Break down trade barriers with Europe, says Davey

In a keynote speech at the party’s spring conference in York on Sunday, Sir Ed will say Boris Johnson’s ‘botched’ Brexit deal was a disaster for Britain’s economy.

He will argue that the country needs a far more ambitious agenda than what he says is Rishi Sunak’s goal of “pure economic survival.”

His attack comes as MPs prepare to vote on a key point of Mr Sunak’s revised deal with Brussels on post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland this week.

I don’t need to tell you what a disaster the Conservatives’ botched deal with Europe was for our country

Ministers hope the Windsor framework will pave the way for better relations with the EU after the turbulence of recent years.

However, Sir Ed will say a more radical approach is needed if the UK is to have a “strong and sustainable” economy.

“If you want to boost our economy, you have to repair our broken relations with Europe,” he will say, according to the preliminary excerpts of his speech.

“I don’t need to tell you what a disaster the Conservatives’ botched deal with Europe was for our country.

“That’s why we fought against it. When Boris Johnson brought his terrible deal into Parliament when even Labor backed it, the Liberal Democrats were alone in voting against it.

“And that’s why the Liberal Democrats are now the only ones who have any real plan to fix Britain’s trade – to tear down the Conservatives’ trade barriers, tear up their bureaucracy and rebuild relations of trust and friendship with our European neighbours.”

Sir Ed will also underscore his party’s reputation as “proud internationalists” and condemn the government’s “anti-refugee law”.

He will also attack Mr Sunak’s decision, when he was chancellor, to abandon the obligation – first introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition – to allocate 0.7% of national income to international aid.

“Our 0.7 percent commitment has survived three conservative chancellors. But then came Rishi Sunak and tore up that proud commitment for the UK to lead the world in helping the poorest. How cruel, counterproductive and unpatriotic,” he will say.

“So Liberal Democrats, we will put the UK back where it belongs. Leading the fight against poverty, hunger and disease – everywhere in the world.” Break down trade barriers with Europe, says Davey

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