After the Tory MP and famous europhile Ken Clarke’s furious speech, it was former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s turn to give a passionate defence of Remainers in the Commons and attack the government’s position on Brexit.
Watch him here:
Video: Open Britain
He said the result of the EU referendum had given Theresa May’s government a mandate to make the UK leave the European Union, but not to turn the country into “some tawdry, low-regulation, low-tax, cowboy economy”.
He also described May’s attitude towards Donald Trump as a “ludicrous, sycophantic farce” and denounced how, after “having burned every bridge left with our friends in Europe”, she rushed to meet the US President whose “nativism, isolationism and protectionism” is “diametrically opposed to the long-term strategic interests of the United Kingdom”.
He addressed the worries of many Remainers, regarding not only the relationship with Europe but also the stability of the Union after Brexit. May’s government, he said, “decided to spurn all friendship links with Europe. They decided to disregard the needs of Scotland, Northern Ireland and, indeed, our great capital London. They decided to placate parts of the Conservative party rather than serve the long-term strategic interests of this country.”
He was especially critical about the trade deal the government is seeking with the European Union, declaring that “the government’s position is asking for the impossible and the undeliverable”.
“It is not possible to say that we will not abide by the rulings of a marketplace and then somehow claim that we will get unfettered access to that marketplace,” Clegg said. “That is not going to happen.”
The former Lib Dem leader turned Remainer-in-Chief said Downing Street had disregarded “the hopes, the dreams and the aspirations” of 16 million citizens and is ignoring the people whose lives Brexit will affect the most: the younger generation. “73 per cent of them voted for a different future,” he reminded the House.
Clegg concluded by calling for a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal: “The Brexit campaign deliberately did not spell out to the British people what Brexit means, which is why it is right that, when we finally do know what Brexit means, the British people have another say.”