Author Archives: Catherine Bearder MEP

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…EURATOM: The wedge dividing the Tories’ ideological Brexit

The Tories’ division on Europe is widening. Nothing demonstrates this more than on one simple issue: EURATOM.

In Theresa May’s letter invoking Article 50 she confirmed that Brexit would mean more than Brexit as the UK would also withdraw from the European Atomic Community, a separate legal entity from the EU.

The UK, a country dependant on nuclear energy, relies heavily on EURATOM; our electricity generation, healthcare provision, scientific development, and nuclear safety are all closely intertwined with EURATOM’s regulatory regime.

Withdrawal could restrict the movement of nuclear materials, damaging scientific research and innovation (particularly in the development of future fusion power plants), and threatening the UK’s nuclear power supply.

What many won’t realise is that this could also restrict supply of key materials for radioactive cancer treatment. Dr Nicola Strickland, president of the Royal College of Radiologists, has already warned of the damage this could do to over 10,000 cancer patients being directly treated by imported radioactive isotopes and the increased cost burden this would place on an NHS already stretched for resources.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Brexit, one year on

A lot can change in a year.

On 23rd June 2016, I was left heartbroken after a tough and exhausting referendum campaign saw a victory for an insular nationalist vision of Britain.

The vote to Leave has divided our country in a way even ‘Project Fear’ could never have imagined.

After the referendum, we were told that the populist right was on an unstoppable rise. Geert Wilders, Netherland’s answer to Donald Trump, would storm to victory in the Dutch general election; Marine Le Pen would triumph over the established political consensus in the French Presidential election; and the Liberal Democrats’ fight to keep Britain in Europe was laughed off.

But a lot can change in a year.

Our ALDE sister Party, VVD, secured victory in the Netherlands with a lead of over 8 points. Voters in France chose a pro-European liberal vision of hope as Emmanuel Macron overwhelmingly won the Presidency and obtained an absolute majority in the French Parliament.

And in the UK, it’s still all to fight for. Theresa May called a general election to ask the electorate to force through her destructive Brexit and the public refused to give her the mandate.

The latest polling on Brexit shows big movement – 53 per cent of people now back the Lib Dem position for a final say on the Brexit deal.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

“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
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 21st Oct - 9:35am
    A bit late, but relevant to our discussion on a European army: an article (in English) in a German newsmagazine on lacking NATO-readiness. Seen in...
  • User AvatarEd Shepherd 21st Oct - 9:32am
    All this talk of visits to Buckingham Palace and hobnobbing with chums in Brussels or Strasbourg or listening to the anger of Hilary Clinton is...
  • User AvatarWilliam Fowler 21st Oct - 8:51am
    Well, no discipline in school, no discipline at home and immunity from criminal prosecution for kids adds up to... I must admit I do admire...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 21st Oct - 8:33am
    Paul, thank you for this article, and for your fascinating and moving series of articles for black history month. This story about Martin Luther King's...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 20th Oct - 11:50pm
    Paul and David, at it again, getting me at it too , with much thanks ! A remarkable story , the unplanned speech, don,t ever...
  • User Avatarfrankie 20th Oct - 10:36pm
    Sheila, Time ticks on and everyday the leave case is shot to pieces. As reality bites the only thing that seems to be keeping Leavers...