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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

Exit from Brexit: We Demand a Vote on the Facts

Our local campaign in Brighton & Hove

We are campaigning to raise awareness of the Liberal Democrat position on Europe and to build visible demand for a referendum on the terms of Brexit, with the option to change our minds and stay in the EU. In the previous referendum, key groups were excluded - 16 and 17 year olds, who have to live with the result the longest, as well as EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens abroad - so we are also campaigning for these groups to be given the vote this time around.

Exit from Brexit march seafront 24th Sept 2017

The British public have been given no say in the direction of Brexit negotiations: the views of Remainers (68.6% of Brighton & Hove) and moderate Leavers alike have been ignored in favour of the views of a handful of extremists on the right of the Conservatives. This only makes it even more important that the people have the final say on whether to accept whatever deal, or lack thereof, the government can negotiate. If there is enough visible demand, Westminster will listen and give the people the final say.

We demand a referendum on the final terms of Brexit, we demand a referendum on facts rather than the false promises of 2016, we demand our democratic right to change our mind. We can still secure a democratic #ExitFromBrexit.

"If Britain changes its mind, it would find an open door." Guy Verhofstadt, EU Parliament Brexit representative.

"If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy." David Davis, UK Brexit Secretary.

Brighton and Hove LibDem members at a street stall on 2018-01-23

How to get involved

We hold a stall on New Road, by the Unitarian Church, the last Tuesday of every month from 6pm-7pm to discuss Brexit and distribute leaflets. Come along if you're interested, the more the merrier!

We've also designed a window poster. You can download a digital copy here to print at home or pick up a copy at our monthly EU stall.

If you're a party member and are interested in joining the EU campaign group, please contact us by email.

Pro-EU March at 2017 Labour Conference

Nationally: Lib Dem EU policy

The Liberal Democrats have two key policies regarding Brexit:

  • A referendum on the terms of Brexit.

The 2016 referendum gave the British people no say in the final shape of our relationship with Europe. Some Leave campaigners suggested remaining in the EU's Single Market (the Norway model), others suggested a looser free trade agreement with the European Union (the Canada model) and still others suggested trading with the rest of Europe solely on World Trade Organisation terms (the Mauritania model).

As such, the Liberal Democrats propose a referendum on the final deal of Brexit, to be held in December 2018, rather than having these important decisions decided solely behind closed doors in Westminster. This would allow the British public to accept the Brexit deal negotiated by the government or reject it and make an Exit from Brexit.

  • Minimising the damage of Brexit, if it goes ahead.

The Liberal Democrats believe that any Brexit is harmful, with recent reports commissioned by the Mayor of London, the Scottish Government and even leaked reports from the UK government vindicating this view, and that leaving the European Union hurts our standing in the world as well as our economy. However, if Brexit cannot be averted we believe that we should minimise the damage and protect our rights by remaining members of both the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Read more here.

EU News

  • Article: Feb 15, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    If this speech was supposed to offer an olive branch to Remainers, Boris must have picked up the other version.

    A clear majority of Remain and Leave voters oppose the damaging hard Brexit Boris so vigorously advocates.

    They do not want job cuts triggered by tougher trading conditions with our largest export market or life-threatening uncertainty at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Boris's antipathy towards the common rules and standards which apply within the EU, and to trade within the EU, is in stark contrast to Brexiters head-long rush to adopt common standards with the US which would require the UK to accept chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-fed beef, GMO products and potentially open up the NHS to US private health companies.

    If Boris is seeking to establish himself as the standard bearer of liberalism, he should dump plans to come out of the Single Market and Customs Union and campaign to stay in the world's largest free trade area.

  • VInce Cable
    Article: Feb 6, 2018
    By Vince Cable

    Vince Cable has written to Jeremy Corbyn to ask him to put the Labour party in line with its own supporters and support a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

    Here is the text in full:

    Jeremy Corbyn
    Leader of HM Opposition
    House of Commons
    London, SW1A 0AA

    2nd February 2018

    Dear Jeremy,

    I am writing to you about Brexit, because I was dismayed by your interview with Andrew Marr last Sunday, when you reiterated your personal objection to letting the British people have their say on the Conservatives' Brexit deal.

