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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

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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