Tag Archives: brexit

Brexit: An opportunity to extend freedom of movement

Let’s turn Brexit on its head. Let’s not only lobby to remain members of the European Union’s single market, but have free movement of goods, capital, services and people included in our future free trade agreements with some non-EU countries. After all, as liberals we’re not only Europeans, but internationalists. Let’s turn crisis into opportunity by breaking down borders between this country and others around the world.

Wouldn’t it be great if Britons could live, work, study and start a business in Japan, South Korea or Australia with the same ease as we can in Spain and Germany today? It would strengthen trade and political ties between us and those nations, enrich our cultural experience and ensure Britain is internationalist not isolationist in this brave new Brexit world.

Although many Britons would oppose free movement of people from large countries with low per capita incomes, such as India, or having any kind of free trade deal with autocracies like Saudi Arabia, it would be difficult to argue against these arrangements with small and medium-sized democracies with per capita GDP’s similar to our own: Migration from countries like Taiwan, Norway and Canada is likely to be moderate and  counterbalanced by Britons heading the other way, so wage levels, public finances and housing supply are not likely to be strained.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Lord Malcolm Bruce writes… Liberalism revitalised

I want to respond to the challenges issued by Paddy and Vince during our conference.

Paddy said the party was “intellectually dead.” Vince said our position on another referendum was disrespectful to the electorate.

Let me take on Vince first. We and our predecessors supported UK membership of the European Community from its inception. The SDP was created largely because of Labour’s equivocation over British membership. We campaigned unstintingly for Remain and we remain convinced that the UK ‘s interests are best served by being a key member of the European Union.

Yes, by a narrow margin the country voted Leave but we have not changed our view and, given that there is no clear idea of what kind of relationship people want – in or out of the single market – let alone the hundreds of cooperative agreements built up over the last 43 years.

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How Brexit will ruin the British motorsport industry

F1 1Formula 1 motor racing is a major industry in the United Kingdom, and it is kind of something we can brag about. Between 2005 and 2015 every single world champion (bar one) drove a car which was designed, engineered and built in Britain. The Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton this season is built in Brackley near Silverstone, its engine and hybrid system comes from Brixworth near Northampton. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the British motorsport industry leads the world, it directly employs tens of thousands of highly skilled people across as many as 4,500 companies (probably more) and brings many billions of pounds into the UK economy.

The technologies being pioneered in Formula 1 have seen fuel efficiency improvements to levels which just two years ago were thought to be science fiction. These are gains which will in the near future be applied to mass market road cars around the world reducing CO2 emissions and pollutants across the board and all of these innovations are British.

But all of this is now under serious and immediate threat. The motorsport industry in the UK could be decimated by Brexit. Brexit you see means a lot more than Brexit (a made up word which first appeared in 2012) it means a substantial change to many areas of life and industry. Right now due to the dithering and indecision of our current leadership nobody really knows what the impact of Brexit will be, but it seems pretty obvious that the EU will take a tough stance against the UK as a lesson to other nations such as France and the Netherlands which are also considering their own futures in the union.

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Liberal Democrats launch national consultation on Brexit

Liberal Democrats are launching  a National Consultation exercise on the impact of Brexit on local communities.

All Lib Dem parliamentary candidates will contact businesses, health and educational institutions and civil society organisations in their constituencies to discuss their Brexit concerns.

Launching the initiative Dick Newby, Lib Dem Leader in the Lords, said:

This Tory Brexit Government are clearly floundering as they try to get to grip with the multitude of difficulties that leaving the EU presents. While the Government thrashes about, we will be talking to ordinary people up and down the country to understand their concerns.

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A voice for the voiceless

I had written a speech for the European motion at conference, and I wanted to share it with you all:

I was going to tell you about how angry I was.

I was going to talk about how the Leave campaign lied, how they cheated, how they preyed on fear, and how fear won.

I was going to demand we take action.

I was going to implore you to stand fast in your support for internationalism and your support for Britain’s membership of the EU.

But then I remembered that it isn’t just about us, that it isn’t just about the 16 million people who voted for an open and tolerant nation.

It is about our friends and neighbours, the 3 million EU nationals who live and work with us in Britain who never had a voice during the referendum.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Lib Dems overwhelmingly back referendum on Brexit deal

The Lib Dems are so far the only party to call for a referendum on the eventual Brexit deal. Conference overwhelmingly backed a motion lodged by the Federal Policy Committee.

Nick Clegg spoke in the debate and got a standing ovation, saying that

He got a standing ovation – even from some people who have spent the last six years heavily criticising him. Is the party learning to love its former leader again? To Nick’s credit, he immediately signalled to people to sit down so the debate could continue.

The motion also set out nine priorities (outlined below) for the Brexit negotiations, including securing Britain’s membership of the Single Market, and called for MPs to have a vote on the Government’s negotiating mandate before Article 50 is triggered.

Ming Campbell also spoke, joking that former leaders were like London buses – you can never get one when you want one but then two turn up at once.

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Party members massively endorse Farron’s call for referendum on Brexit deal

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 741 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

So, here are the results of the Brexit jury.

We broke our readers in gently by asking them how they voted in the Referendum. The result will surprise nobody:

Remain: 94.06%

Leave:        5.94%

We wanted to gauge feeling in the party towards the elements of Tim Farron’s Plan for Europe:

First of all, we asked if members supported the call for a parliamentary vote on invoking Article 50. A staggering 86.41% were in favour and 13.59% were opposed.

The idea of a referendum on the final Brexit deal has been closely debated on Lib Dem Voice, but party members gave a whopping endorsement to the plan with 77.18% of respondents in favour and 22.82% against.

Finally, we asked what sort of arrangement people would like with the EU and the single market if we did end up leaving. An overwhelming majority, 79.16%, favoured the Norwegian style option with free movement of people and access to the single market. 

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 9 Comments
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