European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:30 am on 7th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon Liberal Democrat 11:30 am, 7th March 2017

As I remember, to my cost, the noble Lord’s recollection of what positions Liberal Democrats took in the past has not always been entirely accurate. On this issue surely the difference is this. When the Wales referendum was put, it was put on a specific proposition, fully backed up with policy and detail. On this occasion, the proposition put to the British people was to leave or not. They decided to leave. That mandate is clear and the Government are entitled to enact it. But, unless the noble Lord might like to suggest what the mandate is for the particular form of exit the Government choose, there is no mandate to leave the single market, nor to leave the common customs union. Therefore, if there is no mandate for that, why have the Government chosen to use it and follow the most hard-line Brexit possible? If the noble Lord believes that there is a mandate for that, will he describe what it is, given that the majority of the people in this country in opinion polls have made it clear that they do not support this and the Conservative—