Brexit negotiations will be rushed by Tories, warns defeated Lib Dem

By Alasdair McDowell
December 13 2019, 09.00

The Liberal Democrat candidate who lost in Croydon Central raised concerns about the future of the Brexit negotiations following the result.

Simon Sprague secured 11.5% of the vote in Croydon Central having gained 4.5% more from the 2017 General Election.

However, despite this improvement, he expressed his disappointment on the overall outcome of the evening and suggested the country would suffer because the Conservative government will be unable to negotiate a good enough deal. 

Mr Sprague said: “I think Brexit will get rushed through.

“I worry that we will end up at the end of 2020 with a no-deal scenario because I find it hard to believe that even with a substantial majority that he will get a trade deal that he will get through.

“The Conservative Party has been enriched with hard-right brexiteers and I think many of them will be looking to sabotage those talks and get to the no deal outcome at the end of 2020.

“Our preference would always be for remain, but we have to look at the political reality, see where we end up, and decide what’s the right path forward.”

Although the Liberal Democrats’ national performance would have been a disappointment for him, Mr Sprague insisted there was still some cause for celebration having kept the Conservative candidate Mario Creatura from winning in his constituency.

“I’m thrilled we have more than trebled the vote from last time but also really pleased that we managed to keep out a Tory brexiteer,” said Sprague

“We wanted to do really well for the Lib Dems but obviously we also didn’t want to split the remain vote to the extent that we let in a Tory brexiteer.”

In a devastating blow for the party, leader Jo Swinson not only lost her seat in East Dumbartonshire to the SNP but also resigned shortly after with immediate effect. 

Mr Sprague commented on the legacy she leaves as Lib Dem leader saying: “She has certainly changed the tone of the party and brought a fresh new energy. 

“Obviously, it has been a difficult night for us, but I think she leaves a renewed optimism after a very difficult result in 2015.”

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