  • A sign pointing to passport control, with people climbing a flight of stairs in the background.
    Article: Feb 2, 2018

    Leaked government Brexit analysis reveals that the cost to the British economy of cutting migration from the EU would be significantly greater than the benefits brought by a US trade deal.

    The negative impact of a stricter immigration policy would be far bigger than the 0.2% boost to economic growth that a US trade deal is calculated to bring.

  • The union flag flying next to the EU flag.
    Article: Feb 1, 2018

    With a Prime Minister pandering to the extremists on the right of her party; delivering up the most divisive, extreme version of Brexit imaginable and Corbyn's Labour Party sitting on its hands, letting the bumbling Tories off the hook - we are needed more than ever.

    The Liberal Democrats are the only political party in the UK offering a different, brighter future when it comes to our relationship with Europe.

  • Bills
    Article: Jan 30, 2018

    A hard Brexit that would see Britain no longer trade energy in the Internal Energy Market is likely to increase British energy bills, the House of Lords' EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee is expected to say on Monday.

    Britain could also face energy supply shortages, while the lack of access to EU labour is a threat to the construction of a new generation of civil nuclear sites.

  • A screen at the stockmarket showing values rising and falling.
    Article: Jan 28, 2018
    By Vince Cable

    The government must urgently spell out its aims from the second phase of EU negotiations and on transitional arrangements, the Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has warned.

    The committee has warned of market fragmentation and financial instability if the UK loses access to the EU through no deal, particularly damaging Britain's financial services industry.

    Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein, for example, warned this week that it is reaching a point in contingency planning where it will be too late to stop the group from leaving the UK.

    This is a serious warning from a respected committee. Philip Hammond's comments this week that the UK and EU economies will diverge only 'very modestly' shows he is desperate to reassure the City that nothing is really going to change.

    But obviously things will. Serious business people will, therefore, be assessing their options, including whether or not to relocate to other EU countries.

    The Conservatives must stop their infighting and at least draw up some kind of coherent plan on what they want from Brexit talks.

  • The union flag flying next to the EU flag.
    Article: Jan 27, 2018

    An ICM poll for The Guardian has shown that Brits favour a referendum on the terms of Brexit by a 13 point margin. Once 'don't knows' are taken out, this rises 58% in support to 42% against.

    The evidence is mounting that the British people want a vote on the terms of any deal to leave the European Union.

  • Brighton and Hove LibDem members at a street stall on 2018-01-23
    Article: Jan 24, 2018
    By Carrie Hynds, Hove PPC

    On Tuesday evening I joined several inspiring local volunteers who braved a cold, wet, dark January day to run the first monthly Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrat EU street stall.

    It was worth it because there's a very important message to communicate: we can still secure a democratic exit from Brexit. We can show Westminster we want a referendum on the facts.

  • Article: Jan 22, 2018
    By Nick Hopkinson, chair of the Liberal Democrat European Group

    What are the prospects for a referendum on the terms of any deal and an early General Election stemming from the ongoing Brexit crisis?

    Nigel Farage recently toyed with the possibility of a 'second' referendum. Whilst ostensibly suggesting it might settle the Brexit debate for a generation, his real motivation is to have a referendum before the poor withdrawal deal being negotiated becomes obvious to a substantial majority of voters, and while the two largest parties maintain their 'have your cake and eat it too' support for Brexit. Some argue, perhaps even more importantly, that a referendum allows Farage another chance to be in the national spotlight, perhaps again as UKIP leader.

  • A pen marking an X in a box.
    Article: Jan 19, 2018
    By Rhiannon Leaman

    In this year's local elections, EU Citizens can vote. For many of them, it'll be their one and only chance to make their voice heard on Brexit at the ballot box.

    And in many places, winning the EU citizen's vote could be a big boost to a Liberal Democrat campaign.

