The Lib Dems are to vote against the UK leaving the EU, unless there is a referendum on the terms of the deal, the party has confirmed.
Its leader Tim Farron today laid out a red line on the Brexit negotiations, saying “the will of the people must prevail”.
“Millions of people are deeply worried by the government’s handling of Brexit”, he told BBC’s Today Programme.
“So my position is very clear: The Liberal Democrats believe that the people are sovereign.
“They must decided whether or not they agree with the deal that the government reaches with Brussels, which means a referendum at the end of the negotiations where people can either vote for the deal or to remain in Europe”.
The Lib Dem’s desire to keep Britain in the European single market has been well known since the Brexit vote in June.
Farron said today that a second vote would prevent a “stitch up” on the terms of the deal.
“We believe what started with democracy last June, which we totally respect, must not now end up with a stitch-up, with a deal being imposed on the British people that absolutely nobody voted for”, he said.
The Lib Dem leader called his position “the only logical and democratic option”.
“We said we would vote against Article 50 if our red line is not met and it is a single simple red line, which is we want to respect the will of the people and that means that they must have their say in a referendum on the terms of the deal”, he said.
“It’s the only logical and democratic option on the table, there will be a referendum at the end of the process so that nobody would have imposed upon them something they didn’t vote for.”
“We will vote against Article 50 unless it allows the people a vote on the deal because the will of the people must prevail - both on departure and destination.”
The MP called for transparency over the government’s position on the single market, immigration and policing, as there were “umpteen different options as to where Britain might end up”.
“The more you look at this, you’ll see the Liberal Democrat position is the only clear one and it’s the only logical one because what we’re going to get at the end of this process is a lot of people who will get a deal imposed upon them.
“I can absolutely guarantee to you the 48 per cent will be unhappy with that and probably most of the 52 per cent will be too and we can be united in this, and that is there will be no consent for the way forward if the British people are not consulted.”