have a step-by-step approach to rebuild that relationship, but I believe quite quickly you get a much better trade deal than the dreadful deal that Boris Johnson got.

“That would help our economy, small business exporters, our farmers and fishermen… it would reduce prices in the shop.

“Getting a really good trade deal would be the absolute priority then letting our young people be more mobile across Europe.”

Also in the party’s manifesto was an eye-catching pledge to set up US-style legal cannabis shops in a bid to combat the harms caused by dangerous “skunk” currently sold by gangs to young people.

The Lib Dems said they would introduce a legal, regulated weed market with licensed retailers selling the drug to over-18s.

The wide-ranging document also contained measures on the economy, environment, health and social care, political reform and housing.

Unveiling the document, Sir Ed said the policy offering amounted to a fair deal for people across the UK.

“At this election, every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to make it happen,” he added.

On the economy, the Lib Dems are targeting former Tory voters in the so-called blue wall of safe Tory seats. The party is promising “careful economic management” to bring mortgage rates under control after the turmoil of Liz Truss’s mini-budget.

Xural.com

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