Lib Dem leader attacks ‘reckless’ Boris…but admits he thinks PM WILL secure Brexit deal

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Boris Johnson has been facing calls to drop measures in the UK Internal Market Bill which hands ministers the power to override provisions in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland. Mr Johnson headed off a looming Commons revolt on Tuesday and secured a deal with Tory rebels in which he agreed there would have to be a vote by MPs before ministers could activate some of the powers.

The new Lib Dem leader, Sir Ed Davey, visited Scotland today after becoming the party’s third leader in 14 months in August, succeeding Jo Swinson who lost her seat in the 2019 general election.

Sir Ed said he fiercely opposed the prospect of no deal and the new leader added he expects Boris Johnson to reach an agreement with the EU.

But the party has resigned themselves to Brexit happening, he stressed.

When asked by what he thought about the prospect of a future Brexit deal, he said: “We are deeply worried about the way the Government is conducting these negotiations.

“It’s not a way of being constructive with our European friends, neighbours and partners.

“There is a real danger that we are heading to no deal.

“I actually think he will get a deal, in the end, there’s a bit of gameplay here in my honest view.

“But there is still a risk and it’s been heightened by the way he’s been so deeply irresponsible and reckless with this appalling idea that we should break international law which I think is just shocking.”

He continued: “Johnson and (Dominic) Cummings are the arch distractors.

“They play their little games, distracting people with the prorogation of Parliament, battling with the Supreme Court and it’s all distraction.”

He suggested the Prime Minister is going to “work everyone up into a frenzy” so the public is “relieved” when a deal is announced.

Asked whether he will listen if Scots tell him they want independence, Sir Ed said he thinks people will find the constitutional arguments a “distraction” – if they are even talking about them at all.

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On the party’s opposition to another independence referendum, he said: “The Liberal Democrats’ policy on independence is set by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and always will be under my leadership.

“I know that they believe that Scotland is better in the family of nations.”

He compared the issue to the “self-indulgent” UK Government pushing to get a Brexit deal before January and not seeking an extension “when we’ve got one hell of a fight on our hands” because of coronavirus.

“We have a global pandemic,” he said.

“Why would anyone think about anything else? Why? I just don’t understand.”

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