Mover: Tom Brake MP (Shadow Foreign Secretary)
Summation: Baroness Sarah Ludford (Europe Spokesperson)
Conference welcomes the fact that Liberal Democrats are the only party that has consistently championed Britain’s membership of the European Union, because we believe that Britain’s best chanceto succeed is within the EU.
While respecting the outcome of the referendum held in June 2016, Conference believes that Britain is a more prosperous country when part of the world’s largest economy, and stronger politically when working in partnership with our closest neighbours and allies to tackle the biggest challenges.
Conference believes that the British people, not politicians, should have the final say on our future relationship with the European Union, and calls for the government to give the British people a vote on the final deal at the end of the negotiation process.
Conference rejects the Hard Brexit approach of the Conservative government, in particular its determination to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, and its shameful failure to guarantee promptly the rights of current EU Citizens resident in the UK.
Conference notes the passage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.
Conference regrets the abject weakness of the official Opposition in failing to stand up to the Tory Brexit Government and commends those Parliamentarians of other parties who were prepared to put Country before Party during the course of the Article 50 Bill.
Conference acknowledges that the struggle now moves on to the proposed ‘Great Repeal Bill’, through which the Government intends to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and incorporate much existing EU law into UK law while arrogating to itself the power to choose what to keep in the longer term.
Conference calls on Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians and others to fight to:
- Retain vital environmental and consumer protections, freedom to travel, study and work, employment rights, research exchanges and funding, security co-operation arrangements and other benefits of existing EU legislation.
- Strictly limit the scope for the Government to give itself powers to change legislation through ‘Henry VIII’ powers, and secure the maximum Parliamentary oversight of powers given to ministers.
- Respect the rights of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over legislation within their competence.
Conference urges the Government to act with transparency, openness and due regard to Parliamentary scrutiny throughout the negotiation process.
Given that the terms of Brexit will have a huge impact on jobs, security and the opportunity to travel and live abroad, Conference demands that the Tory Brexit government should be made to put their deal to the British people before it is finalised.