Author Archives: Catherine Bearder MEP

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 …

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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.

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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.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Government U-turns on EU flood funding in victory for Lib Dems

As many of you know Tim Farron and I have been fighting for months to persuade the government to apply for EU solidarity funding for flood victims. The European Commission had confirmed to me last December that this money was there for the taking, so it was flabbergasting that the government had so far refused to apply on the flimsy grounds that it would not offer immediate help (an application takes a few months to process). The real reason I suspect was that the government was worried about upsetting its eurosceptic backbenchers by asking for help from the rest of Europe in a time of need.

So it came as something of a shock to find out today that finally the Conservatives have U-turned and will be making a last-minute application. This is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats, who have been piling the pressure on the government on this issue from day one. And of course it is fantastic news for the communities across the North of England and Scotland whose lives were turned upside-down by the floods and who will finally get the additional funding they deserve.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Nominate a hard-working local activist or councillor for a Europe leader award

I am encouraging Lib Dem members to help me nominate a hard-working local activist or councillor for the Europe-wide Local Leader award.

Last year I was delighted when two of my nominations, Andrew Nesbitt from Scotland and David Tutt from Eastbourne made it through to the final round. I was hugely proud that David went on to win the prize for “Achievement in Government”.  I know that we have lots of talented people working hard on their communities, so do let me know so I can nominate them.

The Liberal group in Europe (ALDE) are offering a variety of awards for exceptional local representatives of European liberal parties. The award categories on offer are:

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Our best weapons against terrorism are unity, tolerance and compassion

Last Friday’s sickening Paris attacks shocked us all. They weren’t just attacks on France, but attacks on our shared values and way of life. Seeing such horrific tragedy being inflicted on a city that so many of us associate with joy, love and freedom has been deeply upsetting. At the same time, it has been profoundly moving to see the courage and resilience of the French people and the solidarity shown with them from around the world, including in the UK.

When emotions run high, it is important that our responses are made with great care and with a cool head. Most of all, we must remember that the central aim of these attacks was to sow division and conflict in our societies.

Provoking resentment against refugees and Muslims, as is being done by the likes of the Daily Mail with its despicable cartoon likening refugees to rats, is exactly what these terrorists want. This fosters a cycle of prejudice and hatred, playing into the hands of the far right and extremists across Europe. We as Liberals must not fall into this trap, but fight it at every turn.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Europe is about more than the economy, it’s about opportunity

Catherine Bearder with Liberal Youth members October 2015At the official launch of the Stronger In Campaign on Monday it was great to see such a huge range of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, prepared to work together to secure Britain’s place in Europe. The board of the campaign represents all sections of society – students, the arts, business and trade unions – and almost half its members are women. This couldn’t contrast more with the male, pale and stale line-ups of the Vote Leave and Leave EU campaigns.

The challenge now for Stronger In will be to translate such a broad base of support into a coherent and positive message. We don’t just need to win over undecided voters, we need to make sure those who are broadly in favour of remaining in Europe turn up to cast their vote and play an active role in the campaign. Young people in particular are historically the least likely to vote, but the latest polls show 83% of them want to stay in the EU. They probably won’t get passionate about dry economic facts on the impact of Brexit on trade and investment. We need to develop a powerful and uplifting narrative about why Britain’s future in Europe matters to them and their everyday lives.

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatartonyhill 24th Jul - 7:13pm
    During the coalition years Paul Barker used to irritate me profoundly with his relentless optimism and slavish loyalty to the leadership. However, he does deserve...
  • User AvatarGlenn 24th Jul - 6:39pm
    David, I said little Englander because it's flung around as an insult. I also support the principle Scottish independence if that 's what the people...
  • User AvatarGlenn 24th Jul - 6:26pm
    Richard Underhill. Typo, why so rude? I don't watch telly anymore. So I didn't see it.
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 24th Jul - 6:03pm
    I've checked out the website and I'm not really a fan. For instance: when net-immigration is at 300,000 per year the best message is not...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 24th Jul - 5:55pm
    Glenn: spell her name right. Andrew Marr said on BBC1 that she supported Remain and she startled. Keeping her head down by getting on with...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 24th Jul - 5:31pm
    David Raw Actually , while I do not share Genn s position on the EU , he is talking specifically about England , and as...
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