From the UK Foreign Secretary bumbling his way through international diplomacy to the UK minister for trade threatening to use the rights of EU citizens as cards in a twisted game of bluff, it’s clear that the chaotic Brexit being overseen by Theresa May and her Brexiteers threatens to do irreparable damage to our country.
Liberal Democrats want our relationship with others to be open and progressive. We remain optimistic about our country’s future. We are proud citizens of Europe and the UK and refuse to give up on either.
Liberal Democrats have been clear. We want to give people a say on the terms of Brexit through a referendum. Voting for departure is not the same as voting for a destination. What started as a democratic process cannot end in a stitch up where the people of the UK are left with a hard Brexit they didn’t vote for.
In Scotland, if the First Minister was serious about building a broad coalition then she would take independence off the table and not risk compounding the risk of Brexit with another divisive referendum.
The First Minister has questions to answer. Does she stand with her own cabinet minister Mike Russell who has said he can’t imagine the circumstances where the SNP would vote for Brexit? This week he opened the door to discussing joining us in opposing Article 50 unless there is a referendum on the terms of the deal. Or does the First Minister stand with Alex Salmond who, also this week, indicated it was perfectly possible that the SNP could vote with the Tories for Brexit after all.
Liberal Democrats refuse to give up on the UK or the EU.
Momentum is with those of us who believe Brexit should not be invoked without the UK public having a say on the terms of our exit.
This is the Liberal Democrats’ challenge to the First Minister: if you really believe in Scotland remaining within the European Union, instruct your MPs in Westminster to vote down any attempt to trigger Article 50 that does not include an opportunity for the people of this country to vote on the terms the UK negotiates with the European Union.
Fight to keep the whole UK open and progressive. Prove you lead a proud internationalist party.