Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Birtwistle warns his boss

This Is Lancashire: Gordon Birtwistle Gordon Birtwistle

BURNLEY Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle last night warned his party boss Nick Clegg to perform a U-turn on Europe, or put his leadership future in doubt.

After the Lib Dems’ disast-rous performance in the Eur-opean election, Mr Birtwistle said Mr Clegg must listen to the people and support a ref-erendum in 2017 on the issue of Brussels laws affecting the UK.

The Burnley MP demanded his leader sack his advisers and back Prime Minister David Cameron on a ren-egotiation of Britain’s memb-ership of the European Union followed by a UK-wide vote on the new terms.

Mr Birtwistle added: “If he fails to do this, his leadership will become an issue.”

His warning came as Mr Clegg rejected a call to stand down after the party’s worst European election result for 25 years.

Southport MP John Pugh said Business Secretary Vince Cable should replace him after the party lost all but one of its 12 MEPs in the face of a UK Independence Party surge to victory nationally.

The Lib Dems slipped to fifth in the European polls, beh- ind the Green Party, as they lost seats in every region, apart from the south east of England.

Mr Birtwistle said: “I am not calling for Mr Clegg to go now. I am calling on him to sack the advisers who told him not to back the Prime Min-ister’s policy of a renegot-iation of the UK’s terms of membership of the EU foll-owed by a referendum in 2017.

“That is what the people of Burnley and Britain want. Mr Clegg needs to change his policy on this. If he does not do this, he needs to explain why.

“His leadership is not something to discuss now, but if he fails to do this, it will become an issue in the future.

“In the council elections in my ward in Burnley I won 37per cent of the vote. In the European election, the Lib-eral Democrat vote dropped to 12.5per cent.

“That is the message people in the Westminster bubble need to listen to.

“I spend more time in Bur-nley than I do in Westm- inster.

“I listen to real people with real views. It’s time for Mr Clegg to do the same.”

Comments (7)

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4:10pm Tue 27 May 14

Interocitor says...

The reason why the Lib Dems lost council seats all over the UK is because many voters now see no
substantial ideological difference between the Tory Party and the Lib Dems.

Cosying up to Cameron on Tory EU policy would only have reinforced this point of view! I sometimes wonder what party Mr Birtwistle is in.
The reason why the Lib Dems lost council seats all over the UK is because many voters now see no substantial ideological difference between the Tory Party and the Lib Dems. Cosying up to Cameron on Tory EU policy would only have reinforced this point of view! I sometimes wonder what party Mr Birtwistle is in. Interocitor
  • Score: 5

5:00pm Tue 27 May 14

Mikeee47 says...

Birtwistle get back in your Box it's not dark yet!!
Birtwistle get back in your Box it's not dark yet!! Mikeee47
  • Score: 3

5:22pm Tue 27 May 14

andy1 says...

Jumping into bed with the Tories rising Student fees and VAT rises you pledged personally not to support Berty and you voted yes come to mind. Calling for people to be sacked when you know the people are going to sack you next year for lying and being useless worse than Kitty Ussher in fact.
Jumping into bed with the Tories rising Student fees and VAT rises you pledged personally not to support Berty and you voted yes come to mind. Calling for people to be sacked when you know the people are going to sack you next year for lying and being useless worse than Kitty Ussher in fact. andy1
  • Score: 3

6:49pm Tue 27 May 14

Kevin, Colne says...

To be honest I think that the current level of support for the Liberal-Democrats in the national polls at 9% is quite marvellous and a truly remarkable achievement considering what they’ve done. The Party should be celebrating that it is doing so well.

It seems to me that the Party is now split into two camps. The denialists, and the realists. No dispassionate observer could look at the situation and other than conclude that entering into coalition government with the Conservative Party has been a disaster of monumental proportions.

The problems run very deep indeed. The Party has a leader who has lost credibility, a leadership that appears to be in the grip of both denial and group-think on an epic scale, and a parliamentary party that has contributed in no small measure to the successive catastrophic electoral defeats that the Party is now suffering, and which show no likelihood of ending any day soon.

