Tag Archives: article 50

Newby: May’s Brexit plan will make us poorer, less generous and diminished as a nation

Lib Dem Lords Leader Dick Newby threw some serious shade at the Government yesterday in his response to the Prime Minister’s statement on Article 50 being triggered. He went through it and pointed out the many inconsistencies and false promises it contained. It’s a cracker.

Today is for me and my colleagues an extremely sad day. It marks the point at which the UK seeks to distance itself from its nearest neighbours at a time when, in every area of public policy, logic suggests that we should be working more closely together rather than less.

But sadness is a passive emotion, and it is not the only thing that we feel. We feel a sense of anger that the Government are pursuing a brutal Brexit, which will rip us out of the single market and many other European networks from which we benefit so much. We believe that the country will be poorer, less secure and less influential as a result, and we feel that at every ​point, whether it be the calling of the referendum itself or the choices made on how to put its result into effect, the principal motivation in the minds of Ministers has been not what is best for the long-term interests of the country but what is best for the short-term interests of the Conservative Party.

We do not believe that the Government have the faintest clue about how they are going to achieve the goals that they set out in their White Paper last month or the Prime Minister’s Statement today, and we have no confidence in their willingness to give Parliament a proper say either as the negotiations proceed or at their conclusion. We therefore believe that, at the end of the process, only the people should have the final say on whether any deal negotiated by the Government —or no deal—is preferable to ongoing EU membership. We will strain every sinew to ensure that outcome.

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So this is how Jeremy Corbyn will be holding May to account on Brexit….

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, any half decent opposition leader would have lined up his most ferocious MPs to go to town on the PM over Brexit. We’ll gloss over the fact that any decent Leader of the Opposition wouldn’t have let the Article 50 Bill pass unamended in the first place.

But we don’t have a decent Leader of the Opposition. We have Jeremy Corbyn. You just get the feeling that if PMQs had been extended by a couple of hours, he wouldn’t have got round to asking a question on Brexit. No doubt he’d have asked about the weather and who the PM thought had done in Ken Barlow on Corrie.  He should have taken May apart on Brexit. He should have had half a dozen MPs lined up with killer questions.  But Labour MPs asked about anything but – until Tulip Siddiq came along. The MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, a passionate and effective opponent of Brexit, asked about the £350 million a week for the NHS.

Later, in his reply to the Prime Minister’s statement, rather than deliver a feisty riposte, he sounded like he was discussing the relative merits of different kinds of broad bean. There was no passion, no fire. “If she meets our tests, we’ll back her,” he said. Labour’s tests are meaningless anyway as they have failed them themselves. They had every opportunity to ensure that the Government’s strategy was changed to include membership of the single market, to stand up for the rights of EU nationals, and to give Parliament a meaningful vote on the deal. 

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Article 50 invoked: Lib Dem reaction: The fight goes on

So, the deed is done, but the Liberal Democrats aren’t giving up the fight.

Here’s how senior Liberal Democrats have reacted:

Tim Farron – The people must have their say

The world needs liberal democratic values – this is something Churchill, Thatcher and others rightly decided that Britain could deliver from our place at the heart of Europe.

I believe the Prime Minister is twisting the will of the people, leaping into the abyss without any idea of where our country will end up.   In her statement the Prime Minister admitted we would lose influence as a result.

Theresa May has chosen the hardest and most divisive form of Brexit, choosing to take us out of the Single Market before she has even tried to negotiate.

Membership of the Single Market was not on the ballot paper last June, yet without a mandate she has chosen to rip Britain, our businesses and our people out of the world’s biggest market.

It is still possible for the British people to stop a hard Brexit and keep us in the Single Market. And if they want, it is still possible for the British people to choose to remain in the European Union. Democracy didn’t end on 23rd of June – and it hasn’t ended today either. The people can have their say over what comes next.

It is a tragedy that Labour are helping the Conservatives in doing this damage to our country.  They no longer deserve to be called the Official Opposition. Britain deserves better than this.

Catherine Bearder MEP: The clock is ticking – but it can be stopped

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LibLink: Tim Farron: British voters must have the final say on the Brexit deal

In today’s Guardian, Tim Farron sets out the case for the people to decide in a referendum whether they wish to accept the terms of Brexit or remain in the EU after all.

He sets out what Theresa May is up to:

Theresa May’s tactic is clear: to accuse anyone who dares question her headlong, blindfold charge towards hard Brexit of being democracy deniers. This despite it looking increasingly likely that the result of her reckless, divisive Brexit will be to leave the single market and not reduce immigration – the very opposite of what Brexiteers pitched to the people.

Then he sets out the case for a referendum on the deal:

It was May’s choice to plumb for the hardest and most divisive Brexit, taking us out of the single market before she has even tried to negotiate. That’s why we believe the people should have the final say. Someone will: it will either be politicians or the people. If the people decide they don’t like the deal on offer, they should have the option to remain in the European Union.

This is simply too big to trust to politicians. May wants to hijack David Cameron’s mandate from the general election to deliver hard Brexit. Meanwhile, the recent tough talk from Keir Starmer won’t hide Labour’s feeble deeds: voting for Brexit, failing to stick up for the right of EU nationals to remain, and even now only really threatening to abstain rather than vote against the final deal. I have heard of loyal opposition, but this is craven.

And he points out that the outcome is likely to be far from what people voted for – and that’s going to be the fault of blinkered ministers:

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Blue Wednesday

So, the day has arrived. I’m wearing blue, as Roger Roberts suggested, for 3 reasons. As the Government  carries out the worst assault on our children’s future I have seen in my lifetime, I’m  doing this for three reasons. Out of sadness at what today means for our future, out of pride in the EU’s values of peace and collaboration – and out of defiance. I will not stand by why the Government destroys our country. I will take every opportunity for peaceful resistance as this incompetent and reckless government puts us all in harm’s way.

I will not stand by while the Government refuses to give us a say on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations. What sort of democracy is that? People voted to take back control, not hand all power to ideological brexiteers who do all they can to avoid checks and scrutiny. Who would you rather had the final say on your future? You, or Theresa and her trio of Brexiteers?

That Theresa May has the nerve to suggest that the country should come together behind her shows how out of touch and comfortable with power her Government is. It’s that old saying about power corrupting. With a Labour Party missing in action, waving its demands as the Brexit horse bolts down the road, May thinks she can do what she likes. She has made no attempt to build any bridges whatever with the almost half of us who voted Remain.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Article 50 is not the only or the best way to leave

Now that the invocation of Article 50 is imminent, I thought I would reflect on how we managed, as a country, to gain such momentum for such a bad way of leaving the EU.

Firstly, it should be understood that before Article 50 was agreed, it was not impossible to leave the EU. Greenland did so, by agreement, and without that agreement being subject to an arbitrary one-sided deadline. The point of agreeing Article 50 was not to make it possible to leave, but to make it harder. Article 50, like Trident, is not meant to be used; that is not …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 18 Comments

LibLink: Kishwer Falkner on ‘How I will vote on Article 50’

Baroness Kishwer Falkner has been explaining on her blog how she plans to vote on Brexit and Article 50. She writes:

In life, with voluntary relationships there is a clear line between the length of a relationship and the one’s attachment to it.  I have felt those 32 years acutely in the last few months as I have reflected on my own position with respect to the Liberal Democrats position on Brexit and the need for a second referendum.  But in arriving at my decision to vote against the Lib Dem position I feel that it is the fact that I am a Lib Dem – a pro-European to my core – that makes this the right thing to do.

Posted in LibLink | 72 Comments
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