The Liberal Democrats have always believed that Britain should be outward facing: collaborating with other countries to tackle global challenges. Our membership of the European Union allows us to do that.
Britain has now voted to leave. The margin of victory was small and risks dividing our country. We must respect the outcome of the referendum in how we talk about moving forward.
We realise, particularly here in Hastings and Rye, that for many people this was not just a vote about Europe. It was also a howl of anger at politicians and institutions who they feel are out of touch and have let them down.
But make no mistake, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove won this campaign by deliberately deceiving these voters.
They offered cheap slogans and easy answers that they knew they could never keep. Their hollow pledge of £350 million for the NHS has already unravelled and people will be right to feel angry that they have been let down again.
We stand with the many, many European citizens who have made Britain their home. We are immensely grateful for the contribution they make to our constituency and our country and we are committed to ensuring they can remain here and feel safe here.
We believe our country’s future is still best served by our membership of the European Union, despite its flaws. Millions of our fellow citizens believe that. We also believe many of those people long for a country that is tolerant, compassionate and positive about Britain’s role for good in the world.
That is why the Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron MP, has confirmed our party will fight the next election on a clear and unequivocal promise to restore Britain’s prosperity and role in the world, with the United Kingdom in the European Union, not outside it.
Chair, Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrats
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