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Liberal Democrats

Article 50: What's next

Last week, MPs voted to trigger Article 50 and rejected a host of amendments designed to stop the Conservatives doing their worst. In the aftermath, Tim Farron sets out where we go from here and what comes next for our campaign:

By Tim Farron Feb 15, 2017 11

Last week Labour MPs backed the Conservatives in voting to trigger Article 50, the start of the formal process of Britain leaving the European Union.

They did so even though Theresa May has chosen to pursue a hard Brexit, which will mean ripping Britain out of the single market – something that no one voted for last June.

They did so without securing any guarantees that the government will be subject to proper scrutiny throughout the negotiation.

I respect the outcome of the referendum, but I have not changed my view that Britain is best in Europe.

Throughout this process in the House of Commons, the Liberal Democrats have tried to make changes to the government’s plans to make sure that you, the people, get the final say on the Brexit deal.

At the end of this process, someone will decide if Theresa May’s deal is good enough. The question is who?

We believe that what started with democracy must end with democracy and that you, the people should have the final say on whatever deal Theresa May negotiates – that's why we attempted to amend tonight's bill to guarantee a referendum on the deal. Unfortunately, that amendment was defeated.

MPs have voted to trigger article, so, what's next?

Tonight's vote isn't the end of the process. Over the next few weeks, Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords will seek to make changes to the government’s plans.

Our goal will be to protect Britain’s membership of the single marketprotect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and to give the people the final say on Theresa May’s deal.

If we do not succeed and the people will not get a final say on the deal, then when MPs get to vote on these plans again Liberal Democrats will again vote against triggering article 50.

Even once the Government has triggered Article 50 we will keep on campaigning all the way through the negotiations.

More than 80,000 people have shown their support for our campaigns to keep Britain in the single market, guarantee a referendum on the final Brexit deal, give EU citizens the right to stay and save the Erasmus program over the last few months and their support - and yours has been invaluable over the last few months and together, we are a powerful voice arguing against a hard Brexit.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to be play our part as the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.

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