by derekdeedman on 9 February, 2017
“Last night Labour MPs backed the Conservatives in voting to trigger Article 50, the start of the formal process of Britain leaving the European Union.
They did so even though Theresa May has chosen to pursue a hard Brexit, which will mean ripping Britain out of the single market – something that no one voted for last June.
They did so without securing any guarantees that the government will be subject to proper scrutiny throughout the negotiation.
I respect the outcome of the referendum, but I have not changed my view that Britain is best in Europe.
Throughout this process in the House of Commons, the Liberal Democrats have tried to make changes to the government’s plans to make sure that you, the people, get the final say on the Brexit deal.
Your support was vital in ensuring that many MPs backed our amendment, but unfortunately, despite your support and hard work too many Labour and the Conservative MPs voted against our amendment tonight.
MPs have voted to trigger article, so, what’s next?
Tonight’s vote isn’t the end of the process. Over the next few weeks, Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords will seek to make changes to the government’s plans.
Our goal will be to protect Britain’s membership of the single market, protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and to give the people the final say on Theresa May’s deal.
If we do not succeed and the people will not get a final say on the deal, then when MPs get to vote on these plans again Liberal Democrats will again vote against triggering article 50.
Even once the Government has triggered Article 50 we will keep on campaigning all the way through the negotiations.
Your support for our campaigns to keep Britain in the single market, guarantee a referendum on the final Brexit deal, give EU citizens the right to stay, save the Erasmus program, has been invaluable over the last few months and together, we are a powerful voice arguing against a hard Brexit.
I’m so grateful for everything that members like you have done since the referendum – you’ve powered an incredible fightback that’s seen tens of thousands of new members join, 28 local by-election gains, two fantastic by-election results in Witney and Sleaford and elected Sarah Olney in Richmond Park.
Everything you’ve done makes me proud to be your leader, and I know that greater things are still to come. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
PS: I know many people across Britain who share our values will be angry and disappointed by tonight’s vote – if you know any, then please invite them to join our fightback – find out how you can help here: www.libdems.org.uk/ask-to-join
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