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.

Every sector of society is going to be affected by Brexit. We want to hear from people right across the country about how it will impact on their businesses, their jobs, their daily lives. How would restrictions on free movement affect your local hospital? What will losing European research grants mean for jobs in your local university?

We will challenge the Government at every opportunity to hold them to account for the real damage that Brexit will do to individuals right across the country, and fight to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

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  • Eddie Sammon 20th Sep '16 - 1:16pm

    The big concerns are the borders with Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. An OECD report has said benefits of mass migration to an economy are unclear, citing a 2013 study saying the benefits to GDP per capita are less than 0.1%.

    So we need less talking about Britain as effectively a colony of the EU, unable to ever survive without it.

  • Rebecca Taylor 20th Sep '16 - 2:06pm

    @Eddie no-one (serious) ever said the UK can’t survive outside the EU; of course we could. It is a core LibDem view (shared by vast majority of members) that the UK is better off (in many respects, not just economic) IN the EU.

    To the UK is a “colony” of the EU is firstly to insult those countries who were colonised generally by military force (we did it ourselves) not by choice (unlike Britain joining the EU) and could not dream of the joint decision making and equal rights that EU membership bestows on EU countries and citizens.

    Aside from your UKIP like use of language (I’m surprised you didn’t called the EU the “EUSSR”…), you completely ignore the negotiating skill of past UK governments which achieved significant concessions and opt-outs for Britain.

    In addition, and more importantly, you do not appear to understand that for the UK to be one of the “big four” EU members means not only that we are able to better influence the direction of the EU, but also that this position actually ENHANCES our influence and standing in the world beyond Europe.

    The UK is far less important both economically and politically outside the EU and if Brexidiot ministers get what they want, we will all find that out the hard way. I’d rather that didn’t happen because the country will suffer, but if it does I shall be wearing my “Don’t blame me, I voted remain” t-shirt.

  • ethicsgradient 20th Sep '16 - 2:14pm

    My predication of what you will find is that the lib dem pro-EU stance is and will remain out of step with how majority of groups feel throughout the uk.

    I do observe the scientific method and so will remove and pre-judgement bias out and wait for the data/feedback to come in to see what the lay of the land is.

    (I’m a libertarian, pragmatic floating voter who voted to leave).

    anecdotal feelings I pick up when chatting to people (I’m a news junkie) is there is no significant leave voters who regret doing so. I find people are generally happy with the result and I would say that if there was a 2nd referendum (however it was put) the leave vote would be around 55-56%. This seems to be supported by the recent ashcroft polls.

  • The “Tory Brexit Government” are not “clearly floundering” and they are miles ahead in the polls. The Lib Dem EU stance is well known, the Labour Party is in a dreadful mess and the last national poll I saw had you at 6%. Support the remain cause by all means, but don’t pretend you are taking any notice of what “ordinary people” want – you have already made up your minds.

  • MALC:
    There is a mismatch between the national opinion polls and actual voting at elections. Witney, 4 weeks Thursday is the test to see which is right. My gut feeling suggests the Conservatives are going to get a shock and Lib Dems will have the biggest smile at the Count.

  • theakes

    You might be right only time will tell, but there wasn’t a mismatch between the opinion polls and the voters at the last Welsh, Scottish and London elections.

  • Eddie Sammon 20th Sep '16 - 8:36pm

    Thanks Rebecca, sorry I should have used the term “neo-colony” rather than colony, but I don’t think it is an exaggeration at all to say some attitudes towards Britain and the EU are neo-colonialist. People who say we must accept the EU’s “choices” it gives us because it is big a powerful and we “don’t have a negotiating hand” is neo-colonial because it says we must do what the big bosses (the EU Commission and other member states) tell us.

  • Stevan Rose 20th Sep '16 - 8:53pm

    “to hold them to account for the real damage that Brexit will do”

    There’s a problem here. A national consultation on Brexit impacts should be objective and open minded. But the questions to be asked are leading and the conclusion, real damage, already determined before the consultation even starts. I would question, therefore, the validity of any “evidence” that might might be collated.

  • Bill le Breton 20th Sep '16 - 10:01pm

    I do worry that we are building our strategy on shifting sand: Have the Swiss paved way for an EEA minus for the UK? (OK it’s the Mail but … )

  • Bill Le Bretton,

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Sep '16 - 12:17am

    A part of this consultation, should , as an antidote to what Stevan is concerned about, objectivity, be to speak and listen to many people who voted to leave the EU.

    A , we are engaging with those we are not agreeing with but whose concerns we are sharing, project , would be even more important for us and them , to avoid being that , an us and them , scenario,ie divided, and become what the party is advocating , united!

