Stephen Lloyd on tomorrow’s Brexit vote, death threats, and a possible election
Stephen Lloyd has discussed his thoughts on the decisive Brexit vote tomorrow (Saturday).
The Herald interviewed the Eastbourne and Willingdon MP after he made clear he would vote for Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement in Parliament – despite being a Remainer at heart.
In a statement released today, Mr Lloyd said he would keep his promise to his constituency, which voted to leave.
Speaking to this newspaper, he said, “The country is exhausted and people are exhausted, ordinary folk are really tired of it.
“I wish I could wave a magic wand and end it all tomorrow. But it’s not going to end, even if the bill goes through it’s not over.
“You have the transition, which could take 18 months then years of trading discussions with the EU and rest of the world.
“They are 45 per cent of our trade, so any government would need to go into negotiations with the EU. It’s going to go on for ages.”
He continued, “I wish we’d never had the referendum. I think it was a decision David Cameron did to neutralise his hard right wing – it shows you can never do that.
“Now I think it is the most right wing Conservative party I have seen in my lifetime. I know [more centrist] Conservatives in Westminster are in despair.”
He added, “I don’t blame the public at all for feeling passionate about it or believing certain things. What I do blame is politicians on both side who have told consistent whoppers.
“I find that depressing but it seems to be the new politics – more about emotion than facts and figures.
“My plan is to get Eastbourne through this turmoil and continue with its fantastic sense of community that it has.
“I genuinely feel I have done my best for a town I care deeply for and I can’t ask for a greater privilege than that.”
Mr Lloyd revealed he has received death threats since being reelected in 2017 and has been sent thousands of hate messages online.
He said, “I have been abused by both sides – hard Brexiteers because I won’t support no-deal and Remainers.
“Absolutely vile emails are pretty rare, despite me getting hundreds a day. It’s social media. Twitter is worse.
“I will get attacked by thousands of people on either side after the vote tomorrow. Some from Eastbourne but most from elsewhere.”
But, he said, “It shows the passion of the issue. It’s breaking normal politics. I don’t think it’s about left and right anymore, it’s about Brexit or Remain.”
If the bill passes, Mr Lloyd said he thinks there will be an attempt to get a confirmatory vote.
But he will not back calls for a second referendum, despite believing Remain would win.
He said, “My own promise is more important than party politics or personal views. This deal is better than No Deal but not better than being in the EU.”
And if the deal doesn’t go through? “We are in tricky territory,” Lloyd says.
The vote is expected to be very close tomorrow.
Mr Lloyd, who resigned the Liberal Democrat whip last year, was also asked whether he would stand for the party in a likely upcoming election.
However, the MP said he would not make any announcement on the issue until an election is called.