FAQs: Giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

What was the amendment on Monday evening?

Amendment 50 of the EU Withdrawal Bill Report Stage in the House of Lords put the option of the public final say on the deal before the House of Commons. This would include an extension of Article 50 so that there would be time for the vote to be held before the UK is due to leave the EU.

The amendment was a cross-party initiative, the lead names on it were Lord Newby (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the Lords); Viscount Hailsham (Conservative), Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru), Lord Butler of Brockwell (Crossbencher).

Why should the public be given the final say?

Theresa May and the Conservatives are making a mess of Brexit.

When a deal is finally agreed we still believe it should be the public, not politicians, who have the final say.

You should be able to choose whether the deal is the right deal for Britain’s future. If it’s not, then you should be able to reject it and remain in the European Union.

Why did the amendment get voted down?

If Labour had supported the amendment, it would have passed. But the Labour frontbench sat on their hands and made it harder to give the British people the final say on the Brexit deal.

What does this mean for Brexit?

It means that, for the time being, the public have not been given the final say on the Brexit deal. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to give the British public the final say and the chance to Exit from Brexit.

Will the EU accept the outcome of a vote on the deal?

Key EU figures have said that they would welcome the UK’s decision to remain in the EU. French President Emmanuel Macron has said “the door remains open” for Britain to change its mind about Brexit.

What happens next?

The Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for an Exit from Brexit. To help us win that fight, donate to our campaign today:

Lib Dems come closer than ever to giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Yesterday evening just a handful of votes stopped us from giving the British public the final say on the Brexit deal.

If the Labour leadership had voted with us last night, the amendment would have passed. But they didn’t.

On this key issue, the Labour party has gone missing in action.

At the outset of our campaign, few believed we would get this close. But the momentum is now with us.

This vote has shown that since we last voted on the issue a year ago there has been a large shift in favour of giving the people the final say on any Brexit deal.

60% of the British public now believe it is right that they have the final say on a Brexit deal.

Over the coming months, we’ll have more opportunities to secure people the final say on the Brexit deal.

We can do it, we are making a difference.

Votes like last night show just how close things are getting. The Government is weak and soon they will have to face the undeniable right of the British public to have their say. It’s the right thing for democracy and the right thing for our country.

Why we need to ban upskirting

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Upskirting is the act of taking a photo up a woman’s skirt without her consent.

In 2009 it was made illegal in Scotland but shockingly it remains legal in England and Wales.

Authorities can ask a perpetrator to delete the photo but under current law no further prosecution is possible.

Police have managed to prosecute some people for upskirting for outraging public decency. But this is patently absurd as it should not matter how public it was or who else saw it. This also ignores the fact this is a crime with a victim.

Police are stuck trying to prosecute a sexual offence with a public nuisance order.

The law should focus on the individual victims and the crime committed against them because it is their body that is being taken advantage of without their consent.

Some Ministers have tried to claim that police need better training, but this is simply not true.

Police and Crime Commissioners from across the country have called for upskirting to become a specific offence as it is so difficult to prosecute with the law as it currently stands.

Due to the lack of a clear legal framework around the issue, the actual number of offences taking place each year is likely to be much higher.

Girls as young as ten have been targeted by this horrific crime.

Police are not required to keep a record of the reports they receive. The Press Association’s FOI found that only 15 of 44 police forces in England and Wales recorded upskirting reports in the last two years.

Girls as young as ten have been targeted by this horrific crime.

Upskirting causes emotional distress and leaves a lasting impact.

It is time the law is changed to criminalise this distressing and disgusting practice.

Britain is stronger with the back-stop of EU law

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

In the face of further defeats on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and following further pressure from Peers across the House of Lords, the government has brought forward amendments to ensure that the UK still has the ability to refer to and apply EU guidance for legal matters in our courts going forwards.

The government has rightly accepted that following EU guidance for legal matters in our courts and tribunals is not a ‘soft Brexit’.

Instead, it is a welcome acknowledgement of the benefits of a number of laws that have benefitted the UK and can continue to do so.

Over the past week, the government has been defeated five times in the House of Lords, uniting members from all parties and none on a range of issues.

There are many experts in the House of Lords that have correctly identified that Britain is stronger with the back-stop of EU law, something that Liberal Democrats have argued throughout the Brexit process.

We welcome the Government’s acknowledgement of this.

Over the past week, the government has been defeated five times in the House of Lords, uniting members from all parties and none on a range of issues.

Clearly, across the House, there is a strong belief that it is not too late to turn back from the Tory’s disastrous approach to Brexit.

For the country and the government, there is a way out, and that is giving the people the final say, with a vote on the final deal.

Third Withdrawal Bill defeat in a week for the Government

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Liberal Democrats have voted with a majority of cross-party Peers in the House of Lords to inflict another defeat on the government.

An amendment to retain the Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law was successfully moved and is the third defeat for the government in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords at Report Stage.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights has been a key component of EU law since 2000 and has set the bar on civil, political, social and economic rights.

The UK’s continued use of this piece of legislation shows the rest of the world that we are still committed to the highest standards on human rights and the principles of the Charter going forward.

