Jo Swinson's Lib Dem manifesto: The party's policies on Brexit, immigration and climate change

Jacob Jarvis
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The Liberal Democrats' manifesto firms up the party's headline pledge of the election campaign - that Brexit would not happen under a Jo Swinson government.

In stark contrast to the Tory's hardline "get Brexit done" approach, the Lib Dems promise to cancel Article 50 on day one if they come into power.

This - the party states - would generate a "remain bonus" of £50 billion it would invest elsewhere.

Ahead of the official launch, Ms Swinson, said: “This manifesto is a bold plan to build a brighter future for our country, and that starts with stopping Brexit."

The Standard takes a detailed look at some of the key points from the party's manifesto.

No Brexit ​

For the ​two other main parties, Brexit is very much still on the table. But for the Lib Dems, it's off.

For the Tories, it would be Boris Johnson's "oven-ready" deal - pushed through Parliament with every one of his Tory candidates said to be on board. This would be quickly agreed if Parliament were truly on board, given the EU27 has backed it. but might lead to prolonged trade talks - with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn suggesting it could take at leas seven years to muster an agreement on that issue.

Labour's stance is slightly softer - they'd push for a new deal, then put this up against remain in a second referendum. The deal would include some sort of permanent trade deal with the EU, similar to the custom's union. But the way the referendum would go is anyone's guess, then their version of Brexit may vary greatly from the Tories'.

Stop Brexit advocate Steve Bray is running for the Lib Dems (REUTERS)

But for the Lib Dems, there is no ambiguity.

Ms Swinson said: "Labour and the Conservatives can’t offer the country a brighter future because they both want Brexit. We know that will be bad for our economy, bad for our NHS and bad for our environment."

Johnson said Labour's Brexit plan would mean more 'dither and delay' (ITV)

Her party's manifesto adds: "Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit and stay in the European Union."

Outlining its issues with Brexit, it adds: "The national humiliation of Brexit puts so much at risk – the NHS, public services, jobs across the country, scientific collaboration, peace in Northern Ireland, the unity of the UK, our ability to tackle global crises such as climate change and our global reputation as a country that is confident and outward-facing."

Climate action ​

The party has said its desire is for the UK to be "leading the world in tackling the climate emergency".

It blasts the Tories as "unfit" to lead the response to the issue. While it hammers Labour's policies as a "distraction from meaningful action on the environment. It states that Mr Corbyn's party's plans for nationalisation would be "ruinously costly" and said "ambitious environment and consumer aims can be achieved through tougher regulation".

Jo Swinson at a Lib Dem election campaign event in Golders Green (Getty Images)

Detailing its plans, the party said it would insulate all Britain's homes by 2030, invest for 80 per cent of UK electricity to come from renewables by 2030, plant 60 million trees, and invest in public transport, to electrify Britain's railways and make it so "all new cars are electric by 2030".

It will also put legal plans in place to ensure people hit net zero emissions by 2045.

"The climate emergency can only be tackled effectively by ensuring that every relevant decision taken by national government, local councils, businesses, investors, communities and households makes progress towards the net zero objective," the manifesto states.

"We will set a new legally binding target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 at the latest, and implement a comprehensive climate action plan, cutting emissions across all sectors."


Education has been a pressing talking point in the election so far, with the Tories vow to "level up" funding to schools.

The Lib Dems have said much the same - insisting their goal is for a "world class" system.

An "emergency cash injection" will be made to help schools, "so that pupils have the resources they need to learn, and let teachers get on with the job of​ raising standards".

The party plans to pump £10 billion a year into education and recruit 20,000 more teachers.

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson has pledged to spend an extra £10 billion a year on schools if her party wins the election (AFP via Getty Images)

It would provide free childcare for working parents from nine months as well and end "teaching to the test" by scrapping mandatory SATs examinations.

Further education will also be a focus, with adults set to be given £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives, split up into a chunk at £4,000 then two further of £3,000.

Mental health support in schools, colleges and universities would also be a focus.


A "public health approach to serious violence" would be part of the Lib Dems' bid to tackle crime.

"For 25 years, both the Conservatives and Labour have been looking to the failed approaches of the past and competing to seem tough on crime, without being willing to take the preventative measures that actually work," the manifesto states.

"We will build safe communities in which people do not need to fear crime. Our plan for the police will see investment in community policing and a public health approach to serious violence. Instead of wasting money locking people up on short sentences that don’t work, we will spend it on the things that really do prevent crime."

The plans would see £1 billion spent to "restore community policing". This, it states, would be enough for two new police officers in every ward.

On its health approach, it adds: "Adopt a public health approach to the epidemic of youth violence: identifying risk factors and treating them, rather than just focusing on the symptoms.

"This means police, teachers, health professionals, youth workers and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling prey to gangs and violence."

The party also states that stopping Brexit will assist in beating crime, by maintaining access to "European crime-fighting tools".


"Britain's immigration is system is in desperate need of reform," according to the Lib Dems.

The "hostile environment" is something they would look to tackle immediately - while scrapping Brexit would "save freedom of movement".

The party outlines what it calls "a plan to ensure that migrants coming to the UK are welcomed for the skills and contribution that they bring, while ensuring that everyone has confidence that the immigration system is functioning as it should".

While freedom of movement would continue, there are plans to toughen up on certain areas of immigration, with plans to invest in provisions to stop "illegal entry".

Lib Dems say they would "invest in officers, training and technology to prevent illegal entry at Britain’s borders, assist seekers of sanctuary and combat human trafficking and the smuggling of people, weapons, drugs and wildlife".

Meanwhile, it would plan to eradicate immigration detention for the most part - making it an "absolute last resort". There would also be "a 28-day time limit on detention" and moves to "close seven of the UK’s nine detention centres".

As well as immigration, the party also outlines plans for asylum seekers, pledging to restore "dignity" for those seeking it.

"We must do all we can to protect people forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution," the manifesto states.

"The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but Labour and Conservative governments have introduced a harsh system that fails to respect people’s dignity. Thousands of asylum seekers are forced to wait many months for a decision, unable to work, rent a home or support their families."

What date is the general election?

The general election this year will be on Thursday December 12, with voting taking place between 7am and 10pm.

Can I still register to vote?

You can still register to vote. The deadline is midnight on November 26, whilst those applying to vote by post must do so before 5pm on that day.

For those in Northern Ireland the deadline is November 21.

Once you've registered to vote, you can apply to vote by proxy.

When was the last time the Liberal Democrats won an election?

The Lib Dems have never won an election. However, in 2010 they formed a coalition government with David Cameron's Conservative Party.

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