The Liberal Democrat Plan for Britain in Europe
Liberal Democrats believe that the British people should have their say on the final Brexit deal in a referendum. Voting for a departure is not the same as voting for a destination. British people have a right to have their say on whether the deal they are offered is the right one for them, their families, their communities and our country.
The Liberal Democrats remain a proudly pro-European party. Following the referendum, we are setting out clear answers to some of the big questions and what we think should happen next.
Key constitutional questions
Should we re-run the referendum to overturn the results of the first?
No. We believe that the Leave campaign lied blatantly, leading many people to believe things such as a vote to leave would mean £350 million a week for the NHS. However, we should not keep re-running the last referendum in order to get the result we wanted.
Should the British people have the final decision on the government’s negotiated deal?
Yes. In voting to leave, there was no opportunity to vote for how future trading relationships should be, or how we should work with other countries over things like criminal justice, law and order, ease of travel etc. Voting for a departure is not the same as voting for a destination. When the deal is negotiated, in however many years’ time, the British people must have a chance to say if they would prefer the new arrangement, outside the European Union, or would prefer to remain inside the European Union.
Should young people (16-18) have a vote in a future referendum?
Yes. Liberal Democrats would introduce legislation to lower the voting age to sixteen.
Should Parliament vote on Article 50?
Yes. Parliament is the supreme law-making body in the United Kingdom. There should be a formal vote in Parliament to give notice under Article 50 and trigger the process for withdrawal. Liberal Democrats will decide how they will vote after they see the terms on which the government proposes to negotiate.
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Key issues for negotiation
Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens
Those who have made the United Kingdom their home should be allowed to stay. We will seek to secure the same for UK citizens living in European Union countries.
Freedom of Movement and the Single Market
Any deal negotiated for the United Kingdom outside the European Union must include membership of the Single Market and protect freedom of movement.
Maintaining environmental standards
We have a duty to future generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change. We will ensure that everything is done to maintain those high standards in UK law.
Law enforcement and judicial co-operation
We must maintain maximum cooperation to ensure criminals are pursued quickly and effectively.
Protection of Erasmus, investment in our universities and research networks
We should do everything we can to protect Erasmus, as well as other EU funded schemes increasing opportunities for young people. We will campaign to sustain the levels of investment in UK universities and their associated research networks.
Travel and tourism
We must make every effort to ensure that we retain ‘soft’ traveller benefits such as the European Health Insurance Card, reduced roaming charges and pet passports.
The City of London must retain full rights in EU financial markets. We must also protect the support provided by the European Union to domestic industries such as farming, tourism and the creative industries, as well as regional support for deprived areas.