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Article 50 - what’s next

March 8, 2017 9:59 AM
By Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords

Lord Dick NewbyOver the last month, I've led Liberal Democrat peers in scrutiny of the article 50 bill in the Lords and during that time, we have sought to make changes to the government's plans.

We had three goals: to protect Britain's membership of the single market; protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

Unfortunately, two of our amendments that would have protected membership of the single market and given you a final say on the deal were defeated after the Labour Leadership failed to support us, and even went so far as to back the Government over plans to tear us away from the single market. A third amendment which would force the government to guarantee EU citizens right to stay passed, as was an amendment which we supported to give Parliament a meaningful say at the end of the process.

So, as only one of our three principal goals in the Lords were been met, last night we made the rare decision to vote against the Article 50 bill at Third Reading.

Once again, the Leadership of Labour in the Lords chose not to support us and the Bill now return to the Commons for the final stage of the process.

We will try again in the Commons to ensure that the amendments passed by the Lords are retained in the final bill.

The Government have already indicated they intend to try and have the amendments removed from the bill - and we should do everything we can to stop this.

In particular, we will attempt to force the Government to guarantee EU Citizens Right to Stay. This would give safety and security to over three million people who've made their lives here, it'd be the right thing to do, and it'd make it much more difficult for the EU not to guarantee the rights of UK Citizens living in the EU.

You can help make the case to MPs and the Government not to remove this amendment by adding your name to our petition and by tweeting Theresa May using the hashtag #RightToStay and asking her to guarantee EU citizens right to stay:

Add your name Tweet Theresa May

Dick Newby
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords