Dear Lilian Greenwood,
We are from different political parties. However, I believe not only that when we disagree we should do so respectfully but also that when we agree we shouldn’t be afraid to be open about it.
Last night MPs voted overwhelmingly to pass the Brexit bill to a second reading. This was not a great surprise to anyone, but for those of us who are liberal, internationalist and European it was a blow nonetheless.
There were a few bright points, however, and they deserve to be recognised. Ken Clarke’s blistering speech marked him as the only moderate Conservative with the courage to act to his conscience. His plea to his fellow party members was inspiring, and contained many reminders as to the true stakes this vote leaves in the balance. He should be celebrated for his part in this debate.
It’s a matter of pride that the Liberal Democrats voted overwhelmingly in rejecting the bill, and were the only UK-wide party to do so as a matter of firm policy. We know what we stand for.
As a Lib Dem Spokesperson in Nottingham, I want to recognise your courage. By joining with the a few dozen other rebels of your party to try and stop this catastrophe, you have won my deep and abiding respect.
You are not a Liberal Democrat, and we have many differences in points of principle and policy. But in this, I hope you are a strong ally, a voice speaking out against a trajectory that will inevitably lead to chaos.
As the battle lines of politics are redrawn, with more people defining themselves first by how they voted in the referendum than by party, we need to recognise that there are sometimes greater causes than yellow or red or blue.
The Liberal Democrats will fight for what we believe as hard as we can at the next election, because ultimately we don’t stand for the all the same things. But in the meantime, and long after, we hope that internationalist and liberal politicians of all parties can work together on the things that really matter to us all. You voting to reject this bill is a sign that you’re someone who’s willing to do this.
If you want to talk about how we can work together to help Nottingham in these uncertain times, my door is always open.
Thank you for taking what I’m sure was a tough decision and congratulations on doing what is right,
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, Nottingham City