Nick Clegg Returns To Frontline Politics As Lib Dem Brexit Spokesman

Dan Kitwood/PA Archive

Nick Clegg will return to frontline politics today after being appointed the Lib Dem’s Brexit spokesperson.

The former deputy prime minister did not take a role in Tim Farron’s top team after stepping down as Lib Dem leader last year.

His new role as European Union spokesperson will see him go up against Conservative Brexit secretary David Davis, international trade secretary Liam Fox and foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Clegg said: “Theresa May says Brexit means Brexit but no one actually knows what that means. Will we be in the single market or cut off from it, with all the implications that has for British jobs and our economy? What does it mean for immigration? What about the Brits who live abroad and the Europeans who have made our country their home? How will we co-operate with our neighbours to tackle terrorism, cross-border crime and climate change?

“With no meaningful opposition from the Labour Party, no exit plan from the Government, Whitehall unprepared for the Brexit negotiations, and above all, Theresa May’s refusal to seek a mandate from the people for what is in effect a new government, there is a real risk that she and her Brexit ministers won’t be subject to the scrutiny and accountability which voters deserve.

“Whatever your views on Brexit, it is in everyone’s interest to make sure what happens next is debated openly and scrutinised properly. So I want to make clear that we will work openly and collaboratively with people of all parties and none who believe that Britain must remain an open economy and a tolerant, outward-looking nation.”

Farron said: “There is no-one better placed in British politics to hold the Government to account over Brexit than Nick. When it comes to facing down Theresa May.

“Now that Theresa May’s Brexit government is a reality, I’ve asked Nick to take on a formal role in holding them to account. Over the next months I expect him to be the leading voice in this debate, taking them to task and flushing out what Brexit will really mean for Britain.”