Liberal Democrat frontbencher quits party over EU policy

Posted On: 
4th August 2016

A senior Liberal Democrat peer has resigned the whip over the party’s EU policy, PoliticsHome can reveal. 

Baroness Manzoor speaking in the House of Lords last year
Parliament TV

Baroness Manzoor becomes the second Lib Dem to quit in recent weeks, following in the steps of Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.

They are both now listed as non-affiliated peers.  

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson told PoliticsHome: "Baroness Manzoor has resigned the whip as she disagrees with our view that we should be at the heart of Europe. 

"We are disappointed with her decision as it is the Liberal Democrats who are standing up for hope and unity in the face of Brexit.

"More than 18,000 new members take the opposite view and have joined the Liberal Democrats since the EU referendum because of our position on Europe."

Emma Nicholson’s decision was revealed by The Times last month, with the response from the party headquarters: “Emma who?”

She was elected as Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon in 1987 and served as vice-chair of the Tory party before defecting in 1995. She joined the House of Lords in 1997.

Baroness Manzoor, who was ennobled less than three years ago, has also resigned her frontbench post as Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokeswoman.

Last year she took a leading role in the Lords’ battle against tax credits.

While her fatal motion to reject the reductions proposed by the Government outright was voted down after failing to win the support of Labour peers, the Liberal Democrat contingent backed a successful cross-party bid to push for a delay to the cuts.

Then-Chancellor George Osborne subsequently climbed down on the changes. 

Before entering Parliament in 2013, Baroness Manzoor worked for the National Health Service and as the Legal Services Ombudsman for England and Wales from 2003 to 2011. 

Baroness Manzoor and Baroness Nicholson are both understood to be abroad at the moment and PoliticsHome has been unable to reach them for comment.