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  • Wera Hobhouse (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Jan 17, 2018
    By Wera Hobhouse in Liiberal Democrat Voice

    There are two democratic principles that, taken together, demand a referendum on the deal. The first is that a democratic decision should be enforced, and the second is that no democratic decision has an indefinite mandate.

    The first principle, taken alone, is being used by the Conservatives and Labour to oppose a referendum on the deal. This is the argument:

  • The flags of EU countries flying.
    Article: Jan 12, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    Brexit could cause the UK to lose half a million jobs and nearly £50bn in investment by 2030, a report commissioned by Sadiq Khan has found.

    The London Mayor said the government should negotiate to stay in the single market and customs union.

    It comes days after Jeremy Corbyn refused to attend a cross-party summit on keeping the UK in the single market.

    This bombshell report should make obligatory bedtime reading for Jeremy Corbyn.

    Half a million jobs could be a lost as a result of the hard Brexit that Corbyn has ordered his MPs to vote for.

    The Labour leadership must listen to the Mayor of London and back efforts to minimise the impact of Brexit by keeping Britain in the Single Market and Customs Union.

    It's also crucial that the option of an exit from Brexit is kept on the table through a vote on the deal.

    We can protect jobs and living standards against a botched Conservative Brexit, but only if Labour comes off the fence.

  • Vince Cable (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Jan 10, 2018
    By Vince Cable MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

    This morning I attended the Single Market Summit, the start of a cross-party initiative between opposition leaders to oppose the Conservatives' hard Brexit.

    To the anger of many Labour MPs - and to my great disappointment, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to attend.

    What is disappointing is that the Labour leadership has declined to take part in this summit

  • Nick Clegg
    Article: Jan 7, 2018

    Nick Clegg fears the Government will give Parliament an incomplete Brexit deal to vote on. "The government's clear intention is to try and lull parliament into signing away the future before it has spelled out what that future holds," the former deputy PM told Business Insider this week.

    Nick Clegg believes the Government will sideline Parliament by putting an incomplete Brexit deal to the vote on at the end of Article 50 talks.

  • Article: Dec 20, 2017

    Britain should have an EU referendum on the final deal in December in 2018. There would be a 12-week campaign starting in September to give the UK the option to accept a deal or stay in the EU.

    This would be compatible with the tight timetable of EU withdrawal, falling within the article 50 timeframe of two years, which will end in March 2019.

  • Article: Dec 11, 2017

    Responding to the news a Brexit deal has been agreed by Theresa May and the EU in Brussels, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

    "This agreement is welcome as it reduces the risk of a catastrophic No Deal Brexit. It also includes a role for the EU Court of Justice for eight years, a notable concession.

    "But how long will this deal last before it is torn apart by Theresa May's own MPs? And what will happen next, seeing as the Cabinet hasn't even discussed yet what the final Brexit outcome should look like?

    "There are still two opposing views in government, those who want a close arrangement with the EU and those who want to tear apart decades of work building ties with our closest trading partner.

    "And there is still no solution over how to prevent a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The biggest obstacle to the government's Brexit plans is being kicked into the long grass.

    "The government is still a long way from a final deal, and even further from delivering on what the Brexiters promised.

    "At the end of this process it is the British people, not Tory MPs and the DUP, who should get to decide whether the deal is good enough."

  • Nick Clegg
    Article: Dec 4, 2017
    By Dorian Lynskey in The Guardian

    The former deputy PM and the Nobel prize winner discuss the EU, business and Trump

    Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in October, for work that has "built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making". While traditional economics assumes that people are rational actors, Thaler explores the consequences of irrationality, bias and error, and proposes ways that governments, through mechanisms as simple as changing the phrasing on a form, can encourage, or "nudge", smarter decision-making. Nudge, the 2008 bestseller he wrote with Cass Sunstein, introduced the influential concept of "choice architecture", while his 2015 book Misbehaving was a personal history of behavioural economics. As the author Michael Lewis put it, he's "the economist who realised how crazy we are".

  • Article: Nov 30, 2017

    The Brexit divorce bill will just be the down-payment on an economically disastrous extreme Brexit that would take us out of the single market and customs union.