The Liberal-Democrats experienced a double-rupture. The first rupture occurred over the expenses scandal when there was a break between all the mainstream political parties and electors. The second rupture was as a result of raising university tuition fees, at a time when the value of a university degree is declining. The second one was a wholly self-inflicted wound from which the Party has never recovered.

From an electoral point of view a party that has a double-rupture is to all intents and purposes virtually incapacitated.
To be honest I think that the current level of support for the Liberal-Democrats in the national polls at 9% is quite marvellous and a truly remarkable achievement considering what they’ve done. The Party should be celebrating that it is doing so well. It seems to me that the Party is now split into two camps. The denialists, and the realists. No dispassionate observer could look at the situation and other than conclude that entering into coalition government with the Conservative Party has been a disaster of monumental proportions. The problems run very deep indeed. The Party has a leader who has lost credibility, a leadership that appears to be in the grip of both denial and group-think on an epic scale, and a parliamentary party that has contributed in no small measure to the successive catastrophic electoral defeats that the Party is now suffering, and which show no likelihood of ending any day soon. The Liberal-Democrats experienced a double-rupture. The first rupture occurred over the expenses scandal when there was a break between all the mainstream political parties and electors. The second rupture was as a result of raising university tuition fees, at a time when the value of a university degree is declining. The second one was a wholly self-inflicted wound from which the Party has never recovered. From an electoral point of view a party that has a double-rupture is to all intents and purposes virtually incapacitated. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 2

8:51pm Tue 27 May 14

Appleton Whiske says...

Yes of course Nick Clegg should go..but does anyone really think he will ? No way Jose ! He is going to hang grimly onto his toadying job until he really gets a pasting in the General Election ( some say he may even lose his cushy seat ) But we will not see him down the Jobcentre. He is probably already calling upon his Eurobuddies to see what loadsamoney job he can get in Euroland, and I for one will be happy to see the slimeball go.
That chap lost all credibility when after years and years of saying ' oh, we must have PR, we must have PR '. Well he had the chance--the second only referendum, and well, does anyone remember it ? Exactly !!
We should never have gone into the EEC in the first place, and no one has ever had the chance to object via the Ballot Box regarding the EU and the Federalism they want. Who wants a European Air Force, for example?
Final point is, does anyone think it odd that Cameron is promising a re-negotiation of EU membership after the next election. Why does he not do it now, and why is he even promising re-negotiation, when he has no intention even now of pulling out ?
Yes of course Nick Clegg should go..but does anyone really think he will ? No way Jose ! He is going to hang grimly onto his toadying job until he really gets a pasting in the General Election ( some say he may even lose his cushy seat ) But we will not see him down the Jobcentre. He is probably already calling upon his Eurobuddies to see what loadsamoney job he can get in Euroland, and I for one will be happy to see the slimeball go. That chap lost all credibility when after years and years of saying ' oh, we must have PR, we must have PR '. Well he had the chance--the second only referendum, and well, does anyone remember it ? Exactly !! We should never have gone into the EEC in the first place, and no one has ever had the chance to object via the Ballot Box regarding the EU and the Federalism they want. Who wants a European Air Force, for example? Final point is, does anyone think it odd that Cameron is promising a re-negotiation of EU membership after the next election. Why does he not do it now, and why is he even promising re-negotiation, when he has no intention even now of pulling out ? Appleton Whiske
  • Score: 3

11:00pm Wed 28 May 14

Pendlesider says...

QUOTE: Mr Birtwistle said Mr Clegg must listen to the people and support a referendum in 2017 on the issue of Brussels laws affecting the UK".
.
don't worry Berty, Mr Clegg will have as much influence as you if/when it comes to a referendum on withdrawal from the EU in 2017.
QUOTE: Mr Birtwistle said Mr Clegg must listen to the people and support a referendum in 2017 on the issue of Brussels laws affecting the UK". . don't worry Berty, Mr Clegg will have as much influence as you if/when it comes to a referendum on withdrawal from the EU in 2017. Pendlesider
  • Score: 1

2:38pm Thu 29 May 14

slants says...

In the council elections in my ward in Burnley I won 37per cent of the vote and only 31% voted so not many really Birty.
In the council elections in my ward in Burnley I won 37per cent of the vote and only 31% voted so not many really Birty. slants
  • Score: -1

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