Tom Brake MP writes…If you care about Brexit, read this…

Some of you might have received an email from me on Thursday night about the EU Withdrawal Bill. If you didn’t, then please continue reading.

When people voted in the EU referendum last year, nobody really knew what a future deal with the European Union might look like.

16 months on it is now clearer than ever that no deal will be anywhere near as good a deal as the one we have now. To top that off, a catastrophic “no deal” scenario is becoming likelier than ever.

The chaos and uncertainty are leading to job losses and higher prices across the UK.

That is why the Liberal Democrats believe the people deserve the final say on any Brexit deal in a referendum. And if the public doesn’t like it, we should have the option to remain in the European Union.

In two weeks’ time, MPs will be debating amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Government’s majority is wafer thin – and if MPs from all parties work together, there’s a real chance we can defeat them and at the very least, stop them from pursuing a hard Brexit.

That’s why, ahead of those key votes, we’re asking as many of you as possible to contact your MP and ask them to support four amendments.

You can get all the information you need here.

MPs need to put their names to these amendments by 9th November – so please, make sure you contact them before then!

* Tom Brake is Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, and the Lib Dem Foreign Affairs Spokesman

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44 Comments

  • Red Liberal 4th Nov '17 - 9:58am

    The LibDems have been semi-invisible on the anti-Brexit campaign recently – why? This is a national emergency, and needs vocal and active resistance! (On a personal note, this is all extremely stressful for those of us with EU national partners and spouses who are worried about our partners/spouses being deported or stripped of all rights to work and reside.)

  • Red Liberal,
    I don’t think we have gone quite but there seems to be a reluctance in the media to address the issue. They seem to be much happier addressing the alleged sexual misdaminours of politicians than trying to explain economic and diplomatic realities. It is almost as if they have looked at Brexit and decided this is too hard, let’s deal with topics we can easily explain. Faced with this reality we will struggle to be heard until stories arrive that they can put a picture to. What pictures you ask, major jams at Dover, factories closing, families being ripped apart, unfortunately by that stage far too late.
    Does that mean we should accept that possible fate, no we need to rage against the stupidity of Brexit and the Brexiteers but we shouldn’t assume because the media choose to follow the easy news we have gone quite.

  • Iain Christie 4th Nov '17 - 11:23am

    Let’s see… We voted without knowing anything about what it meant, except for xenophobes, foreign-haters, and racists. Then we’re supposed to accept and respect a result based on lies and xenophobic propaganda, and allow it to become national policy for decades. Now we have to fight to see unredacted assessments of likely impact on all our lives and especially those of young people. And even if we learn that the eventual deal is highly detrimental to the country, and by then Remainers are strongly in the majority, we shall be denied the right to a further (not second) vote on the deal. What on earth are we inventing here ?….

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Nov '17 - 1:06pm

    Absolutely, Red Liberal, we must keep up the fight, and I’m glad Tom Brake sent the email and wrote this. Personally I’m writing to my MP, and when canvassing on the doorsteps continue to mention the ill effects of Brexit and the need for a referendum on the deal – if any. Was horrified to hear Sarah Wollaston last week on Any Questions say that Parliament will have only two options, to say yes or crash out, with no understanding at all of the possibility of saying no, we won’t do it. Which either Parliament itself, or, preferably, the voters must have the chance to say: that we will stay in.

  • Not this rubbish again. We will leave. You’re just talking among yourselves, looking at your reflection and thinking you are enlightened. No one else is listening to you.

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Nov '17 - 10:21pm

    Well, apparently you are, Jay.

  • We hold a mirror up Jay and I’m not surprised you don’t like what you see reflected back.

  • Ian Hurdley 5th Nov '17 - 7:50am

    If no one is listening Jay, why are you getting so steamed up about it?

  • William Fowler 5th Nov '17 - 8:22am

    Don’t think we will leave, Corbyn and co are just waiting for the right moment to destroy the Conservatives when they end up in a total mess on negotiations… it only takes a minor bit of reform on freedom of movement (which Macron wants and Merkel won’t object to) for the whole game to change. Second referendum with 16-17 year-olds voting and possibly some gaming of the voting system by Labour allies…

  • Peter Martin 5th Nov '17 - 9:12am

    I’d be in favour of staying in “Europe” if “Europe”, the EU, or whatever it was wanting to be called, was more like what we used to have with the EC/EEC.

