Following talks with Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron concludes Article 50 could be revoked
Article 50 could be revoked if the UK changed its mind over Brexit, according to Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.
Speaking after talks in Brussels with European Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, Farron said: ‘We discussed whether Article 50 can be revoked, and my conclusion is that if there is the political will, it would be possible to do so.
‘We need to make sure that people feel that the deal expresses what they voted for and where they want Britain to stand in the world.
‘The people owned the decision to leave, and they have every right to own the decision on a destination. That is why I believe there must be a referendum on the terms of the deal.’
And Verhofstadt warned that there would be ‘no flexibility’ from the EU on freedom of movement rights if the UK wanted to retain the benefits of single market membership.
‘We shall not compromise on that, that is very clear,’ he told reporters in Brussels. Verhofstadt also poked fun at the Prime Minister’s goal of a ‘red, white and blue’ Brexit, pointing out they were ‘the French colours’.
Meanwhile in Parliament Brexit Secretary David Davis faced a grilling over the PM’s concession that the Government will set out its ‘strategic plans’ ahead of the triggering of talks on withdrawal from the EU.
Davis faced calls from opposition MPs and some Conservative backbenchers for the plan to be detailed enough to be subject to rigorous scrutiny in the Commons before the planned launch of negotiations under Article 50 in March 2017.
Europhile former chancellor Kenneth Clarke said Mrs May’s promise to reveal her plan was ‘extremely vague’, and called for it to be set out in detail in a White Paper for publication before the invocation of Article 50.
But Mr Davis insisted the Government must retain ‘room for manoeuvre’ to respond with ‘a high degree of agility and speed’ to developments in extremely complex negotiations expected to last two years.
Responding to an opposition day motion in the Commons calling on the Government to reveal its plans, he challenged Labour to show it was not trying to ‘thwart or delay’ Brexit.
But he said the plan must set out whether the Government intends to keep Britain in the European single market or customs union or to seek a transitional arrangement to cover the period immediately after Brexit.
And he said it must offer ‘enough detail and clarity’ to end uncertainty and allow Parliament, the devolved assemblies and the Office for Budget Responsibility to scrutinise it effectively and to build ‘consensus’ in the country around Britain’s future.
Sir Keir insisted: ‘There is no mandate for Hard Brexit. There is no consensus for Hard Brexit.’