The Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens are working together, alongside rebels from Labour and the Conservatives, to fight Brexit. Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable and leading figures from British opposition parties met Michel Barnier at the European Commission’s Berlaymont building headquarters in Brussels
Mr Cable pressed Barnier on the need for the EU to make contingency plans for a People’s Vote and to protect EU and UK citizens rights in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The other attendees were SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford, Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts, and Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party’s MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar.
In a joint statement, these UK politicians said:
“In a constructive hour long meeting with Michel Barnier, we emphasised that there is a cross-party resistance in Westminster to the destructive Brexit being pursued by the Tories. We also pointed out that this is being waved through by the Labour frontbench, but no majority exists in Parliament for the current Brexit trajectory.
“With sensible politicians from all parties uniting, we pointed out to Mr Barnier that there is a genuine cross-party consensus that our exit from the European Union must not be assumed.”
“My message to Michel Barnier was clear: it’s time to start serious contingency planning for a People’s Vote,” said Mr Cable after the meeting. “We know the UK government has started making such plans as a result of the growing demand for such a vote, demonstrated by last weekend’s march.
“The EU should do the same, because MPs who back the People’s Vote are fast forming the biggest and most cohesive bloc in Westminster. I also pressed him on ringfencing rights of British citizens in the EU and vice versa in the event of a no deal. It is simply the right thing to do.”
“I am grateful to Mr Barnier for meeting with us today and providing us with the opportunity to set out our position of an alternative to the UK government’s damaging Brexit plans,” said SNP’s Ian Blackford. “The UK government’s reckless approach to negotiations threatens livelihoods and ignores the clear wishes of the people of Scotland.
“Scotland voted to remain in the EU and we continue to press the UK Government to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union so we can protect jobs and living standards”
“I pressed Michel Barnier on protecting Wales’s interest through the extension of Article 50 and a People’s Vote,” said Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts. “In Westminster, with the Prime Minister’s proposals amounting to nothing more than a mix of fudge and fantasy, a People’s Vote is more likely than ever.
“Corbyn’s Labour are now our biggest barrier to delivering a European future that could work for everyone. The Labour frontbench remain self-righteous and amateur in equal measure, delivering Brexit hand in hand with the Tories.
“As every sensible opposition party unites behind workable solutions, Labour must now reconsider its position.”
“We appreciate having time with the chief negotiator and his willingness to listen to our views,” said Molly Scott Cato, MEP of Green Party. “ I expressed to him the concerns raised with me by constituents about the undemocratic nature of the Brexit vote and the undermining of British democracy. I let him know that the Green Party is working for a people’s vote with an option to remain in the EU.”