    But the introduction of the euro has changed all that. One currency has to mean one government, one taxation system, and therefore one country. Nothing less than a United States of Europe will work in the longer term.

    So staying in the EU is going to mean accepting that. What we have now isn’t a viable option for other than the very shortest term. But Is a USE what people really want?

    I’m not sure I do. But more importantly, I don’t think German and Dutch voters want it either. Unless they can be persuaded to recycle their euro surplus, the EU project isn’t going to last much longer.

  • Of course there is the possibility that another vote would result in a bigger defeat for Remain.

  • In just over 500 days EU legislation will no longer apply in the UK. It is incumbent upon parliament to replace that with UK legislation.
    It looks like Frank Field MP has found a definitive, and simple, amendment to solve that transfer between EU and UK law. As such, I have emailed my MP, who is a Brexiteer anyway; asking him to support Frank Field’s very sensible amendment to circumvent this ludicrous 69 pages of wrecking amendments.

    Tom Brake is fooling no-one with this nonsense, moreover, if Tom Brake wants to play fast and loose with this transfer process to a point where we have no legislation in April 2019, it is Tom Brake and his fellow anti- democratic wreckers that will pay the price.
    I just wonder if Tom Brake has considered the social upheaval consequences of his irresponsible attempts to upturn the will of the people and the ‘contract’, of democracy which took place in June 2016?

    Has Tom Brake, and others, thought through, how they are going to force angry Leavers [and it will take force!], to abandon their freedom from EU legislation and go back into EU ‘shackles’?
    If you think Catalonia is unstable right now Mr Brake, just wait until your Brexit thwarting antics stirs the wrath of incandescent Leavers reacting to your Tom-foolery.
    Leavers are NOT going back into their EU chains.

  • Glen,
    Always a possibility as Einstein said
    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”
    However when it comes to a second referendum the leavers absolute terror of the prospect seem to suggest they don’t think a vote to leave is likely. Too many lies exposed, too much pain, no unicorns or sun lit uplands, no EU begging for deals all that is left is we will have less people speaking strange tongues. While that would play well with my racist relatives, it doesn’t bring in the people who voted to stick it to the man, or thought much wouldn’t change or thought this is easy or pain free; in fact everything that “project fear warned you about”. This time cry “project fear” and you are likely to get “it’s project fact, don’t you watch the news”.
    Ah facts what a terrible affliction for a leaver all your hopes dashed as the facts roll on. I remember one telling me not much would change I wonder if he still peddles that tripe.

  • Sheila,
    Mr Farage planned 100,000 man march to set the judges right. Didn’t happen did it, leavers are good at rattling keyboards actually arranging things not good at all at. If we stayed in the EU the comment section of the rabid right wing press would go wild, there would be much spluttering in spoons as they sat drinking their foreign beer and then they’d move on to the footie or latest celebrity scandal leaving a hardcore to rattle their keyboards.

  • Peter Martin 5th Nov '17 - 11:20am

    @ frankie,

    Sorry to be pedantic but the evidence is that Einstein didn’t say this. He never thought the universe was infinite for a start. He would also have appreciated that some humans might be stupid but that the majority weren’t.

    https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/18140/did-einstein-say-two-things-are-infinite-the-universe-and-human-stupidity-and

  • William Fowler
    And I hope ALL British working overseas get a vote too.

  • Frankie.
    As a leave voter, I’m not terrified at all.

  • Frankie.
    Leave voters are mostly far too grown up and small c conservative for marches and that sort of thing. In truth so are most Remain voters. Protests and overt political action is mostly a young persons game and even then it takes a fair amount of organisation to get them to turn up in meaningful numbers.

  • John Probert 5th Nov '17 - 12:08pm

    Unless the nation has voted before March 2019 to ‘exit Brexit’ the shutters will come down. Therefore how many weeks or months before that must Parliament have had sight of the brexit deal and voted to put it to a referendum?

