RECEIVED TODAY FROM TOM BRAKE, LIB DEMS
Dear Anne Hernandez
Thank you for your letter regarding your organisation, Brexpats in Spain. May I first congratulate you on establishing and running such a successful group. Your work is incredibly valuable for many UK citizens who, as you rightly point out, are not given adequate information regarding Brexit and who feel disillusioned by the Government’s agenda for a hard Brexit.
So far, it has taken the Government 21 months to make any sort of progress in the negotiations with the EU. The process, characterised by arrogance and on-going splits in the cabinet, has been highly inefficient and embarrassing. It is worth noting that 24 hours after an outline withdrawal agreement had been struck (8 December 2017), David Davis made a remark jeopardising all of the progress made, by claiming that the agreement, covering citizen rights, the divorce bill and promises around the Irish border, was a “statement of intent” rather than something legally enforceable. This is just the latest example of the Government’s incapability of putting the national interest ahead of their party’s interest.
That is why it’s important for the Liberal Democrats to give not only Parliament but also the British people a say on the final deal. We are pushing the Government for a public vote on the deal at the end of the negotiations, so people are given a choice to vote for that deal or to remain in the EU (amendment 120 to the Bill). The British people should be allowed to decide, in a referendum, whether it is the right deal for them, their families, their jobs and our country. As we all know by now, the ‘Leave’ campaign was based on lies, such as an extra £350 million a week for the NHS, new trade deals ready to be signed on the day of departure from the EU, and an ability to keep the exact same benefits as the UK currently has inside the Single Market and Customs Union once we are outside. These lies have now been exposed and it’s only fair to give the British people a “Vote on the Facts”. We welcome Sadiq Khan, London’s Labour Mayor, to our cause and hope that more grown-up politicians on all sides will join us.
The Liberal Democrats have also tabled amendments and are campaiging in order to ensure that all the existing rights of UK citizens residing in the EU and EU citizens residing in the EU are protected. It is unacceptable that these groups have been used as a bargaining chip by the Government in negotiations and the unfair uncertainty which is being brought to many people’s lives must end. I and the Liberal Democrats have campaigned extensively within Parliament in order to secure these rights.
Be reassured that I will continue to fight against a damaging, extreme version of Brexit. I will fight to uphold the rights of Brexpats currently in Spain and I hope that this response has reassured your members that the Liberal Democrats are on your side and fighting against Brexit back in the UK.
Tom Brake, MP
Liberal Democrat for Carshalton and Wallington
0208 255 8155