  • Gwynfor Tyley 21st Sep '16 - 7:58am

    Bill le Breton, my reading of hat is that it does not provide any “control” over borders – no restrictions to movement and only tinkering with how jobs are advertised. What brexiters fail to appreciate is that with unemployment (whatever quality the jobs may be) is at a 10 year low and is close to what economists consider to be full employment – UK citizens are not in any material way not getting jobs because of immigration.

  • Gwynfor Tyley 21st Sep '16 - 8:01am

    Eddie Sammon, you are just regurgitating the brexit lie that we are controlled by Brussels. Which of these policy areas is Brussels in control of?
    Foreign Policy

    We are not a colony or even a “neo-colony”. We are an independent state that had chosen to cooperate with our neighbours on trade policies and associated areas.

  • Gwynfor Tyley.
    Might I suggest that the effect of immigration on employment is actually pretty much irrelevant and the reality is that the British like pretty much every group of people on Earth do not want mass immigration for a multiple set of reasons and that a pro mass immigration policy is thus a vote loser that ironically empowers the far right leading to less rather more social democracy.

  • For most people the vote has made absolutely no difference yet. Except for the fall in value of the pound and a political leadership crisis which the public think the Tories have handled well. The economic effects will be slow but cumulative until there is a crisis, then you won’t need to do a consultation – it will be all over the media!. It will be great to find specific examples of research projects, drops in student numbers, concerns about availability of staff, examples of key personnel returning home to the continent but the number of cases such as Lush who,have upped sticks and relocated to Germany will be few and far between as yet. That is the danger here – by the time the damage is significant it will probably be too late to do much about it.
    There will be lots of personal stories such as my son who has decided to stay in Berlin rather than move back to England. My grandchildren wil no likely grow up as Germans! My father would turn in his grave.

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Sep '16 - 12:07pm

    I’m not regurgitating any lies. I’m talking about attitudes, not a literal state of being. If you can’t leave an organisation without them destroying your economy then there is a freedom problem within it.

    My main criticism is for some remainers who are refusing to challenge the EU and when asked why they just say “the EU won’t allow it”. They aren’t even trying for a good deal, just fear mongering.

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Sep '16 - 12:44pm

    I’m not ignorant at all about the EU, if they are nice to you when you are a member but turn on you when not then what is that? It’s not a completely free association.

    I think a good deal can be salvaged, but others who don’t should question why they support the EU.

  • Eddie Sammon.
    I’d say more part of a super state with local autonomy. The EU has a national anthem, a president, foreign policy, embassies, a flag, a parliament, a single currency and a notion of citizenship, plus a drive for ever closer union. The remain camp can insist otherwise, but as the old adage goes there is enough waddling and quaking to suggest the presence of a duck.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Sep '16 - 1:04pm

    We really can do without the anally retentive umbrage at the comments of , for example, Eddie Sammon, he is only , clearly , using the word, colonial, to describe a tendency in the EU and in its staunchest supporters .Tim , in his speech , mentioned his patriotism, and that some on the left of centre disdain it , i n my view , and clearly that of Tim, this is wrong headed, so , Tim, well done , him, what Eddie seems to be doing , like it or not , is saying two things.

    Firstly , we are more independent as a state , not a satellite of any group, nor should we be. Well done on this, if we had built an EU on these grounds, we would not more or less be leaving it , certainly not in a headlong anti European way.

    Secondly, that to be treated badly at national level, say towards our leaders , such as the previous and new Prime Minister, on the part of and by ,the more fanatical EU bureaucrats, is to reinforce all the correct reasons why most Brexiters are that , and many of us Remainers bite our lip as we vote for supporting the EU, and are only really supporting it as we want it to be rather than as it is ! The antagonism towards us as a nation there goes back to DeGaulle. He and his “Non !” to our joining half a century ago has also , in its attitude ,led to the referendum, “No!”, this June !

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Sep '16 - 1:18pm

    I’ll not use the “colonial” line again, but if Britain is punished for leaving the EU I’m coming back out with my “neo-colonialism” line to defend Britain and, in my view, fairness.

  • Ethicsgradiant: Over 48% voted to stay. A small majority voted to leave. You’re almost certainly right that at present Leave voters are happy. They got what they wanted and the sharp market downturn that was a very real possibility didn’t happen. It could have done: markets are quite irrational and such events are hard to predict. However, the real impact of Brexit on trade, on research, on environmental protection, on working conditions, remains to be felt and will be substantial. There will of course be money saved that we, as a rich country, were contributing to the pot, but a downward push on economic activity will reduce money available for public spending. When this happens, we are likely to see a shift of opinion. There is also the shift that will happen as older people, mostly Leave voters, die and people refused a chance to vote by the government, mostly Remain supporters, reach voting age. It’s by no means certain, not least because the way the EU will develop in the next few years, without UK influence and facing massive challenges, can’t be predicted with certainty. Let’s see.

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