  • To Sheila Gee
    I am not convinced by these threats of blue murder, mayhem, riots etc if the Leavers are thwarted. This is the kind of gangster talk put out by trolls and automated bots. Most people are fed up with Brexit and its constant problems and would be glad to see the back of it. Once Brexit is consigned to the dustbin, the country will heave a sigh of relief and many leavers will probably claim they were Remainers all along.

  • We will leave. You lot live in an echo chamber and convinced by your own voice. Mind you, with your 7%, it’s turning into hushed whispers.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 5th Nov '17 - 2:31pm

    Seila Gee strong, too strongly , in one way

    John King similarly in the other direction.

    The country is divided and it has to unite.

    Compromise is not a dirty word.

    If the EU, offer real change, not the crummy , yes indeed, crums they offered Cameron, we could be associates of the EU, or members of a loosened association, the EU could become.

    Tom Brake, who is our Brexit spokesperson, not foreign affairs which is now Jo Swinson, though we do not hear much on that, needs, with her, to stop the Europhilia and get to some constructive criticism and get talking to Christian Linder and other Europeans with some ideas about a new kind of relationship between countries in that organisation.

  • Glen,
    So organising marches is beneath you or is it beyond you? Either way it says little for the passion of the brave Brexiteers. As to not being afraid I believe you, after all in the IPPOSMORI opinion poll of the 27th October 32% thought May had done a good job in handling the exit from the EU,the problem for you brave Brexiteers is that is down from 51% in December 2016. So slowly the brave Brexiteers false optimism is being chipped away and as facts hit you hard in the coming months I expect that number to drop. In the end I expect only the deeply delusional and to be blunt the people who don’t think to be clustered round Brexit desperately waving their plastic Union Jacks dreaming of Agent Doris leading the revolt of the European Plebs while mounted on a Unicorn, Admiral Wee Mogg leading his gunboat squadrons too blockade Europe while Tinkerbell leads us all in a rendition of Rule Britannia.

  • Lorenzo,

    Compromise isn’t going to happen at least not in the way you want. Both sides have too much invested, perhaps only Brexit happening and being the disaster it will be will resolve it. It will however be at a high price as being a Brexiteer will become a mark of shame and they will try to avoid this by invoking the “stab in the back” defence.

  • And when we leave Jay will you still be around to justify the chaos, I rather think you won’t. Like many a Brexiteer you will be gone.

  • Frankie,
    Not really.
    Sill not got beyond taunts, I see.

  • Glen,
    You and your fellow leavers opened the Pandora’s box of Brexit. Out popped all manner of ills amongst them a badly split country. You only have to look at the comment sections of papers to see the mutual loathing of Remoaners and Brexiteers. This will get worse as the consequences of Brexit roll on, so I’m afraid complaining about taunts is something we are going to have to get used too in this badly split country heading for the hardships of Brexit. Perhaps you should have thought about the consequences before voting for it. On the plus side at least we will have to face the failures of this country we could previously blame on the EU. I await with interest how Brexiteers will justify our failures “stab in the back” perhaps or just a failure to believe in unicorns and fairies.

  • Frankie.
    Comments section of newspapers are full of bluster and the kinds of people who comment in newspaper comment sections. Most people are not actually like that at all, Lack civility, insults and so on are the reason lots of comment sections are being closed down.
    I don’t think the country is anymore divided than it’s ever been and probably less than it was in 2010-2011 or during the invasion of Iraq. There have been no large scale clashes, no large protests and no riots inspired over this issue. I suspect it’s because the EU had mostly the tepid support of people who simply feared the consequences of leaving it and that the alleged divisions are being hyped way above the collective shrug the evidence seems to suggest is the more universal reaction. Sure, you’ve got angry writers and their equally angry commentators, but the former are paid to produces some sort of outraged comment in a professional capacity about once a week and the people reacting are pretty much caught on the click-bait wiggling in front of their tentacles. in my experience there’s not much real friction over the EU vote.

  • Little Jackie Paper 5th Nov '17 - 9:51pm

    frankie – ‘You only have to look at the comment sections of papers to see the mutual loathing of Remoaners and Brexiteers.’

    You might have a loathing, I certainly don’t have any ill will towards remainers.

    I think some are starry-eyed, some are living in the past, some are honourable and some are people with whom I have an old-style political disagreement. I think some on both sides of the argument spend too long on internet chat boards.