The amendment the Lords have passed is as follows:

Clause 5, LORD PANNICK, LORD GOLDSMITH, BARONESS LUDFORD, LORD DEBEN

Page 3, line 20, leave out subsections (4) and (5) and insert—

“( ) The following provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights are not part of<

domestic law on or after exit day—

(a) the Preamble, and

(b) Chapter V.”

Barnstorming double by-election win!

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The Liberal Democrats won two of the council by-elections that were held last night (with one still to declare!), gaining two seats from the Conservatives!

The Liberal Democrats, under Vince Cable, are winning seats up and down the country and against all opposition – because people know when they elect Liberal Democrats, they’re electing someone who’ll get things done for their community!

Our local campaigning is second to none, and the hard work of Lib Dem councillors and activists is being recognised in surges of support in by-elections across the country.

#WinningHere

Lymm South (Warrington) result:

LDEM: 42.8% (+10.4)

CON: 36.2% (-2.3)

LAB: 18.3% (-1.1)

UKIP: 1.4% (-8.3)

GRN: 1.3% (+1.3)

LDem GAIN from Con.

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) April 19, 2018

And #WinningThere

Thatcham West (West Berkshire) result:

LDEM: 48.4% (+9.7)

CON: 30.9% (-16.9)

GRN: 7.7% (+7.7)

LAB: 7.7% (-5.9)

UKIP: 5.4% (+5.4)

LDem GAIN from Con.

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) April 19, 2018

With the 2018 local elections taking place in just a few days time – and many of the votes already cast, the Liberal Democrats have never been more up for the fight.

Your support today could make the difference in those elections. Be a voter for the Lib Dems on May 3rd and elect someone who’ll get things done for your community!

Vince Cable speech: break-up the big tech monopolies

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

He criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon – comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past – and suggested ways they could be broken up.

“Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses – one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world – the European Commission – is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

When it comes to regulating the growth industry of this century – data – Brexit will be like giving up shared influence over where, when and whether it rains, in return for absolute power over a compact umbrella.”

Download the full speech here

Second defeat in one night for the Government on Brexit!

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

An amendment providing enhanced protections for employment, equality, health and safety entitlements, rights and protections, and consumer and environmental standards has been passed in the Lords.

This is the second defeat today for the government in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

This defeat is a key step in ensuring that parliament plays the key role in Brexit and not just a handful of Ministers altering standards via the back-door.

Guaranteeing that standards relating to equality, employment law and many other things can only be altered via primary legislation is extremely significant and essential to the democratic process.

Help make sure we can deliver even more defeats in the Lords for the Government – sign up to lobby the key peers:

36 years to change a light bulb

West Felton LED street light with Sodium light in the back ground. LED are brighter and better for environment

Better street lighting plan thrown out by Conservatives

This is despite Shropshire Council officers saying upgrades will take 36 years at present rate.

It shouldn't take 36 years to change 18,500 lightbulbs. Above is a recently replaced light in West Felton with an older sodium light in the background. New lights are brighter and more energy efficient
It shouldn’t take 36 years to change 18,500 lightbulbs. Above is a recently replaced light in West Felton with an older sodium light in the background. New lights are brighter and more energy efficient

Large numbers of councils across the UK, including Shropshire’s parish councils, are upgrading their lights to save money on repairs, and energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, light pollution, and crime, and to improve public safety.

Local residents often complain about poor lighting

A recent initiative by Liberal Democrats to convert Shropshire Council’s remaining 7456 street lights to brighter energy-saving LED bulbs within 3 years was thrown out by the Conservatives at a recent meeting of Shropshire Council.

At the present rate officers have said it will take:

36 years to upgrade them!

The Lib Dem move was blocked by Conservatives even though the bulbs that fit our present unconverted lamps will stop being made in June of next year.

At a total cost of £2.05m over three years or just £683k per year, the plan would have saved Shropshire Council £149,120 every year at today’s prices. Once completed, this would give a whopping 7.5% return on the investment. This saving would increase in future years as energy cost rise.

Instead, Tory-run Shropshire has spent £51m on buying shopping centres in Shrewsbury when shopping centres are in decline. Many suggest that present-day rental income will go down. The Council’s Administration also plans to spend another £18m on improving their headquarters in Shirehall.

Contrast that with Kent County Council where Bouyges ‘provided LED street lights for FREE’ clawing the cost back through maintenance contract yet will save £5.2m a year on their energy bills!! Kent County Council is run by the Conservatives.

Shropshire Council Conservatives really need a more enlightened approach to street lights. Taking so long to address a problem when the solution is easy is just plain daft.

Did you know?

  • Councils spend 30% of the annual energy bill on Street Lighting;
  • Savings of 50%-80% on energy bill can be made by switching;
  • LED lights last for 24 years – 7x longer than Sodium lights;
  • LED Light is direct making sure light only goes where needed.

Since last August I have been working with fellow councillors on West Felt on to upgrade the lights owned by them. Hopefully, we can crack on with the upgrade soon and start reaping the benefits.

Read more on streetlight upgrades here: LED street lights must be rolled out