Author Archives: Catherine Bearder MEP

“Dear Mrs May…”, an open letter from Catherine Bearder

Dear Mrs May,

You called an election last week so that British voters can, you claim, by electing a large Conservative parliamentary majority, give you the “strongest hand” possible in the Brexit negotiations. But I am afraid Mrs May you have already decided on the direction you are taking this country in and I think you already know that.

Today the leaders of the 27 EU countries will meet to finalise their negotiating guidelines, for what Guy Verhofstadt described to Liberal MEPs this week as probably the shortest Council meeting ever. Why? Because …

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged , , and | 20 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Why we want to let Brits keep their EU passports after Brexit

Last weekend the Liberal Democrats Spring Conference voted to support Guy Verhofstadt’s proposed initiative to allow Brits to keep their EU citizenship (if they want to!). Lib Dems believe that with our country split nearly 50/50 on our EU membership, it would be unfair to allow the process of leaving the EU to completely ignore the wishes of the side that narrowly lost and who want to continue with the EU.

But it is not simply an issue of fairness that we are asking for Brits to be allowed to apply for EU citizenship. It is that as liberals and pro-Europeans we believe that this Conservative Brexit Government should not rip away someone’s identity, assuming that that was the wish of Leave voters in a referendum that was won on lies and misinformation (something that former Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings admitted recently).

Many young people are desperate to travel Europe and seek out opportunities to study, meet new people, learn languages and new skills. Can the people who voted Leave deny their children, grandchildren and their grandchildren’s children the right to do this? The fact that 75% of 18-24 year olds voted remain means that young people genuinely do care about their EU citizenship and won’t give up their demands for the retention of it easily. 

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Golden opportunity to end the illegal ivory trade wasted

serious-about-willdife-crime-picI was honoured to be part of the European Parliament’s observer delegation to the CITES CoP17 in South Africa. As a campaigner for wildlife protection I know the opportunity to influence protection at the highest level is rare.

Before I headed to South Africa I voted in favour of a European Parliament resolution calling for all elephants to be listed on Appendix 1 of CITES (the Convention in Trade of Endangered Species) This would mean in effect a total ban on the international trade in elephants.

The resolution was overwhelmingly supported by MEPs which shows the European Parliament’s strong opposition to the trade in elephants and their ivory which in the past decade alone has seen the loss of 110,000 African elephants as a result of poaching and the massive global demand for ivory tusks as well as for trophy hunting.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Churchill and Mandela would have been with us on the March for Europe

As thousands of Brits marched across the uk to show their support for our continued EU membership relationship I was with Liberal Democrat president Sal Brinton, past MEP Sarah Ludford and many other activists, PPCs, councillors, new and old members and others who wanted to be with the Liberal Democrats in our fight to get the best for our country post the referendum result.

The organisers were initially determined not to allow any elected political speakers on to the platform.  It seems the phrase ‘cross party’ had again been confused with ‘no party’, despite the speakers from the world of entertainment and media clearly having political affiliations.  However, sense and justice prevailed and I was allowed to speak to the assembled crowds.  It seemed only fair as the Liberal Democrats formed a major part of the March, and for that I must say thank you to Kelly-Marie Blundell and her team for organising us all and making sure our voice is heard across the country.

This then is the gist of what I said….

For every one who is marching to day, not just here in London, but right across the country, there are hundreds who are not on a march, but are with us in spirit.  They know as you do that this campaign was fought on lies and untruths and the question was simplistic.  The result cannot therefore be allowed to stand.  Reasons for voters supporting leave were varied, and we now know that what they were asked to vote on – Brexit – is a total unknown.  No one knows what it is.  Even the Brexiteers still don’t know what they want.

So many people and European flags flying is good to see, but there are two other people in this square with us who would be joining us if they could, one is Winston Churchill, the other is Nelson Mandela.  They both recognised that working together across borders is the best way to deliver peace and prosperity for all. They would be horrified to think there is a possibility of the UK leaving the best and biggest club on the planet.   We have to do all we can to stop that, and if we can’t we must make sure that we get the best deal possible – and then put that deal to the voters in the UK.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 14 Comments

Lib Dems will offer an optimistic alternative to Brexit Britain

It’s been a tough few weeks for all of us who believe in the European ideals of cooperation, openness and trade between nations. But as if the referendum result was not bad enough, the aftermath has left the UK the laughing stock of the world. First there was the resignation and disappearance of many of those who led the Leave campaign and the shameless disowning of key pledges on the NHS and immigration. Then last week a number of leading Tory Brexiteers were elevated by Theresa May to the highest offices of the state.

We have seen Brexit Minister David …

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Thanks to all for a positive campaign

IntogetherThis has been a tough week for us all. It’s followed the hard work in the build-up to voting day, the exhaustion of the day itself and the dreadful night as the results saw the collapse of the political and structural certainties we have all come to understand.

Firstly I want to give a huge thanks to all those up and down the country who have worked their socks off campaigning to keep the UK in the EU. Ours was a positive, passionate and patriotic campaign. It was always going to be a tough fight, trying to reverse in a matter of weeks the anti-EU propaganda and anti-establishment mood that built up over many years. But the Lib Dems stood firm, and our thousands of activists can be proud that when the time came, they stood up for the values we hold dear and for what we believe was firmly in the national interest.

On my return to Brussels on Monday, the overwhelming mood amongst my fellow MEPs was not one of anger, but of huge shock and sadness. Sad that a country that they love and admire could be so led astray by the lies and deception of the Leave campaign, and sad for the millions of young people who overwhelmingly voted to remain but who are set to be deprived of the opportunities EU membership brings. There was a spontaneous sign written on the windows of the European Parliament that simply said: “We will miss you.” This is the real European Union. Not faceless bureaucrats, but real people from all over Europe working together, celebrating our differences and eccentricities and doing our best to respond to big common challenges. That’s a vision that millions of people in the UK share. And it’s one we must stand up for in the difficult months and years ahead.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

100 Days to go to secure our place in Europe

There are now just 100 days to secure Britain’s place in Europe. There is so much at stake. If we leave, the country faces a future of uncertainty, isolation and diminished influence in the world. If we stay we will secure opportunity, prosperity and security for future generations and we can lead the way in shaping a better, more liberal Europe.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments
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  • User AvatarTynan 24th May - 4:06am
    Thekes-: Would you stop the F.A. cup final or the rugby cup final as being trivial noise, or draining resources ,risking safety etc ,whilst families...
  • User AvatarTynan 24th May - 3:48am
    Andrew McCaig-: I would suggest your statement says more about you than May or the conservative party.
  • User AvatarGlenn 24th May - 1:34am
    I think getting side tracked by arguments about the IRA misses the point. The IRA had a distinct organised chain of command, weapons stores and...
  • User Avatarmalc 24th May - 12:23am
    @Graham Evans ‘While the IRA did not explicitly set out to kill civilians,’ You obviously don't recall Gerry Adams saying the families of British servicemen/women...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 23rd May - 10:30pm
    @Graham Evans 'While the IRA did not explicitly set out to kill civilians,' That's a really fallacious argument. In the Northern Ireland troubles, all terrorist...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 23rd May - 9:47pm
    @Glenn " I must admit I just assumed that there was a mechanism that took into account the possibility of a national crisis." In 2001...