Tough on Brexit, tough on the causes of Brexit


The Liberal Democrats are the only major UK party arguing for a referendum to ratify, or reject, the final Brexit deal, writes Jerry Sandford.

It is easy to see why we are fighting to remain.  According to recent polls, many want a chance to reject the deal and stay in the EU. There is the estimated divorce bill of £40 billion and the likelihood that the UK will have to accept the rules of the EU single market without being able to influence those rules, as we do now. 

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The Brexiteers have just seen their dreams collide with reality. They will be unable to honour their key pledges, such as the £350 million a week for the NHS.

But if Britain is to be united, we cannot ignore the seeds of discontent that caused many to vote Leave.

We have to ask what led so many people to think that EU immigration caused their wage rates to fall, or that our relatively modest financial contributions to the EU caused the NHS to reach crisis point.

There is no evidence that wage rates were reduced by free movement of labour. Real earnings have fallen significantly ever since 2008, almost solely as a result of the banking crisis. That crash has also affected our ability to fund key public services.

So the Lib Dems will continue to argue against Brexit and to highlight how opaque and opportunistic Labour’s Brexit position is. But we will also focus on ensuring that our economy and society works for everyone.

In that way some good may come out of the 2016 referendum result.


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