Mover: Tom Brake MP (Shadow Cabinet Member for Exiting the EU).
Summation: Caroline Voaden MEP.
The text of the motion including drafting amendments is as follows:
Conference notes that:
- The Conservative Government have made a mess of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour
Party have been helping them to deliver this destructive Brexit.
- Speaker Bercow has stated that exiting the European Union without a Withdrawal
Agreement (a “No Deal” Brexit) is impossible without Parliamentary Approval
- The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill passed through all legislative stages and
received Royal Assent on the 9th of September, and requires the Prime Minister to
request an extension of the Article 50 notification period to the 31st of January 2020, and
- The European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50, and therefore no-deal is avoidable.
- Liberal Democrats fought the 2019 European Elections on a clear Stop Brexit manifesto and secured the best EU Election results in the party’s history, returning 16 MEPs and taking second place in vote share across the country.
- Reports were widespread of UK citizens abroad and EU citizens living in the UK denied their right to vote in the EU Elections.
- On 24th July Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and committed to taking the UK out of the EU with or without a deal on 31st October, setting aside an extra £2.1bn for no-deal preparations.
- In the early hours of the 10th of September, the government forced the prorogation of Parliament until the 14th of October. The Court of Session in Scotland has subsequently ruled that this Prorogation was illegally obtained by the Prime Minister because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament, and is thus null and of no effect. This decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, where it is due to be heard in the coming week.
- The Conservative Government has announced plans to end Freedom of Movement, a move that would cause chaos, deprive UK citizens of their rights to live, work and study across Europe, and leave EU citizens vulnerable to the Hostile Environment; Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is also committed to ending Freedom of Movement.
Conference believes that:
- There is no deal that could be negotiated that could be more beneficial than continued membership of the EU; leaving the EU would therefore be damaging to the UK's fundamental national interests.
- A no-deal scenario would cause immeasurable damage to our NHS, jobs, and the environment.
- Freedom of Movement brings enormous benefits to the UK’s communities, public services, society and economy; ending it would hurt UK employers and separate friends, families and colleagues.
- The denial of citizens’ right to vote is an attack on our democracy; it is vital that the system is reformed to prevent such disenfranchisement from occurring again.
Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:
- Fighting in Parliament for an "exit from Brexit" referendum and for the public to choose between "the deal" or staying in the EU; with Liberal Democrats campaigning for the UK to remain a full and active member of the EU.
- Revoke Article 50 if the House of Commons has not passed a resolution approving the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement one week ahead of the date on which the UK is due to leave the EU.
- Protect Freedom of Movement and extend the right to full participation in civic life to all EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or longer.
- Work cross-party to ensure Parliamentary sovereignty is upheld, and a Conservative government is unable to force through a disastrous no-deal Brexit.
Conference calls for:
- Liberal Democrats to campaign to Stop Brexit in a General Election, with the election of a Liberal Democrat majority government to be recognised as an unequivocal mandate to revoke Article 50 and for the UK to stay in the EU.
- The government to implement urgent electoral law reform, in line with the 2014 Electoral Commission’s recommendations, including introducing a legal requirement for Councils to inform citizens of the steps they must take to be successfully registered; and making necessary changes to ensure that the UK has an automatic system of inclusion in elections.
- The Conservative government to implement a declaratory system to grant settled status to all EU citizens living in the UK, rather than the current constitutive process so that they need not apply but can simply register to receive physical proof of their right to live in the UK.
- Liberal Democrats to celebrate our Membership of the European Union, its values, its achievements and its aims in our campaigning and our policies; to reject the false narrative where the other two main parties seek to blame the EU for their own failures; to seek change hearts and minds by these positive actions.
The deadline for amendments to this motion is 13.00 Thursday 12 September; see page 6. Amendments selected for debate will be printed in Sunday’s Conference Daily. The deadline for requests for separate votes is 09.00 Saturday 15 September; see page 3.