The 19th October is set to be an historic day for our country. The future of our family of nations could be shaped for generations to come by the decisions that our parliament takes as a result.
While the eyes of the world are on London, they will see hundreds of thousands of people flood the streets to say loud and clear that they want a People’s Vote. While MPs inside parliament debate the deal brought back from Brussels, it will be the voices outside those walls that will ring out the loudest.
The Liberal Democrats have campaigned for the public to have a Final Say for more than three years. I have never been more determined than this weekend to stop Brexit. The best deal we have is as a member of the European Union, and when we get a People’s Vote, as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, I will be making the case for us to Remain in the EU.
It is so crucial that we have the Final Say, because what we know about Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is terrifying.
Boris Johnson may say that this is a great deal, but he is also a man who has been sacked twice for lying, smeared lies on the side of a bus and misled the Queen about proroguing parliament. Hardly a man who can be trusted to tell it like it is.
The reality is that every Brexit deal is a bad Brexit deal, and this one is particularly damaging. It would cause an economic loss to our economy to rival that seen after the financial crash, and according to the government’s own analysis would push down wages by around £150 a month for someone on the UK average income.
The economic shock will starve our public services of the cash they need, leaving the NHS and our schools without vital funding. It is a far cry from the wild promises made by Vote Leave, which boasted of extra cash for our health service once we left the EU.
And the removal of the so-called “level playing field” between the UK and the EU means that vital protections for workers risk being stripped away, not to mention the environmental protections which are so essential for tackling the climate emergency.
Johnson’s deal is economic and cultural vandalism that no government should ever willingly inflict on the country they govern. And that is why it has to go back to the people so that they can have the final say on this specific Brexit deal. That is why I will be marching, along with hundreds and thousands of others, to make sure we are heard.
Our voices will be ringing out to demand that we be an open-hearted, caring and inclusive country that looks to work with our neighbours, not turn our backs on them. Our best future is one where we work together with our closest allies to tackle the big issues we face, like the climate emergency and international terrorism. I want to live in a world where we are free to travel across borders, where people can live, work and love across Europe without barriers.
That is the country I will be marching for, and I want every MP who is considering voting for this deal to hear our voices loud and clear when it is time to vote in parliament. That is especially true of those Labour MPs flirting with the idea of marching through the voting lobbies with Boris Johnson and helping him deliver his bad Brexit deal. If Brexit is delivered by Labour votes, Remainers will never forget that.
Boris Johnson is determined to force this bad deal on the country, just as he attempted to force no-deal on the country.
I want him to know we are not going to let him. Whatever happens tomorrow, our fight is not over.
Jo Swinson is leader of the Liberal Democrats
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies