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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

  • Article: Jul 18, 2018

    Today the Electoral Commission ruled on what we all knew - Leave cheated.

    Vote Leave have been fined £60,000 for incomplete and inaccurate expenses and for working jointly with pro-Brexit group BeLeave - and using this to get around their spending ceiling of £7 million.

    And, lest we forget, the referendum result was just 51.9% for Leave and 48.1% for Remain.

  • Liberal Democrats at 2018 Anti-Brexit March
    Article: Jul 18, 2018

    I'm excited to announce our summer campaign pack is coming off the printer and I wanted to share this news with you now so you can begin planning how you are going to use yours.

    Our efforts to stop Brexit are beginning to make waves but, as Parliament readies itself for the summer break, we must redouble our efforts on the ground and make this the biggest summer of action - but in order to do this, we need your help.

  • Alistair Carmichael outside the Palace of Westminster.
    Article: Jul 18, 2018
    By Alistair Carmichael MP

    Brexit is the most important issue in a generation. And as Liberal Democrats we have taken on the responsibility of stopping it. We're the only Party united in this aim.

    Last night I messed up. The government squeaked home by just 3 votes in a key amendment. It should have been 1.

    I was not expecting a close vote - up until 8pm, Labour were planning to abstain which would have meant the vote would be lost by hundreds. In fact several Labour MPs voted with the govenment- which is why they won. By the time it became apparent that the vote was going to be close - it was too late to get two of our MPs back in time to vote.

    I'm taking responsibility and redoubling my efforts to stop Brexit.

  • Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington.
    Article: Jul 18, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    In the next few days, MPs will vote on the Customs (Taxation) and Trade Bills. These bills will be both pivotal to our future relationship with the EU and a battleground for parliamentary democracy itself.

    The Chequers deal is a total fudge. The plan requires the UK to be the EU's policeman and follow its rules on goods and state aid. Meanwhile, the services sector would be left to flounder. We have absolutely no guarantee that the EU would accept such a deal.

  • Pro-EU Groups Outside Brighton Station 2018
    Article: Jun 24, 2018
    By Carrie Hynds

    Thank you to everyone who supported the People's Vote march in London on Saturday!

    A crowd of pro-EU residents from all parties and none met at Brighton station to travel together to the march, including Labour MP Peter Kyle and Green MP Caroline Lucas, reflecting the emerging cross-party consensus of the need for a vote on the final Brexit deal.

  • David Nicholas Wilkinson holding B&H Lib Dems EU leaflet
    Article: Jun 17, 2018

    The Duke of York's Picturehouse is screening "Postcards from the 48%" at 8.30 pm on Monday 9th July. This is a film putting forward the facts and points of view of those who voted Remain in the EU referendum, and we really want to support it being shown in Brighton!

    David Nicholas Wilkinson, the director, will be doing a Q&A session afterwards. As you can see from the photo, he has previously shown support for our local Vote on the Facts campaign. We will ask permission from the cinema to hold up our banner and hand out leaflets ahead of the screening, so please come along from 7.30pm if you're available to help.

  • EU march
    Article: Jun 17, 2018

    On Saturday 23rd June, Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrats will join Brighton & Hove for EU, the Green Party and pro-EU Sussex groups in front of Brighton railway station at 9.20 am for a photo opportunity before joining the biggest demonstration that there has been for years. The March for a People's Vote starts at 12 noon in Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ER. See our EU Campaign page for full details.

  • The flags of EU countries flying.
    Article: Jun 16, 2018
    By Catherine Bearder

    Time is getting very tight, but it is still possible to stop Brexit. As Europe waits for real answers on the hundreds of issues to be sorted, Mrs May is wasting time trying unite her quarrelsome cabinet, not putting the fate of our country first.

    To make matters worse Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party is still cowering behind the sofa rather than being a real opposition.

  • Swinson conference
    Article: Jun 12, 2018
    By Jo Swinson MP in The New European

    JO SWINSON guides you through seven steps you can take to help fight Brexit.

    It's easy to wax lyrical about everything that is going wrong with Brexit. The Conservatives are stumbling their way through the negotiations and the Labour leadership is standing idly by.

    In the meantime, the rest of us are left to ponder doomsday scenarios where we run out of food, medicine and petrol.

  • Owen Smith backs Amd 19a
    Article: Jun 8, 2018
    By Bryan Lewis

    Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake has tabled an amendment - 19a - to the EU Withdrawal Bill that to ensure that the people, not politicians, get the final say on the Brexit deal and the opportunity to exit from Brexit.

    Labour MP Owen Smith, Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards and Green MP Caroline Lucas are among the MPs backing the Lib Dems' amendment.

  • Article: May 30, 2018
    By Nick Clegg in i News

    In politics, if you want to understand your enemies listen hard to their tone. The tone of your opponents normally tells you a lot more about what they're really thinking than what they say. And the tone of the Brexiteers is increasingly brittle, angry and panicky.

    It isn't just the - now frequent - demented headlines on the front page of Paul Dacre's Daily Mail ("traitors", "saboteurs", "enemies of the people"). It isn't just the - now frequent - self-absorbed rants from Dominic Cummings, the political apparatchik who helped to run the Brexit campaign.

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: May 10, 2018

    Last night Theresa May suffered yet another series of damning defeats in the Lords, exposing the ever-increasing anger at her administration's undemocratic, destructive approach to Brexit.

    So far the government has been defeated a total of 14 times, with the Lords rejecting the Brexit deadline and exit date, securing a meaningful vote in the Commons, and quashing attempts to hand ministers 'blank cheque' powers.

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: May 9, 2018

    The Government have received their eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth defeats in the House of Lords during the Report stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

    A vote on an amendment to ensure our future interaction with EU law and agencies was passed by a cross-bench majority of 298 to 227

    A further vote on an amendment to remove the exit date from the bill passed by a cross-bench majority of 311 to 233.

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: Apr 24, 2018

    In the face of further defeats on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and following further pressure from Peers across the House of Lords, the government has brought forward amendments to ensure that the UK still has the ability to refer to and apply EU guidance for legal matters in our courts going forwards.

  • Vince Cable in Twickenham
    Article: Apr 20, 2018

    He criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon - comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past - and suggested ways they could be broken up.

    "Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

    Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

    National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

    There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses - one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

    What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world - the European Commission - is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

    Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

  • Belfast City Hall
    Article: Mar 30, 2018
    By Carrie Hynds

    Last week, I watched a documentary about the Funeral Murders that took place in Belfast 30 years ago. It was a well-made piece of film but incredibly difficult to watch.

    I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, and my earliest memories are marked by The Troubles. Bomb scares were common, empty vehicles with their engines running were cause for alarm, and at the army checkpoints I would be asked to get off my booster seat so that a man with a rifle could check whether it had been hollowed out to conceal weapons or drugs. You arrived at the airport two and a half hours ahead of your flight because each item of luggage would be individually unpacked and searched. You were constantly aware of the possibility of being in the wrong place in the wrong time, and it was tiring, tiring, tiring.

  • Computer screen showing lines of code.
    Article: Mar 26, 2018

    Vote Leave got away with lying about money for the NHS, visas for Commonwealth citizens and much more, but now the truth about the Brexit deal is emerging, they won't be able to lie anymore.

    Astonishing claims have emerged today that suggests Leave campaigns worked together overspend during the European Referendum. If true, this could be illegal.

  • Article: Mar 14, 2018
    By Hyder Khalil

    The latest speeches are done, the positions are allegedly clearer. Our Prime Minister has still not been fully set out the UK's requirements, but while rowing back on some issues, she still offers 'great deals' all over the world, some elements of co-operation, free movement and so on. So let us consider four points:

  • Article: Mar 12, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    Rounding off the Southport conference which saw the party adopt a new strategy, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable took a swing at Jeremy Corbyn (a life-long Eurosceptic) for talking about workers but supporting a Brexit which will hit workers:

    Jeremy Corbyn is letting down the very people he claims to defend because:

  • EU Stall Feb 18
    Article: Mar 5, 2018
    By Beatrice Bass

    It is now over a year since the UK voted to leave the EU and it does not feel like anyone is any wiser as to what Brexit actually entails. We heard numerous different speeches about the UK's road or, more likely, footpath or wonky rope bridge to Brexit whilst our highway to the EU is slowly being taken apart. Phase one of the Brexit negotiations have now concluded and the EU has published its first draft of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. After a year of negotiation, it is good to finally have a draft treaty on paper - even though it is only a first draft. This draft is a good indication of who is holding the cards in these negotiations and what the post Brexit future might look like for the UK. As most people probably will not spend their evenings reading through draft treaties I have summarised the key points in respect to citizens' rights for you.

  • George Taylor and Duncan Moore by The Big Truth Bus (2018) (Jac Kilby)
    Article: Feb 28, 2018

    This Tuesday Brighton & Hove for EU arranged for The Big Truth Bus to visit the city - this bus is currently touring the country in order to spread awareness of the true economic cost of Brexit while lampooning the infamous Vote Leave bus. There were speeches, discussions with members of the public and music by Madeleina Kay (aka EU Supergirl). And, of course, we were there to show support for our fellow pro-EU campaigners and to show that we are committed to fighting Brexit.

  • Your vote matters
    Article: Feb 28, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    EU citizens in the UK are able to vote in local elections though not general elections. That means this the by-elections in Stamford their first chance to cast a verdict on Theresa May's Hard Brexit plans in the Conservative general election manifesto. It's a group of people the Liberal Democrats are putting particular effort into reaching, including with HQ running an online advertising campaign aimed at them which local Lib Dem campaigners can buy into for their area.

  • Jeremy Corbyn.
    Article: Feb 26, 2018
    By Liberal Democrats

    "Corbyn started his speech claiming that Labour's position on Brexit has been consistent, by which he must mean consistently vague. And today was no different.

    "His slight movement on the Customs Union and some EU agencies might be one step on the road to rationality, but there is still a long way to go before the rhetoric meets reality. The Labour leader spoke of putting the British people first, but made no guarantees on making sure they are the ones who have a final say on the Brexit deal.

    "The reality is there is no Brexit that is good for workers unless we stay as integrated as possible. Until Corbyn guarantees that we will stay in the Customs Union and Single Market, and gives people a chance to decide their own future, he continues to be Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, walking hand in hand with Theresa May towards a destructive Brexit that risks jobs, the economy, and the Union."

  • 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.