“It will be a terrible deal” was the response of the Liberal Democrats in Europe to the publication of the EU Withdrawal Agreement with its amendments. “The special situation of Northern Ireland will be highly complicated and this will lead to the massive extra burden of red tape for business as they try and work out applicable taxes and customs tariffs.
Rather than encouraging investment and employment in the province, this will discourage it. Staying in the European reduces red tape. There is simply no better deal, as Jo Swinson told Sophy Ridge on Sky a few days ago.
At least the agreement will give more certainty to the situation of European citizens in the UK and Britons living in the EU. They will have more time to regularise their status but it is actually hard to gloss over the fundamental erosion of rights and opportunities that is occuring. We urge both sides to give serious consideration in the future to preserve the right to work and live in the European Union in the future Free Trade Agreement.
The Liberal Democrats believe that this Agreement should be put to a People’s Vote to allow the electorate to see if this proposal should be the start of a new relationship between the UK and the EU. The option to remain on the current terms as full members of the EU should also be on the ballot paper and the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party has proposed an amendment to the Queen’s Speech to this effect which should be taken next Tuesday.
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