The Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate standing for the Dumfries and Galloway seat in the General Election is Joan Mitchell, who lives on the family farm at Carsluith, and was for many years a councillor for the Newton Stewart area on Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Mrs Michell said: “This General Election is hugely important and Brexit is the big issue. The United Kingdom is at a crossroads and no one knows the destination, the length of the journey or even whether the United Kingdom will survive the journey. In these uncertain times we are being asked to gamble with our prosperity, our place in the world and our children’s future.
“The election was called by Teresa May to reduce opposition in the House of Commons to her stated aim to leave the European single market, the home market of 500 million people where there are few tariff or other barriers to trade. There is no possibility that the EU will agree a trade deal as favourable as the present arrangement – that is an absolute non-starter. The Conservatives are gambling that they will be able to compensate for any loss in our European market with favourable trade deals with countries across the globe, often with very different cultures, or, like the US, increasingly protectionist. This could be very bad news for Dumfries and Galloway which has none of the industries, such as financial services or car manufacturing, which are likely to be the government’s priority in trade negotiations.
“The SNP see Brexit as an opportunity to reopen the issue of Scottish independence which looks an even bigger gamble in economic terms than it was three years ago when it was decisively rejected. The last thing we need in these chaotic times is another referendum on Scottish independence.
“Labour is almost silent about Brexit or the risks it poses but asks us to gamble that the most socialist manifesto for decades will deliver long-term prosperity.
“The Liberal Democrats have a clear and unique position. We want Scotland to be part of an open, tolerant and compassionate Britain with close ties with our European neighbours who have been our partners for the last forty years. We value internationalism and reject the nationalist sentiments from whatever source which would acrimoniously pull us apart. We want to see increases in public spending in key areas but recognise that this requires a thriving economy, the biggest threat to which is a Hard Tory Brexit.
We want to see a House of Commons which does its job of asking all the awkward questions as the Brexit negotiations proceed. At the moment we have no idea where we are heading because all we are hearing are empty slogans and soundbites. A House of Commons full of compliant Tory backbenchers will not serve the country well.
“Teresa May must not be given a blank cheque to negotiate an extreme Tory Brexit and silence dissenting voices and Nicola Sturgeon must not be given a green light for a second independence referendum.
There is absolutely no sense in heading recklessly for a destination with no thought of turning back. We owe it to our young people to tackle this in a considered way - it’s their future which we are deciding. Therefore at the end of the negotiations when the terms of Brexit are known Liberal Democrats would ask the British people to decide whether they want to take this momentous step. This situation started with a referendum and it should finish with a referendum. No other party offers that choice.”