LibLink: Willie Rennie: Lib Dems will make case for public vote on Brexit deal even after Article 50 is triggered

Willie Rennie, writing in the Perthshire Advertiser has made the case for a vote on the Brexit Deal. People can change their minds, he said, like the public did over Iraq. He reminds us that Charles Kennedy was vilified for his anti-war stance but he was vindicated in the end. And even if the government refuses to do something, it can be made to think again:

If you think about the fuel duty protests in the year 2000. There was a UK Government with a majority of 179 in the House of Commons. It didn’t have to have an election for two years. But it still changed its policy in response to an evident change of public mood.

A Brexit deal referendum would be the right and democratic thing to do. When they look back at this time our grandchildren will be perplexed that we did not take our time and ask ourselves the question if we really wanted this.

If the Brexit deal is damaging to jobs, the economy, our environment and the country’s security why would we not ask the British people. Why should we let bureaucrats and politicians behind closed doors make decisions that will have an impact on generations to come? Liberal Democrats will provide the focus for a democratic mandate that lets the British public have a say.

When Willie was MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, he was a member of the Defence Select Committee. He had some observations to make about Britain’s place in the world:

We have a role in the world that is positive. It has been an internationalist posture that has assisted in the generation of a positive view of our country globally. That internationalist posture means we are, and are seen as, a powerful trading nation with a compassionate heart.

But now the isolationist fringe of the Conservative Party has taken over our government. With attempts to cut the aid budget. With a charm offensive on Donald Trump, who is no fan of NATO or the United Nations.

And the decision to leave our partners in Europe. This is probably the biggest change of our international posture in a generation: from partnership through global organisations into a futile attempt to build our own power base in the world.

For want of a name you could call it the British empire.

A series of reports has put the price of leaving at more than £5bn of GDP by 2030 and the cost of leaving the single market as high as £200bn over 15 years. That’s a high price that surely is worth a simple question for the British people.

You can read the whole article here.

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One Comment

  • nigel hunter 2nd Mar '17 - 12:50pm

    JOBS will be the deciding factor. It was in Copeland. Without jobs you cannot pay the bills support the NHS (through taxes) We are already dropping down in the economic sphere from 4th to 6th. This slide will only get worse ‘cos of all the uncertainties of Brexit. Our ‘compassion’ position in the world will be diminished by using people as tools in the negotiations . The British Empire dream? Will this be us running around thinking we have the Commonwealth as a powerful base to take over the world?As the world moves on we will be left behind and the Conservatives will rule a little country with no influence.

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