    Around £45 billion would appear to be the price Johnson and Gove et al are willing to pay for a deluded vision of an imperial Britain post-Brexit.

    This vision already sees the UK with higher inflation and debt, falling investment and less influence in the world.

    And this acrimonious divorce settlement will merely be the down payment.

    The hit to the UK economy of pulling out of the single market and customs threatens to dwarf this £45bn, with falling tax revenues and companies leaving the UK.

    Only the Lib Dems are fighting to save Britain's free trade with its largest market and to give the people a say on the final deal.

  • Article: Nov 29, 2017

    The government's refusal to publish its Brexit impact assessments is "completely untenable". Speaker John Bercow said he will respond promptly to any allegations of contempt of Parliament.

    This whole farce has descended into a scene straight out of Yes Minister.

    After David Davis repeatedly stated there were 57 detailed impact assessments, ministers now claim these reports never even existed in this form.

    Editing these reports is a breach of the agreement reached with MPs, meaning action over contempt of Parliament now looms.

    If the government really believes in its own Brexit plans, why are they so scared of publishing these reports in full?

    The public deserve to know what Brexit means for their jobs, incomes and communities. They must then be offered a vote on the deal with a chance to exit from Brexit.

  • Article: Nov 27, 2017

    Speaking on the Today programme, Australian trade minister Steve Cobbio criticised the government's post-Brexit trade plans to split food import quotas between the UK and the EU.

    Listen to the report:

    Yet again the government has been warned that isolating ourselves from the EU is not the straightforward panacea dreamt of by Brextremists.

    There are real concerns that the UK is going to struggle to strike any deals that come remotely close to the benefits we enjoy as a member of the EU.

    This is another reason why the British public must have a vote on the terms of this messy divorce, including the option of an Exit from Brexit.

  • Article: Nov 15, 2017

    On the face of it, this seems like a major concession. But the reality is it simply isn't good enough.

    First of all, David Davis has said that even if Parliament votes down the deal, the UK will still leave the EU. This means MPs are essentially being told to take it or leave it.

    Secondly, the government is agreeing to give MPs a say on the final Brexit deal but not the public.

  • Article: Nov 14, 2017

    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 we're asking you to contact your MP and ask them to support four amendments (you can find out more about the amendments below).

  • Tom Brake (By Chris McAndrew - https://api20170418155059.azure-api.net/photo/bhDYT87s.jpeg?crop=CU_1:1&quality=80&download=trueGallery: https://beta.parliament.uk/media/bhDYT87s, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61321850)
    Article: Nov 6, 2017
    By Tom Brake in Liberal Democrat Voice

    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.

  • Article: Oct 28, 2017

    New research by the LSE's Centre for Economic Performance and the Liberal Democrats has revealed just how damaging a no deal Brexit will be to our City.

    A no deal Brexit will mean an economic hit of £1.96 billion to over the first five years after we fall out of the EU.

    David Davis and other members of the cabinet have recently been talking up a no deal Brexit, but this data shows that the country simply couldn't afford it.

    If the UK exits the EU in March 2019 without a deal, Britain's economic output (gross value added) in the five years after Brexit would be reduced by 5.3%, or £430 billion.

    Even if the UK agreed to a Norway style arrangement with full single market access, this would still result in a reduction to five-year economic output of 2.9%, or £235 billion.

    Local LibDem Parliamentary Candidate Carrie Hynds said:

    "These figures are a real indictment of the government's strategy. David Davis is still talking up the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, yet these figures suggest that would cost Brighton and Hove a ruinous £1.96 billion over five years. Even a relatively soft Brexit could cost the City over £1 billion in lost economic activity.

    "The government must rule out a no-deal to end the uncertainty and confirm its commitment to stay in the single market and customs union.

  • Article: Oct 22, 2017
    By Paul Chandler, 2017 election agent for Brighton and Hove LibDems.

    There was recently an interesting article in the Financial Times based around an Ipsos Mori opinion poll on why people voted the way they did in the EU Referendum. The poll took the temperature among 4,000 voters.

    They have discerned six types of voter in the EU Referendum. Here they are with the percentage of the electorate they represent: