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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

Exit from Brexit: We Demand a Vote on the Facts

Stop Brexit march in London 23rd March 2019

Our campaign in Brighton & Hove

Three days after the EU referendum on 23rd June 2016, the Liberal Democrats vowed to stop Brexit. In Brighton and Hove, the Liberal Democrats held 21 "Exit from Brexit - We demand a vote on the facts" demonstrations, as well as joining other local pro-EU groups in their demonstrations, street stalls, marches, rallies and even a Eurovision Flash Mob.

During the Liberal Democrat 2018 party conference in Brighton, we organised with Brighton & Hove for EU a Carnival of EUnity, and we took part in two rallies during the 2019 Labour party conference. Brighton & Hove Lib Dems were among hundreds of thousands marching through central London three times on three separate occasions.

It was a remarkable and sustained effort, replicated by pro-EU groups and members of various political parties from Shetland to Gibraltar, and the EU Campaign Committee can never thank enough all those who helped in myriad ways, including Sussex Police, which kept everyone safe on numerous occasions. We worked closely with other political parties and were fortunate to have three excellent local MPs supporting the People's Vote campaign.

At a Grassroots for Europe conference in January earlier this year, The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve, former Conservative MP and Attorney-General, shared with the audience his experience of canvassing during December 2019 in his Beaconsfield constituency: "On the doorstep, Leavers wanted to leave because they wanted to leave because they wanted to leave. Three years of argument had entrenched an opinion that was no longer based on reality."

So where now for Remainers? In the last election, 53% of votes cast were for parties that wanted a People's Vote. It's generally agreed that even mentioning the word "rejoin" at this stage would be to invite ridicule (and worse, given the current medical crisis). Best for Britain reports that the Government is considering an extension to the transition period beyond 31st December 2020.

Our south-east Liberal Democrat MEPs ended their farewell letter by saying that " ... the case for the UK to be a member [of the EU] once again is strong and may only get stronger. If there is a change of government, then a new Prime Minister could start a national conversation leading to re-joining. Liberal Democrats have a vital role in bringing about that change through grassroots campaigning and holding the government to account as they negotiate a new relationship with the EU."

At a local level, the Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrats will continue to be an unambiguously pro-EU party and put together an action plan for the future. However, the entire world is now focused on combating COVID-19 and alleviating the economic consequences. Politics are laid aside for the moment and we hope you, your families and your friends stay well.

Exit from Brexit march seafront 24th Sept 2017

Nationally: Lib Dem EU policy

At a national level, the Liberal Democrats' Federal International Relations Committee has decided that "Europe must remain a key focus of the Liberal Democrats' attention, despite Brexit, critically analysing how the Government is handling the evolving situation. The Committee's Brexit sub-committee, established after the 2016 EU Referendum, will be resuscitated to help this process."

"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.

EU News

  • UK - Europe
    Article: Sep 28, 2020

    We're in the final stretch of the 2020 Autumn Conference with Day 4 now underway. But yesterday saw the biggest day yet with four policy motion debates, an emergency motion on planning and a speech from Leader of the Scottish Lib Dems Willie Rennie.

    Here's what you might have missed on Day 3, as well as what's coming up today, the last day of Autumn Conference.

  • EU Flag
    Article: Jun 12, 2020

    Responding to reports the UK Government will tell the EU on Friday it is not going to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period, Brighton & Hove Lib Dems member Caroline Brown, who last month joined with Grassroots for Europe to write to Hilary Benn as chair of the Brexit Committee in the wake of Michael Gove's appearance before them, said:

  • Article: Jun 10, 2020

    Brighton & Hove Lib Dems have written a joint letter in conjunction with Grassroots to Europe, as follows:

    LETTER TO RT. HON. HILARY BENN, MP, CHAIR

    COMMITTEE ON THE FUTURE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION

    Dear Mr Benn

    GOVERNMENT'S NEGOTIATIONS WITH EUROPEAN UNION DURING TRANSITION PERIOD

    The Government's response of 23rd April 2020 to a petition, "Extend the transition; delay the negotiations until after the coronavirus outbreak", included an exchange of letters between you and Mr Gove after he had appeared before your select committee. We appreciate the hard work on this incredibly complex issue that you and your committee have undertaken and we should be grateful if you would kindly follow up on our behalf some of the points raised in that correspondence.

  • Ed Davey
    Article: Apr 15, 2020

    Responding to news that the UK Government is not seeking an extension to the Brexit transition period Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

    "Right now, in their own words, the Government are 'straining every sinew' to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and yet Ministers are still struggling to deliver on their promises on testing and protective equipment.

    "To press ahead with Brexit on the previous timetable - already recklessly fast - is just irresponsible and shows a fundamental disregard for the UK's national interest.

    "The Government must stop putting ideology before all else - including lives - and start working pragmatically with our European neighbours, some of whom the Government could clearly learn lessons from.

    "Surely even hardline Brexiteers want the negotiation process to succeed and to give it the attention it needs - and that just isn't possible during this dangerous and damaging pandemic."

  • Jo Swinson
    Article: Sep 18, 2019

    21 years on from my first Liberal Democrat conference, I am thrilled to stand before you today as your leader.

    I'm delighted to see so many old friends who have kept the torch of liberalism burning bright through troubled times.

    And I'm excited to welcome thousands of new members to our cause,

    Flocking to the Liberal Democrats as the clear rallying point for a movement to create an open, fair, inclusive society.

  • Jo Swinson MP
    Article: Jun 30, 2019

    We are so close to stopping Brexit.

    In the three years since we started our calls for a People's Vote on the final deal, your hard work has taken it from a fringe view in British politics to a position that is now advocated by millions of people, and so many more MPs across both sides of the House of Commons.

  • B&H Lib Dems campaign in Euro elections
    Article: May 29, 2019

    The Liberal Democrats have secured the best ever European Election result in the party's history, returning 16 MEPs nationally and taking second place in vote share.

    Lib Dems and Greens both beat the Brexit Party in Brighton and Hove and Labour came 4th.

    Local election agent Paul Chandler said: "Many thanks to all in the city who voted Lib Dem today. We realise that for some people this is the first time they have voted Lib Dem. Please, don't make it the last!"

    In the South East Region we have returned 3 MEPs on 26% of the vote, finishing in second place. We secured 8% in 2014 and our previous best result was 15.3%.

  • Article: May 10, 2019

    We have a chance on May 23rd to send a very loud message to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

    They're trying to cobble together a deal to get Brexit over the line and we need to tell them that the "will of the people" has changed. A recent YouGov poll showed 61% of people would vote to remain versus May's deal - there is no longer a majority in the country for Brexit!

  • Article: May 9, 2019

    The Liberal Democrats will fight these elections as an unapologetically pro-European Party campaigning hard for People's Vote with an option to remain in the the EU.

    We are determined to give a voice to the millions of people who demand better than Brexit Britain.

    We've announced a strong, diverse mix of candidates, from those who've joined the Liberal Democrats recently to those with long experience of the European Parliament.

  • Article: Apr 24, 2019

    Five reasons to vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections on 23rd May.

    1. To vote against Brexit

    The Liberal Democrats are the only nation-wide party to have been fighting Brexit since the very beginning.

    We've spent three years campaigning for a People's Vote with an option to remain in the EU.

  • Catherine Bearder (Catherine Bearder)
    Article: Apr 19, 2019
    By Vince Cable

    The Liberal Democrats will fight these elections as an unapologetically pro-European Party campaigning hard for People's Vote with an option to remain in the the EU.

    We will fight these elections on a clear message: a Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit.

    Across the country, the strength of our membership of 100,000 is being deployed to prepare for both the European elections and for council elections. Please vote for our EU candidates in the South East Region on May 23rd:

  • Libdem Spring Conference York 2019 GLD Fringes (Graham Neale (c))
    Article: Mar 18, 2019
    By Frances Lindsay-Hills

    Over 1,000 Liberal Democrats traveled to York and were rewarded with some beautifully crafted and delivered speeches and some from nervous first timers but they were all united in their passion for justice. Delegates from all over Europe spoke about their sadness at the possibility we might be no longer a part of the European Union and all speakers were united in their anger that we will be cast away from the biggest market in the world and the union that had brought peace, solidarity and free movement to so many diverse nations.

  • Tom Brake
    Article: Mar 17, 2019
    By Tom Brake

    This week Jeremy Corbyn stuck two fingers up at Remainers.

    When the time came to vote on the People's Vote amendment, he sat on his hands and ordered his MPs to do the same. My colleagues and I were livid - and judging by the reaction on social media, so were millions of Remainers.

    If we've learnt anything this week, it's that Brexit is too important to be left in the hands of the politicians - a People's Vote is the only way forward.

  • March 25th C
    Article: Feb 25, 2019

    Why do people join the Lib Dems? Here's a piece by Duncan Stewart that gives you one new party member's thoughts.

    The curse of living in interesting times is surely upon us and the major casualty of the recent completely unnecessary upheaval in our political scene is the virtual disappearance of the political centre ground. We have been forced, and may have been so again by the time you read this, to vote either 'in' or 'out' at the referendum when 'don't know' would have been a reasonable third option ahead of informed debate.

  • VInce Cable
    Article: Jan 18, 2019
    By Vince Cable

    All 11 Lib Dem MPs voted against this shambolic Conservative Government in Wednesday night's vote of no confidence.

    In the aftermath, Theresa May invited me to discuss the next steps. I accepted, but in our discussion, I was clear.

    There will be no progress until no deal is off the table. We won't vote for this needlessly destructive Brexit. We need a people's vote.

  • Article: Jan 10, 2019

    The Prime Minister has spent 18 months putting together a compromise Brexit deal that doesn't deliver on what the Brexiteers promised and pleases no one.

    Theresa May is making a mess out of Brexit and her deal is a national humiliation.

    She doesn't have the support of her backbenchers, or of the DUP. Fifteen government ministers have now resigned over Brexit.

  • Bollocks to Brexit Bus side
    Article: Dec 16, 2018

    On Friday afternoon, the Bollocks to Brexit bus pulled up along Brighton seafront. Our local Lib Dem campaigners were there to greet them with flags and banners, and reporters from The Argus turned up to see what all the fuss was about. Read the news report here, with our own Caroline Brown getting her message across extremely well.

  • Beatrice Bass with letter
    Article: Dec 3, 2018
    CORBYN, PROVE YOU'RE NOT MAY'S LAPDOG!
    Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrats have written to Jeremy Corbyn urging the opposition leader to do his job and hold the government to account on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
    During our final EU stall of 2018, we had three brave volunteers handing out window posters on a cold wet evening whilst the rest of the group set up camp indoors to write to the Labour party leader. Beatrice Bass wrote: "Now is the time to show true leadership by trusting the people of the UK. Don't be May's lapdog. Give power to the people with a People's Vote."
    Parliament is expected to hold its "meaningful vote" on Tuesday 11th December. Brighton & Hove Lib Dems believe that with the Prime Minister struggling to convince the few within her own government, now is the time to stand for the many asking to have the final say.
  • Tom Brake, from national party web site
    Article: Nov 21, 2018
    By Caroline Brown

    A report of the talk by Tom Brake MP, Shadow Spokesman for Exiting the EU, at the South-East Region AGM & Conference, Canterbury, Sat 17th November 2018

    Such was the level of ignorance, egotism and unpreparedness on the part of Brexiteers that David Davis was in Washington, DC, attempting to st

    rike a trade deal with the USA, while Dominic Raab had been taken aback on a visit to Dover to find that our current position, surrounded by a body of water, posed a few problems. After some 30 years' campaigning, they had no plan.

  • Article: Nov 7, 2018

    The result of the EU referendum changed an awful lot: the Prime Minister, the economic outlook, Britain's political discourse and our standing in the world. But there are 3.6 million people whose lives have been affected more than most. These are the citizens of other EU countries who live in the UK.

  • Article: Oct 29, 2018
    By Simone Van Beek

    The Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens are working together, alongside rebels from Labour and the Conservatives, to fight Brexit. Vince Cable pressed Barnier on the need for the EU to make contingency plans for a People's Vote and to protect EU and UK citizens rights in the event of a no deal Brexit.

  • B&H Lib Dems at People's Vote march Oct 20th
    Article: Oct 22, 2018
    By Caroline Brown

    25,000 demonstrated against Brexit in March 2017; 50,000 in September and over 100,000 in June 2018. As the Tory Government manages our exit from the European Union with all the grace of a wounded rhino backing out of a beach hut, 700,000 people from all over the UK descended on London in October to demand a vote on the final Brexit deal that will include an option to remain in the EU. The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, was notably absent and so was our Kemptown MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

  • Pro-EU Demonstration - Lib Dem Conference 2018
    Article: Oct 17, 2018

    Brexit is bad for Britain. Join Liberal Democrats at 12:00 noon this Saturday 20 October near Hyde Park Corner to march for a People's Vote and an Exit from Brexit. Further details on the march can be found here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/20-oct-march

    Travelling from Brighton & Hove, please meet at 9.30am at Brighton train station for a group photo before we set off to London.

  • Sal Brinton speaking at Lib Dem conference.
    Article: Aug 16, 2018

    It may be mid-August but the bad news about Brexit is increasing by the day! Senior Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg continue to peddle their populist nonsense, against the facts: the pound dropping against the Euro; international organisations moving their EU HQ out of Britain; and even the Governor of the Bank of England confirming Brexit will not be good for the economy. Only Vince Cable and the Lib Dems remain totally committed to an Exit from Brexit, and giving the people a Final Say on the deal, with more regions that voted leave now changing their minds.

  • Article: Aug 8, 2018

    The odds on a second Brexit referendum before 2020 have shortened to 2.48 after polls showed that, for the first time, a majority of Britons want to vote again on their country's future relationship with the European Union. It is becoming clear that the Government's Chequers 'deal' is not going to work and increasingly the choice is a "hard Brexit" or stay in the EU.