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

Theresa May insists on the hardest and most divisive form of Brexit, choosing to take us out of the Single Market before she has even started negotiations

This is a betrayal of the millions of businesses, large and small, who rely on easy, tariff free trade with Europe.

The clock is now ticking on a Hard Brexit – but it can still be stopped.

The Liberal Democrats will keep fighting to give people a final vote on the Conservative Brexit deal.

Someone will have the final say over our new deal with Europe. It will be the European Parliament and the heads of the 27 member countries, It could also be Westminster politicians  or it could be the British people.

We believe democracy didn’t end on June 23rd, we believe it should be the people.

Willie Rennie: UK can still change its mind on Brexit

Theresa May has chosen the hardest and most divisive form of Brexit, choosing to take us out of the Single Market before negotiations have even begun.

Tearing the United Kingdom, our businesses and our people out of the world’s biggest market, is an enormous threat to jobs, security and the environment.

A new European Parliament report shows that the UK can still change its mind on Brexit. If Theresa May’s deal is not good enough, the people of the UK should have the chance to say so. Democracy didn’t end on 23rd of June – and it hasn’t ended today either.

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16 Comments

  • Keith Browning 29th Mar '17 - 2:27pm

    The EU Brexit office is contactable by the following link and I intend to write telling them that Article 50 has been triggered – ‘NOT in My Name’ – but by an unelected Prime Minister with a dubious mandate. The link is: https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/taskforce-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en#contact

  • And so Britain goes from a global liberal corporate country into a nationalist protectionist disaster motivated by a motkey coalition of Empire Loyalists, flag waving xenophobes, luddite socialists, conspiracy theorists and Trumpophile libertarians.

  • Keith Browning 29th Mar '17 - 3:11pm

    I sent my letter to Michel Barnier, via the EU website set up to keep everyone in touch

    Dear Michel Barnier

    The letter you received at lunchtime today was NOT written in MY NAME, and NOT in the name of the majority of the people of the United Kingdom.

    There are millions of UK people who think the same and that number is growing by the hour.

    The Referendum was ‘advisory’ and although there was a slim majority to ‘Leave’ this only represented some 25% of the UK population.

    WE are beginning to hear that spending by the Leave team may have broken electoral law and so this may invalidate the vote.

    Millions of UK citizens were disenfranchised because of the list of eligible voters was sanitised to benefit the ‘Leave’ cause.

    The whole basis for the referendum was enacted by a small majority held by the Conservatives in the 2015 election. 29 of those Conservative seats are now being investigated by the police for, again, breach of electoral spending law and several of those local elections may have to be re-run, which may well eliminate the Conservative mandate to govern.

    Theresa May was elected by no-one to be Prime Minister – not a single vote cast for her.

    I know that after contentious elections and referendums in Greece and Ireland the European Union asked for the polls to be repeated and I don’t understand why this has not been done in the case of the Brexit referendum.

    The vast majority of the people of the UK do NOT wish to leave the European Union and so we look to you to help us stop this madness.

  • I am proud to stand with migrants, multinational corporations, the elites, Juncker, the EU Commission, and everything else the far right and far left blame for their own inadequancies.

  • Was Theresa May aware of the symbolism of the photo showing her, when signing the letter delivered today, sitting beneath No.10’s portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, who was responsible for the memorable phrase when the bells were rung to celebrate Britain’s declaration of war with Spain in 1739 “They now ring the bells, but they will soon wring their hands” ?

  • Hugh: Odd choice indeed, as a disaster in war against Spain put an end to Walpole’s political career in 1742. May’s may well end up the same way too in about 3 years.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Mar '17 - 5:53pm

    Hugh p 29th Mar ’17 “In 1712, Walpole was accused of venality and corruption in the matter of two forage contracts for Scotland. Although it was proven that he had retained none of the money, Walpole was pronounced “guilty of a high breach of trust and notorious corruption”. He was impeached by the House of Commons and found guilty by the House of Lords; he was then imprisoned in the Tower of London for six months and expelled from Parliament” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Walpole
    We may assume that there will be extensive lobbying by sectoral interests.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Mar '17 - 5:56pm

    There was spontaneous laughter from MPs when Theresa May commented on “Liberal Democrat values”. She repeated the phrase and received more laughter.

  • Keith Browning 29th Mar '17 - 6:26pm

    The missing ‘comma’ that might not quite bring down a Prime Minister, but will be discussed in both English and Politics seminars for the foreseeable future.

  • To be fair to Walpole – he had twenty years in the job and apparently George 11 wept at his resignation.

    Can’t see Teresa lasting that long and doubt if Liz 11 will weep when she goes (yes, I expect it to be Liz 11 – so it won’t be long).

  • @Richard Underhill
    Your point is??

  • Laurence Cox 29th Mar '17 - 7:21pm

    I suggest sending a ‘not in my name’ response to Donald Tusk, as it is he to whom the Article 50 letter was handed. Here is a web site with a template you may like to use:

    http://www.contra50.co.uk/

  • Richard Underhill 29th Mar '17 - 7:36pm

    P.J. 29th Mar ’17 – 7:16pm Two points actually. Some people claim that the Conservative party has a liberal wing, for instance Douglas Hurd MP did at a Tory conference. Some people seem to believe it. Hence the laughter.
    What did the minister promise to Nissan that made them change their minds? These are serious businessmen who are unlikely to be swayed by mere negotiating objectives

  • What are people hoping to achieve by writing to Barnier and Tusk. You are asking them to ignore the treaties by which the EU is run. Probably worth thinking about the sort of places that can end up.

  • Bill le Breton 29th Mar '17 - 10:17pm

    Tusk has already replied, “In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimise the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom for our citizens, businesses and member states. … We will approach these talks constructively and strive to find an agreement. In the future, we hope to have the United Kingdom as a close partner.”

  • How education standards have slipped!
    I noted that May in here speech used the words: “handed a letter on my behalf”, surely the letter was delivered on behalf of “Her Majesty’s government”. [ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39434293 ]
    Likewise in ‘her’ letter, a formal communication, a similar slapdash approach to language; it isn’t the “UK’s” intention to withdraw but “Her Majesty’s government’s”…
    [ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/29_03_17_article50.pdf – facsimile copy of all 6 pages]

    I know memory does play tricks, but I’m sure Thatcher didn’t make such obvious mistakes. Whilst this may seem nitpicking, this lack of attention to detail is important, specifically with respect to the EEA/Single Market, but also because it gives an insight into the mindset of the government, namely details don’t matter.

    The letter explicitly states that in addition to withdrawing from the EU, the UK will also be withdrawing from the EAEC (European Atomic Energy Community, aka Euratom).

    The EAEC is another organisation like the EEA, established by it’s own treaty prior to the formation of the EU, but like the EEA is intertwined with the EU, so some also think that leaving the EU also means an automatic exit from EAEC, whilst others disagree. Hence there is good reason to made matters explicit. Yet it has not done so with respect to the EEA/Single Market. Yes there is a reference to the Single Market: “That is why the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single market:”, but it is not explicit whether the UK government regards leaving the EEA as being part of Article 50 or a separate negotiation…

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