Further Developments in Discussions with the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:29 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Newby Lord Newby Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 3:29 pm, 11th March 2019

He does. He may not have been listening, but I have said that, if the people decided in a further referendum that they wished to leave the EU, we would respect that decision. Would we go through the Lobbies with anything other than a very heavy heart? No, we would not. If we had another referendum and the people decided that the Prime Minister’s deal made the country better off, I would still not believe that to be the case. I would respect the decision, but that does not mean that I would suddenly say, “Oh, my word—for three years I have been mistaken”. The noble Lord knows that for a Liberal Democrat to lose a vote is not a totally new experience. If I lose another vote, it will not be new to me, but it will not mean that I stop thinking what I thought the day before I lost the vote—any more than the noble Lord, who has sometimes stood for Governments who have not prevailed, has stopped thinking that the Labour Party should remain in government. That is the nature of politics as I understand it.

We know now that the vast majority of young people believe that to leave the EU would be a bad mistake because it is bad for their future. We know that the majority of Labour voters, and the majority of voters in virtually every constituency, are in favour of having a vote and in favour on that basis of then remaining in the EU. If the Minister and the Government Front Bench are so sure that their deal is a good one, what are they worried about? Let us have a vote. Get on with it. We have had previous elections, as the noble Lord knows—