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Autumn proves to be busier than ever


Dear Reader,

Last time I wrote to you I think I can safely say we were all looking forward to a long and restful summer, now, I find myself wondering just where that summer went! 

Almost before I got out and enjoyed the (fairly patchy) British summertime sunshine I found myself back in Brussels continuing with my wildlife legislative work, championing citizens' rights and welcoming our Peers and MPs. As a member of the African Caribbean and Pacific Parliamentary group, I've also been to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to discuss future trading relationships with the EU - and of course Brexit is a huge issue there.

More broadly, I think Autumn has shown us that the Liberal Democrats' 'Exit from Brexit' message is gaining traction - a day barely goes by when Vince isn't on the news or radio commenting on Brexit or attending protests. As the effects of Brexit begin to bite, I think we will see the media taking more of an interest in the Liberal Democrats' strategy of a vote on the terms of the deal which will also increase in popularity with the public - this fills me with hope that the idea will also gain traction on the green and red benches - so watch this space! 

Rather than slowing down, I get busier and busier and I am conscious I have more I want to share with you but that I don't want to overload you with too much. That's why I've now divided the newsletter loosely into stories about my parliamentary work and stories about my work with the party and in the UK. I've also returned to a format which will allow you to pick and choose which stories you wish to read more about.


Autumn Conference

What a conference that was! I often feel that conference gives us a chance to recharge or liberal batteries but never have I felt this was more true. As the debate around Brexit becomes bleaker and bleaker. Today's awful but unsurprising news about record levels of hate crime and a Tory government failing to negotiate and seemingly hell-bent on tearing up the open and tolerant country we all know and love, it was great to be surrounded by like-minded friends once again.


My visit to RSPB Otmoor really brings home the risk of Brexit to our environment

This month I visited RSPB's site at Otmoor near my home in Oxfordshire. It's always a pleasure to visit any RSPB site but this time I found the visit was even more important for spurring me on with my work as their Turtle Dove Champion and also more widely in the preservation of biodiversity.


South Central Regional Conference - congratulations are in order

This weekend I was in Beaconsfield for the South Central regional conference - it was great to once again meet friends and colleagues - many of whom I've known for decades now!




Give citizens a standalone deal!

You're all probably aware by now that citizens' rights have been my main concern during the Brexit negotiations - these are people who have made life decisions in good faith and Brexit shouldn't be causing them alarm and tearing up their plans.


Fact finding: our MPs and Peers visit Brussels

For a long time now, I have been concerned that the British press just isn't covering what I'm seeing in Brussels and I wanted our MPs and Peers to have the advantage in the debates by having experienced what the rest of Europe is now feeling about Brexit. 

That's why I invited a large group of them over to Brussels for a fact finding mission to aid them with their work during the Brexit process.


A letter to Vince from David Davis

Last week David Davis was kind enough to write a letter to Vince - the reason for his new found friendship? Me!

You may be unaware that the European Parliament has an advisory vote both once the deal has been reached and during the process. This month I and 556 fellow MEPs (including two Tories) voted for a Resolution that the Government leaders of the EU 27 should postpone their assessment of Brexit on 20th October as "sufficient progress" hasn't been made on the key aims. 

Yet my humble vote prompted Mr Davis to write to Vince requesting him to withdraw the whip from me!

What David Davis refuses to realise is that, far from acting against the national interest, I absolutely had to vote in the way I did. It's patently obvious to the world that the contents of David Davis's letter are pure bluster and time wasting - no concrete aims have been met and therefore neither side is ready to move on to more substantive discussions, and while he writes letters to Vince, he fails to turn up in Brussels! 

See my video response here.

This is a just quick reminder that me and my team are on hand to help. As the Brexit negotiations progress, things will become more and more messy and complicated. Remember, I can ask Questions to the Commission, use the European Parliament Research Service or request speaking time in the Parliament, what's more some of my friends in the European parliament have been recording videos of support in their native language ahead of May's elections - so if any of the above sounds like it may be useful to you please do get in touch with my team on [email protected] 


Catherine Bearder MEP


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