People who fail to fight against a hard Brexit will be a “disappointment” to their children, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron will say at the Lib Dem spring conference on Friday.
Mr Farron will urge pro-Europeans not to be cowed by criticism and abuse but to “stand up and fight” to prevent Theresa May’s extreme plans for EU withdrawal.
The Lib Dem leader will rejoice in his Brexiteer nickname of “Remoaner in chief”, saying: “Obviously I’m speechless, incredibly proud.”
And he will tell a rally at the conference: “Now is not the time to sit down and shut up. Now is the time to stand up and fight.
“There is only one thing worse than being a disappointment to your parents, and that is being a disappointment to your children.
“In ten, 20, 30 years from now, our children and our grandchildren will ask each of us what did we do to stop this senseless lurch into division, hardship and intolerance?
“And while others will have to look away in numbing shame, we will look our children in the eye and say we did everything, we did everything.”
Mr Farron will refuse to concede defeat on Brexit, adding: “I am determined that I will be able to look them in the eye and say that we did everything – and that we won.”
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
The York conference takes place against the backdrop of an apparent Lib Dem revival, with a string of by-election victories built on the party’s opposition to Brexit.
In an interview on Thursday, Mr Farron said party membership had doubled since the general election, reaching 82,500 – describing that success as “the wind in our sails”.
Appealing to corporate Britain, he argued that business pressure on the Government represented the best chance of softening the Prime Minister's approach to Brexit.
“If you are giving the Tories so much as a penny you are funding your own funeral,” Mr Farron said.
The Lib Dems received more in donations than Labour in the final three months of 2016 and Mr Farron is now aiming at the Tories – arguing that supporters should switch now, before Brexit talks get under way.
Mr Farron told the Press Association: “Everybody in business knows that leaving the single market will be massively damaging to our economy, to individual firms, to families and to the Chancellor's own revenues.
“So what can we do to prevent a hard Brexit, to keep us in the single market?
“You need to persuade Theresa May and Philip Hammond they need to listen to business voices rather than to those extreme pro-hard Brexit voices that are currently within the Tory party.
“How would you do that? If you are in business, you should drop the Tory party today like a hot brick.”
Mr Farron also claimed that Brexit – and the passage of time – has led the public to change its mind about Nick Clegg, after his vilification over his student fees U-turn.
“I often said this during the height of the opposition we received during our time in Coalition, that Nick Clegg would be very, very well regarded by history; history would be kind to him and unkind to David Cameron.
"I think I am already proven right on both counts.”Reuse content