Liberal Democrats

F6: Policy motion on Europe

Summary

The Liberal Democrats have campaigned for an Exit from Brexit since the day after the 2016 Referendum. This motion reaffirms our policy of a people’s vote between the Government’s deal and remaining in the European Union.

This motion also calls on the Government to;

  • revoke Article 50 if a deal has not been agreed a week before we are due to leave the European Union or if an Article 50 extension request for the purpose of a People’s Vote is declined.
  • remove the deadline for settled status applications, provide additional support to those who need it.
  • create an emergency Brexit Support Fund of at least £7.5 billion to mitigate job losses caused by Brexit uncertainty.
  • ensure the UK’s participation in the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections, if any extension of Article 50 means that the UK is still a member of the EU at the time of the election.

The text of the motion

Submitted by 11 members

Mover: Tom Brake MP (Spokesperson for Exiting the European Union and International Trade)

Summation: Daisy Cooper

Conference notes that:

  1. The Conservative Government have made a mess of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have been helping them to deliver this destructive Brexit.
  2. Liberal Democrats campaigned to stay in the EU during the 2016 referendum and have led the campaign for a People’s Vote with the option to stay in the EU.
  3. Various businesses and organisations have closed or are in the process of closing operations in the UK, resulting in job losses across the country and knock on economic impact; a no-deal scenario could leave the UK economy 6.3% to 9% smaller after 15 years, compared to what it would have been.
  4. Parliament has been at an impasse for months, with May’s negotiated Withdrawal Agreement failing to secure adequate Parliamentary support.
  5. Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement safeguards the rights of British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. The Government is requiring EU citizens to apply for pre-settled or settled status by 2021, with those who do not receive it at risk of deportation; Irish citizens do not have to apply but can if they choose to.
  6. The European Court of Justice have ruled that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50, and therefore no deal is avoidable.
  7. Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected May’s deal for a second time, rejected crashing out of the EU and directed the Government to seek an extension of Article 50.
  8. European Parliament elections are due to take place in May 2019, with new MEPs taking their seats in July 2019 and the new European Commission facing appointment hearings in the Autumn.

Conference believes that:

  1. 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.
  2. The UK is now dangerously close to crashing out of the EU, as Theresa May refuses to rule out a no deal scenario; and a short extension might only be a delay before a No Deal crash out.
  3. The 2016 referendum and subsequent General Election had a severe impact on EU citizens living in the UK, leaving them under a cloud of uncertainty and at risk of being denied their rights, detained and even deported because of Theresa May’s hostile environment policies.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:

  1. Fight for an "Exit from Brexit" referendum and for the public to choose between "the deal" or Britain remaining a full member of the EU; with Liberal Democrats campaigning for Britain to remain a full and active member of the EU.
  2. Seek to extend Article 50 to legislate for a referendum on the deal, or to provide enough negotiating time to avoid a catastrophic no-deal scenario, and if such extension is not agreed to withdraw the Article 50 notification.
  3. Enable all non-Irish EU citizens living in the UK for five years or longer the right to full participation in civic life; as well as ringfence the Withdrawal Agreement’s Chapter on citizens’ rights.
  4. Engage with the European Commission and the member states to grandfather the rights of UK citizens, their families and their dependents living and/or in the remaining member states of the European Union, including access to health care and disability support, as well as to uprating of pensions.

Conference calls for:

  1. The Government to revoke the Article 50 notification if the House of Commons has not passed a resolution approving (relating to) the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement one week ahead of the date on which the UK is due to leave the EU.
  2. The Government to remove the deadline for settled status applications, provide additional support to those who need it, enshrine in law the right to appeal for those whose applications are refused, and provide physical documentation to those who receive their settled status.
  3. The Government to create an emergency Brexit Support Fund of at least £7.5 billion to mitigate job losses caused by Brexit uncertainty, a No Deal Brexit or the PM’s deal, with the fund being ring-fenced to support UK workers made redundant as a result of businesses leaving the UK, closing down or downsizing as a result of the impact of Brexit, and to offer workers the chance to receive advice or re-training to help them secure employment or start a new business.
  4. The government to ensure the UK’s participation in the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections, if any extension of Article 50 means that the UK is still a member of the EU at the time of the elections.

Applicability: Federal