Tim Farron launches Liberal Democrat plan for Britain in Europe

Tim Farron sets out Lib Dem policy on Europe
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is today launching the Liberal Democrat Plan for Britain in Europe, including a demand that Parliament votes on the terms of negotiation before Article 50 is triggered, seven key areas for the Brexit negotiations and calling for a referendum to give the public the chance to decide whether or not to accept the final terms negotiated for Brexit.

The Brexit campaign is deeply split and at odds with each other over what Brexit really means for freedom of movement, the Single Market and indeed just about every substantive part of our relationship with the rest of Europe. So without a final referendum it’ll just be down to a private punch-up amongst Tory Cabinet ministers as to what Brexit really means. With a referendum, which could be called used Article 50(3), the public instead will rightly have a say on whether the deal negotiated is really what they wanted.

Tim Farron says:

We demand that the British people should have their say on the final deal in a referendum. And in the meantime we will hold the Conservative Brexit Government to account and fight for the best possible deal for Britain.

Voting for departure is not the same as voting for a destination. Brexit means Brexit but we still don’t know if that means £350m a week extra for the NHS, immigration controls or membership of the Single Market. This is not an attempt to re-run the first referendum. It is to enable the public to vote on the final deal, reflecting that there is disagreement even in the cabinet over every major aspect of Brexit.

The British people should be allowed to choose what comes next, to ensure it is right for them, their families, their jobs and our country. Our relationship with Europe affects our economy, our security, climate change, our influence in the world and so much more.

Our policy on Europe is simple: we want to stay in the European Union. We wanted that the day before the referendum, we wanted it the day after and we want it today.

The Liberal Democrats are now the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government, and are fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

During the negotiations, the seven key areas the party will be pushing under this plan on are:

Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens

Those who have made the United Kingdom their home should be allowed to stay. We will seek to secure the same for UK citizens living in European Union countries.

Freedom of Movement and the Single Market

Any deal negotiated for the United Kingdom outside the European Union must include membership of the Single Market and protect freedom of movement.

Maintaining environmental standards

We have a duty to future generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change. We will ensure that everything is done to maintain those high standards in UK law.

Law enforcement and judicial co-operation

We must maintain maximum cooperation to ensure criminals are pursued quickly and effectively.

Protection of Erasmus, investment in our universities and research networks

We should do everything we can to protect Erasmus, as well as other EU funded schemes increasing opportunities for young people. We will campaign to sustain the levels of investment in UK universities and their associated research networks.

Travel and tourism

We must make every effort to ensure that we retain ‘soft’ traveller benefits such as the European Health Insurance Card, reduced roaming charges and pet passports.

British industries

The City of London must retain full rights in EU financial markets. We must also protect the support provided by the European Union to domestic industries such as farming, tourism and the creative industries, as well as regional support for deprived areas.

Tim Farron’s plan is based on the Europe policy motion agreed at the party’s Federal Policy Committee (FPC) on Tuesday night. Subject to the Federal Conference Committee (FCC) selecting it for debate at the party’s Brighton conference, that motion will be debated (including being open to amendment) in Brighton later this month.

UPDATE: The motion based on this plan was duly passed in Brighton.

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