A war of words has broken out between Eastbourne’s newly elected Lib Dem MP and Conservatives over a pre-election pledge on Brexit.
Conservatives say Stephen Lloyd has already broken his word to support the Brexit process on behalf of local residents after he voted in support of an amendment demanding the UK stays in the EU single market and customs union – a move the Tories claim would mean the UK would not be able to strike its own trade deals or have its own immigration policy “despite Eastbourne voting last year to do just that”.
Party leader Tony Freebody said, “Just a few days in and it’s quite clear Mr Lloyd is not going to keep his promise to Eastbourne voters on Brexit. He wants to do all he can to frustrate Brexit by any means available to him and his words are already ringing hollow.
“It’s really not on having an MP who says one thing to get elected and then does quite the opposite almost immediately. He keeps saying he will vote for Brexit, but he wants to do all he can to try and stop it.
“It’s time to do what he said he would do and that means supporting all Brexit legislation and doing nothing to thwart Eastbourne’s referendum result.”
Mr Lloyd defended his position.
“I’ve said a thousand times I will not back calls for a second referendum and I will vote to support the final Brexit deal when it arrives back in Parliament after two years of negotiations,” said the MP.
“I have also repeated I would lobby the government in the intervening period to get the best deal possible and that would include free trade between us and our largest trading partners.
“I find it bizarre Mr Freebody and local Tories appear to actually prefer tariffs on our goods. That doesn’t make good business sense. Going into these negotiations with everything on the table is sensible; whether the government deals the hand well we will have to wait and see.”