Full text of the motion:
Conference notes that:
- On the 23rd June 2016, the United Kingdom voted via a referendum by a margin of 52Ð48 to begin the process of leaving the European Union.
- The Liberal Democrats campaigned to remain in the European Union.
- The lack of a clear plan for Brexit from the Leave side meant that there was no clear agreement on what final destination was being voted on.
Conference believes that:
- i) The United Kingdom is safer and more prosperous as a member of the European Union as it:
- Facilitates essential cooperation on international challenges including climate change and terrorism.
- Supports the UK economy by facilitating movement of people and cross border trade under a common framework of regulation.
- Enables greater collaboration on research and exchange of ideas.
- Enriches the UK culturally through collaboration and cultural exchange.
- Enhances and protects the rights of UK citizens both within the UK and abroad.
- Strengthens the UK's position on the world stage, for example in negotiations over trade.
- Secures the unique relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom including free movement of people and goods across the Irish border.
- To leave the European Union is detrimental to the UK's fundamental national interests.
- Continued membership of the European Union would better serve the UK's national interest than any alternative arrangements that could be negotiated through the Article 50 process.
Conference further notes with concern the following developments which have occurred subsequent to the June 2016 referendum:
- The significant fall in the value of the pound and resulting raising inflation, leading to a further squeeze on living standards.
- The Governor of the Bank of England's appraisal of the cost of Brexit and the resulting black hole this will create in the public finances.
- Reports that a range of businesses, including one third of manufacturing firms, are moving or are considering moving some of their operations out of the UK.
- Reports that UK based researchers are being hindered from participating in EU-funded research projects in anticipation of Brexit and UK research institutions being unable to play leading roles in multinational research projects.
- That the number of nurses from the EU registering with the Nursing and Midwifery Council fell by 96% between June 2016 and April 2017.
- That as of February 2017, the number of EU students applying to UK universities had fallen by 7% since June 2016.
- The rise in hate crimes following the referendum, with the number recorded between July and September 2016 increasing to 14,295 from 10,793 during the same period in 2015.
Conference condemns the shambolic and deeply divided approach of the Conservative Government to the negotiations, and the Labour Party's support for leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union.
Conference further condemns the Leave campaign for making so many claims which have since been proven false and/or undeliverable.
Conference calls for:
- The Government to admit that the Brexit deal will not deliver the promises of the Leave campaign.
- An "exit from Brexit" referendum (in which 16- and 17-year olds, EU Citizens resident in the UK, and British Citizens resident overseas will be able to vote) to be held once the outcome of the UK-EU negotiations is known, for the public to choose between "the deal" or Britain remaining a full member of the EU.
- As leading champions of Britain's membership of the EU, the Liberal Democrats to continue to campaign for Britain to remain a full and active member of the European Union.