    The rest of us who live life away from the keyboards get on with the business of living, working and supporting people from our communities wherever they may originate. That, not tapping away on the internet with some unhealthly pent-up loathing, is what I get a kick out of. For almost two decades I’ve helped, supported, housed and financed people from a variety of places and referendum or no I’ll carry on regardless. If some remainers loathe me…well I’m old and wise enough to take it on the chin.

  • Jackie,

    I don’t loath the majority of Brexiteers on the whole,however a few like Boris and Co I do. As to the rest I tend to think of them in the main as deluded and not overly bright; I’m afraid I see nothing in yours or Glens posts to change my mind. But I’m sure you disagree and as it is still thankfully a democracy we can agree to disagree.

    The proof of the pudding will be in the eating and I suspect by the end of Brexit we will be sick of Brexit pudding, but at least i didn’t order it even if I have to eat it; I’m afraid you won’t be able to say the same.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 6th Nov '17 - 2:08am

    I voted Remain

    I have more in common with Little Jackie, including liking Peter, paul and Mary’s song, than with Antony herein, this is not UKIP in reverse , there were Liberals , Democrats , social liberals and social democrats before the EU !

    Little Jackie , who are you , why the fantastical lyrical name ?

    Antony , why are you insisting on a divisive approach to this issue , when our policy unites us and our attitude needs to unite our country , and yours does not !What do you think the Brexiteers are going to do if parliament with no say , for the public, just blocks Brexit.

    It is not going to happen because Labour mps like to win, and it is why they are ,despite Brexit, and why , principled or not, as I told Alan Simpson, who most definitely is principled, an excellent left wing former mp for my constituency , chatting to him , now he is advising Corbyn on sustainability, Corbyn’s stance on Brexit is a winner electorally ! Corbyn and Alan Simpson are to the left of me , but if there is one thing they have grasped more than they did , in their later sixties, which I grasped at sixteen, you need to win to do things in politics ! Remain in the EU lost the referendum. Compromise , go for a looser arrangement Europe wide, respect the voters , or see this party disappear!!!

    Some of us on the centre left , would rather engage with reality than fantasy.

    But Little Jackie here is no more fantastical than Antony and a good deal less, despite the name, unless compromise and persuasion is joined ,with respect and understanding, of our voters , our country and the reality of the mood across Europe.

    Zero hours contracts , massive inequality , poor public services , bad housing, of refugee crises , none of these have been addressed by the national governments of EU countries or the organisation , so many are obsessed with.

    There is a party in Italy, the 5* movement , who are only mildly antagonistic to the EU bureaucracy, they are gaining ground as are the right there, and that country is going the route of this , blaming the EU .

    Macron is well aware that France is disgruntled.

    Christian Linders Free Democrats in coalition are for our continent loosening up.

    Get with it , it is reform , not remain only , or it is Brexit !

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 6th Nov '17 - 7:01am

    Little Jackie Paper, like Lorenzo I am extremely curious about why you chose that name. Of course you don’t need to tell us any details about yourself if you would rather not. But could you possibly explain something about what symbolic meaning the character “Little Jackie Paper”, and the lovely but sad song, may have for you? What is the “dragon” that you may have grown out of or ceased to believe in?

  • “I am not convinced by these threats of blue murder, mayhem, riots etc if the Leavers are thwarted.”

    It’s less about riots and more about refusal to comply, to a point where multiple ‘non-compliers’ can grind the legal system to a halt.

    Back around 2001 a greengrocer in Sunderland was prosecuted for selling a pound (lb) of bananas. Whilst it didn’t cause a riot, it did open the undercurrent of a major resentment between the British people and what was becoming a ‘busybody’ EU.
    ‘Banana-gate’ never really got fully resolved and even today you can buy a kilo of rice, a pint of beer and at your local diy store, people still ask for 2 metres of 3” x 2”.

    Once we stop being a member of the EU in April 2019, EU laws and regulations will not legally apply to citizens in the UK. That is a fact.
    So, if you thought the greengrocers ‘banana-gate’ was a minor historic rumpus you aint seen nothing yet, if Tom Brake and his troublemakers get their way.

