Lib Dems will vote against invoking Article 50 unless referendum held on outcome of negotiations

As a follow-up to the Liberal Democrat plan for Britain in Europe, party leader Tim Farron is today making clear that the party will only support invoking Article 50 if a referendum is also held on the outcome of the talks:

This is not about re-running the last referendum. This is a new vote on Britain’s place in Europe.

When people voted for a departure, they packed the sunglasses and flip-flops for the sunny destination promised by Leave campaigners. Now they are being told that the destination is the tundra.

The British public must be the ones who decide whether or not to board the plane.

This approach is helped by the way in which Article 50(3) leaves open a route to a referendum on the terms of exit.

Here is the full press statement:

Writing in The Guardian, Tim Farron added:

It does not matter which side of this debate you were on. Whether you voted leave or remain, you deserve the right to have a say on what happens next, and the Lib Dems will fight to give that to you.

That’s why, unless the government backs our plan to give the public a say, we will vote against triggering Article 50. We want a guarantee that there will be a referendum on the deal at the end of the negotiations, when people can vote for that deal or to remain in Europe.

To those who say that our plans are undemocratic, I say: what could be more democratic than giving people a vote?

David Cameron’s government did not lay out plans for what Brexit would look like. The various leave campaigns did not set out one plan for what Brexit would look like. The leave campaign during the referendum set out plans for spending another £350m a week on the NHS, in the event of Brexit – which Theresa May has now admitted won’t happen.

May did not set out plans in her leadership campaign for what Brexit would look like. She has not been elected as prime minister on the basis of any plans at all, let alone about Brexit. The government to this day has not even given the lightest pencil-sketch of an idea of what Brexit would look like. And on top of all that, it is appealing against a high court ruling in order to stop MPs having any scrutiny on the direction Brexit takes – whatever that may be.

Since nobody has set out what Brexit would look like, and nobody – neither MPs nor the public – has had a say on what should come next, how is it undemocratic to demand that people should be given a say? Those who want to railroad through a plan without guaranteeing the people a say are the ones pursuing an undemocratic path.

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