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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Brexit, one year on

June 25, 2017 10:54 PM
Originally published by Rutland and South Lincolnshire Liberal Democrats

A lot can change in a year.

On 23rd June 2016, I was left heartbroken after a tough and exhausting referendum campaign saw a victory for an insular nationalist vision of Britain.

The vote to Leave has divided our country in a way even 'Project Fear' could never have imagined.

After the referendum, we were told that the populist right was on an unstoppable rise. Geert Wilders, Netherland's answer to Donald Trump, would storm to victory in the Dutch general election; Marine Le Pen would triumph over the established political consensus in the French Presidential election; and the Liberal Democrats' fight to keep Britain in Europe was laughed off.

But a lot can change in a year.

Our ALDE sister Party, VVD, secured victory in the Netherlands with a lead of over 8 points. Voters in France chose a pro-European liberal vision of hope as Emmanuel Macron overwhelmingly won the Presidency and obtained an absolute majority in the French Parliament.

And in the UK, it's still all to fight for. Theresa May called a general election to ask the electorate to force through her destructive Brexit and the public refused to give her the mandate.

The latest polling on Brexit shows big movement - 53 per cent of people now back the Lib Dem position for a final say on the Brexit deal.

Opposition to hard Brexit is increasing as the lies of the Leave campaign unravel and the reality of Brexit begins to bite.

This opposition to Brexit is being led by the Liberal Democrats and there is still all to fight for.

Together, we must fight to keep Britain in the Single Market and Customs Union. We must fight to give European citizens the right to stay. We must fight to protect our science, research and education programmes, such as ERASMUS, and we absolutely must remain a full member of the Euratom Treaty.

And when all the deal making has been done, before the signatures go on the paper, we must give the people the final say over the deal in another referendum vote.

A lot can change in a year. Let's make sure it's for the better

* Catherine Bearder is the Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East