Whether you’re leave or remain, Theresa May just betrayed you on Brexit | Tim Farron

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Nine out of 10 voters want Britain in the single market, yet May is ripping us out. Only the Lib Dems are fighting to oppose this treachery

Todays speech on Brexit was yet another hopeless attempt by the prime minister to mask the fact that the government has absolutely no strategy when it comes to the most defining issue facing our country for decades.

It was a mixture of vague fantasies, and toothless threats to our nearest neighbours. Britain needs friends more than ever at the moment, and Theresa May has succeeded in uniting the rest of Europe against her, guaranteeing an even harder path for the United Kingdom in its negotiations.

May has decided before she has even entered into negotiations with the EU that the only decisive act of her premiership will be to tear the UK out of the single market. She has given up on the most important part of the Brexit negotiations at the first hurdle, allowing herself to be taken hostage by those in her party who are the Tory equivalent of Momentum fundamentalists hell bent on taking their party away from the mainstream. When it comes to British prosperity and British democracy, she is waving the white flag from the White cliffs of Dover.

In doing so, she has confirmed that Britain is heading for a hard Brexit. She has made the choice to do massive damage to the British economy.

Illustration
Illustration: Andrzej Krauze

Clearly, the prime minister has the energy to fight a cynical court case against parliamentary democracy, but not to stand up for Britains place in a market that her own cabinet have spent their careers stressing is fundamental to our economic wellbeing and, with it, our social cohesion.

The irony of May praising Margaret Thatchers legacy was palpable. The single market is, after all, a UK invention spearheaded by Thatcher. It has allowed Britain to prosper and become one of the strongest economies in the world, and given people the ability to travel, study and do business across Europe. Remarkably, May believes that no deal is better than a bad deal contrary to the widely felt views of the business community, not to mention all the young people whose future she has just jeopardised.

Last months Richmond Park byelection won by Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney, fighting on the issue of Europe should have proved to the prime minister that hard Brexit was not what the British public voted for. The resignation of MP Stephen Phillips from his Sleaford and North Hykeham seat should also have demonstrated the level of dissatisfaction felt from even her own benches that what was on the ballot paper was not the type of Brexit we are now heading for.

Todays speech was yet another vain attempt by the prime minister to rewrite history. She claimed that people voted to leave the single market. They did not. In fact, polls show that 90% of voters want to remain part of the single market.

What is certain is that a hard Brexit will leave the UK less socially and economically well-off. Though the pound rallied today, it had earlier slumped to a fresh 31-year low in glum anticipation of the prime ministers speech begging the question once again of where the government will find the money to fund the extra 350m to the NHS that we were promised as part of the Brexit package.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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