Thank you for contacting me about the recent EU referendum result. As you know, on Thursday last week the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. I have received a significant amount of correspondence on the referendum outcome and I understand you may have written with specific concerns. I will address these specific concerns in further correspondence as soon as I possibly can.
This vote is an unprecedented decision and one which I regret deeply. It is a decision which has divided our country and has left millions of people devastated and angry, especially young people, who overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining.
The path our country now faces is uncertain and I am extremely concerned about what will happen next. Already we have seen the pound drop to a 31 year low against the US dollar, the markets plummeted in the UK and Europe, and companies are indicating that they are considering moving offices and jobs from Britain to other countries in Europe. There is a very real risk that our economy will be irreversibly damaged as a result of the referendum. This seriously worries me, I am incredibly concerned for my children’s future and for the future of all my constituents. I am also incredibly concerned for the poorest and most vulnerable members of our communities as they are the people who are hardest hit in times of economic hardship.
I am also angry. I am angry at those who led the Leave Campaign for the litany of lies that they knowingly peddled to the country. Now that we are in the cold light of day after the referendum result, we see those people reneging on the commitments they made to voters during the campaign. Commitments like those to substantially reduce immigration and to spend £350 million pounds per week on the NHS have already been denied as either unworkable or unnecessary. Brexit campaigner and MEP Daniel Hannan has even denied that he and Vote Leave pledged to reduce immigration at all! (You can watch this here:bit.ly/294 and you can watch Nigel Farage say that the £350 million figure was a mistake here:bit.ly/290XpAV.)
These (now-exposed) lies were just some of the reasons that Britain has voted out and I am disgusted by the conduct of those campaigners. The electorate were sold a false promise which is unravelling everyday, while the statements made by the Remain campaign which were blasted as scaremongering are being proven true. Already hundreds of thousands of people who voted to leave the EU are claiming that they regret their decision.
While clearly this was a democratic vote and we must abide by this decision, I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues do not agree this outcome is in the best interests of Britain. We believe the United Kingdom is stronger, safer, and better off in Europe and therefore when we next face a General Election we will fight on a platform to take the UK back into the EU. The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to keeping our place in Europe. As the other two parties fight amongst themselves, it falls to the Lib Dems to fight for our European future. If a majority of people vote for our party and other parties committed to the UK’s EU membership, then with that democratic mandate we can reverse the catastrophic decision made last Thursday.
Since the referendum over 7,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats because we are the only party fully committed to internationalism and liberalism. We need a strong Liberal Democrat party to ensure the United Kingdom does not become the country of Nigel Farage’s vision. We believe that Britain is and should be an engaged, outward-looking nation. One that welcomes immigrants, values their contributions, and is enhanced by other cultures, while of course recognising the need to support communities affected by immigration. We believe that Britain belongs in Europe, that we are European as well as British and that neither should diminish the other.
The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand and fight for a better kind of Britain than the one painted by the Leave campaign. I hope you will join me, the 7,000 new Liberal Democrats, and the British people who share this positive view of Britain.
Tom Brake MP