    Imagine [as one example], that your car fails its MOT in April 2019 on some technicality. If you can show legally, that the technicality is derived from some EU regulation [which now doesn’t apply], you can legally challenge the validity of that MOT decision.
    And that is the mere tip of a chaotic iceberg that Tom Brake is now invoking. So Tom Brake and his fellow troublemakers really need to think through what they are doing, because in 500 day I will be fully [legally!], entitled to refuse to abide by EU laws and regulations.

    So if this foolish parliamentary tug-o-war creates a ‘legal vacuum’ in April 2019, has Tom factored in the massive cost of legal challenges, court time and maybe even prison places for those like me who will adamantly refuse to comply with EU laws that don’t apply to me as an ex-EU citizen 500 days from now?

  • Back around 2001 a greengrocer in Sunderland was prosecuted for selling a pound (lb) of bananas. Whilst it didn’t cause a riot, it did open the undercurrent of a major resentment between the British people and what was becoming a ‘busybody’ EU.

    Sheila – this problem was totally manufactured at and by Westminster and not a ‘busybody’ EU. Westminster for reasons best known only to itself decided not to recognise Imperial weights and measures as being legal in the UK, thus making metric weights the only legally recognised system. You will still find things such as milk being sold as 1 pint etc. but the container will always carry the metric equivalent weight.

    The reason why so many supposedly intelligent people resent the EU, is because they have been fooled! I’m not defending the EU but simply pointing out that many Brexiteers have allowed themselves to be manipulated into believing an urban myth.

    Imagine [as one example], that your car fails its MOT in April 2019 on some technicality. If you can show legally, that the technicality is derived from some EU regulation [which now doesn’t apply], you can legally challenge the validity of that MOT decision.

    The derivation is irrelevant, if the regulation is contained within a UK statute then your car will still have failed according to UK law. The only issue arises where the relevant UK statute references EU law or regulation (ie. UK law contains a clause of the form “permitted emissions are as defined by EU regulation xyz”.

    So if this foolish parliamentary tug-o-war You wish the Executive to exercise the rule of monarchy? So you don’t believe in the sovereignty of Parliament then?

  • “I’m not defending the EU but simply pointing out that many Brexiteers have allowed themselves to be manipulated into believing an urban myth.”

    Which urban myth?

  • @ Sheila G “Which urban myth?”

    Well, how about this for starters ?

    £ 350 million per week for the NHS……. which within two weeks of the referendum a certain Farage N (who, with Johnson B. had repeated that canard) denied.

    “24 JUNE 2016 The Daily Telegraph…….. Nigel Farage has admitted that it was a “mistake” to promise that £350 million a week would be spent on the NHS if the UK backed a Brexit vote.

  • @Shilea Gee – “Which urban myth?”
    I see English comprehension isn’t a strong point. From the context of my comment, it was the example you gave -where many believe ‘banana-gate’ was caused by the ‘busybody’ EU and not our own ‘sovereign’ government.

  • Roland
    “I see English comprehension isn’t a strong point. From the context of my comment, it was the example you gave -where many believe ‘banana-gate’ was caused by the ‘busybody’ EU and not our own ‘sovereign’ government.”

    Your unnecessary puerile insults aside, I see that the crucial point that you missed, was that the government did not ‘manufacture’ the weights and measures issue ‘for some reasons best known to itself’, but on instructions from the EU the directive ‘The Units of Measurement Regulations 1994’, with which it was forced to comply with legally as a member state.

    From a BBC report of the day:

    “Trading standards officers seized Mr Thoburn’s scales from his market stall in Southwick, Sunderland, on 4 July 2000, following the introduction of the EU directive.”
    It was not an urban myth. It actually happened, and was the precursor to the EU’s overbearing and unasked for, regulatory interference in British affairs.

    So just 509 days to go, and thank [who ever is your God], that we’re finally leaving this EU mess and won’t have to put up with these gangsters and their laws anymore.

  • Peter Hirst 7th Nov '17 - 1:22pm

    If we are going to have a second referendum, shouldn’t we be discussing the details we would like like expanding the franchise to 16 & 17 year olds, eu citizens living here and uk citizens living abroad. What about thresholds, turnout, strengthening the commission to prevent untruths. And what about the implications? Will it be advisory and if so how will the process unfold? The electorate deserve a much clearer process if we expect them to participate.

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