We believe that the British people should have their say on the final Brexit deal in a referendum.
By Tim Farron MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, 7 September 2016
Today I set out the Liberal Democrat plan for Britain in Europe. At its heart, we demand that the British people should have their say on the final deal in a referendum.
To be clear, this would not be a re-run of the last referendum but an opportunity for the British people to have their say on what comes next. Voting for a departure is not the same as voting for a destination.
Theresa May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ mantra actually doesn’t mean very much at all. We have still had no answers the big questions about Britain’s future.
"Theresa May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ mantra actually doesn’t mean very much at all."
Will our businesses still have access to the Single Market, with all the benefits in brings for British jobs and our economy?
What will happen to freedom of movement, not just for Europeans who want to live and work here but for Brits who want to live and work in Europe?
What will happen to the British citizens who already live, work and study on the continent or EU citizens who have made their lives in the UK?
What will it mean for the science and research funding that keeps British science at the cutting edge?
These are just some of the hundreds of unresolved questions.
Our relationship with Europe affects our jobs and our economy, our security, our ability to tackle terrorism and climate change and so much more. The British people have a right to know the answers and they have a right to have their say on whether the deal being offered to them is right for them, their family, their community and our country.
In the meantime, the Government needs an Opposition, and Labour have abandoned the field.
Under Jeremy Corbyn they are hopelessly divided, have no plan for the economy and are clearly unfit for government. They just aren’t doing their job.
So if they won’t, we will.
We will be the real voice of opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government. We will hold Theresa May to account over Brexit, expose the lies that Boris Johnson and co told during the referendum and make sure that whatever deal they try to do is as good for the UK’s economy, security and standing in the world as possible.
And let me be clear: I don’t believe there is any deal that Theresa May can do that will be better for Britain than being a member of the European Union. So when people are given that choice, we will make the case loudly and clearly that we believe Britain should stay in the European Union.
"We will make the case loudly and clearly that we believe Britain should stay in the European Union."
We believed that Britain is better off inside the European Union the day before the referendum, we believed it the day after the referendum and we believe it today. We may have lost the referendum but that doesn’t change what we believe is right for the United Kingdom.
People have been let down for decades by short-termist politicians who put the needs of one part of society above the rest.
Now, in the wake of the Brexit vote those divisions are more exposed than ever before.
With our country facing huge challenges – from inequality and injustice to an NHS in crisis and an economy in jeopardy – we are left with a reckless, divisive and uncaring Conservative Government and Labour fighting among themselves.
That’s why the Liberal Democrats are needed more than ever. We are the real voice of opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and the only party fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.