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Lib Dems vote to support Rejoin movement – but rule out campaigning immediately

Former Lib Dem MEP Luisa Porritt wears a Bollocks to Brexit t-shirt. - Credit: Twitter

Liberal Democrat members have ruled out an amendment to a motion at conference which would have seen the party campaigning to rejoin the EU immediately after the transition period ends.

But the party did vote in favour of an amendment which backs supporting a “longer term objective” of the UK being a member of the European Union.

In a crunch vote at the party’s virtual conference 337 (24%) supported an amendment which called for an immediate campaign to Rejoin, contradicting leader Ed Davey’s recent remarks ruling one out.

Instead, 1,071 (76%) supported a call to continue to set out their pro-European values by insisting that they would support membership of the EU over a longer timeframe.

Ed Davey insists Lib Dems are ‘passionately pro-European’ de

The party’s ruling Federal Conference Committee had originally selected an amendment which said that the Lib Dems “believe that… the European Union is our natural home and the UK’s rightful place should be at the heart of the EU” and “resolves to keep all options open.”

It comes after Davey ruled the party out of supporting Rejoin at the next election, saying it was “for the birds”.

The party’s Brexit spokeswoman Christine Jardine said following the debate on the motion: “With our country already facing the biggest economic and health crisis in generations, it is unthinkable that the UK would crash out of the transition period without a deal.

“Boris Johnson must start putting the nation first, rather than sacrificing everything and anything in his ideological pursuit of Brexit. This is about stopping the disaster of food shortages, medicine shortages, and more.

“At every step of the Brexit process, Liberal Democrats were clear in our pro-EU position. We’ll never turn our back on our pro-European values because we are so much better off standing together than we could ever be alone.

“That is why our duty now is to put every last ounce of political energy towards stopping a no-deal and opposing Boris Johnson’s efforts to drag the country’s reputation through the mud by breaking international law.”