Conservatives for Liberty took a firm stance on the UK’s membership of the EU, with our team working hard across the country to persuade voters and get out the vote. If you’re a regular follower of the blog, you’ll know we’ve also been writing prolifically on the subject.
Our vision for the UK is of a strong, confident nation open to the world. We want to see the UK leading the world on free trade, with a non-discriminatory immigration policy which ensures our economy has the supply of labour & skills it requires to grow, the gradual review and repeal of regulations, and a restoration of democratic accountability through parliamentary sovereignty.
With this outlook, I’m sure our readers can imagine our frustration at the direction taken by the official Vote Leave campaign, which has too often focussed on immigration and some figures which require more explanation than is good in this kind of campaign. At times we have felt this win was not possible, and we are absolutely overjoyed that all of our hard work – truly our blood, sweat and tears – has paid off.
We also thank David Cameron for his work as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister – and importantly, for delivering this referendum. We now look forward to the selection of a new leader, and the renewal of the Conservative Party. We are pleased that Article 50, the mechanism through which we expect to leave the EU, will not be triggered until after the new leader and Prime Minister is in place.
The Conservatives for Liberty team have welcomed the result in their own words:
“This is the beginning that we have been eagerly campaigning for. The future is uncertain, but it the best kind of uncertainty – the one where the UK gets to decide what happens next. CfL will be campaigning hard for the positive leadership our country needs. We must be open to the world – in terms of trade, immigration, and cooperation with other nations. The difference now is that we will be able to make deals with countries across the globe, and no longer be restricted to one continent.”
– Emily Barley, Chairman of CfL
“We worked hard in East Belfast to turn out high numbers of hard to motivate voters and were delighted to secure a Leave majority when every pollster told us it was impossible.
“This is one of the best days of my life. Our Independence Day marks not only our freedom to pursue our own destiny, but a sea change in British politics. For the first time in a long time – our rulers fear us.”
– Neil Wilson, Head of CfL Northern Ireland
“As a reporter surrounded by lots of very sad journalists at the East of England count, I had to keep my feelings bottled up for good few hours after it became clear the people had confounded the pollsters again and voted for Brexit – ironically with exactly the same 52-48 percentage of the vote which was predicted for Remain.
“So, by the time I set off home at 6.30am, I ended up truly blubbing my eyes out and laughing manically the entire 30 minute drive, listening to God Save the Queen, Land of Hope and Glory, and Rule, Britannia! The latter was from a performance at the Last Night of the Proms in which a number of lines were sung in Welsh. How apt.
“All three anthems captured my mood perfectly as my bottom lip quivered uncontrollably like Tony Blair’s and tears were streaming down my face. They sing of a land of liberty, optimism, and opportunity; an island which trades with the whole world on the high seas and whose subjects never, never, shall be slaves.
“I also couldn’t help but marvel at what a perfect 90th birthday present this was for the Queen; to be truly sovereign over her nation once again after 43 years. Happy birthday, Your Majesty.”
– Paul Nizinskyj, Creative Director of CfL
“A lot of debate during this referendum has been on matters of policy. What immigration policy will we have? What will we do with the £350m a week? What will be our trade policy? But in the end this referendum wasn’t a matter of policy – that will be a matter for whatever government forms after Cameron’s resignation – it’s a matter of democracy.
“From now on, for the first time in decades the sovereignty of Parliament has been restored. The British people will at last be able to directly elect those who legislate for them. This is no simple change in policy – it is a revolution of democracy. And I find that rather beautiful.”
– Thomas Stringer, Director of CfL
“There are many adjectives being used to describe the result of this referendum, my favoured two are ‘overdue’ and ‘historic’.
“If the people of the UK had voted to remain in the EU yesterday, they would have been wrongly convinced that is was all too difficult. Wrongly persuaded that that we had handed over our destiny 40 years ago and that it would be far too risky to unpick our ‘membership’. Given the mass mobilisation of the ‘establishment’ and of the ‘elite’, the result is absolutely amazing.
“I’m proud that the British people are labelled the ‘awkward squad’. What the Remain forces forgot is that the more they hector and threat the very people they purport to represent, the more we will laugh at them. If you treat the British people as idiots and call them nasty names, you will be punished.
“The British electorate are libertarian to their core, as evidenced on this our day of independence.”
– Pete Wilson
“This was the right decision. Britain is an open and freedom-loving country and can now truly go back to being a self-governing nation again; Britain is now free from and able to look beyond the undemocratic, bureaucratic and protectionist rule that is the EU. It will not be easy, but I do not doubt it will be worth it. And I hope Sweden will soon follow.”
– Sofia Svensson
“This issue is one that I have had interest in for quite some time, and I am elated to see the efforts of the volunteers come to culmination. As a steadfast Libertarian I wholeheartedly believe that the UK has made the best decision in leaving the EU; when democracy, smaller government, and decentralisation all prevail, we see more power in the hands of the people, and the lives of individuals improve.
“In removing an institution that props up crony-corporatism, and massive amounts of unfair wealth-distribution, we can finally work towards creating an economic environment, through freer markets and personal liberty, which are tried and tested in raising the standards of living for those in our society.”
– Daniel Gavigan
“I could not be prouder of the British population and the faith they have in our country and in democracy. Having the opportunity to not only vote in this huge political decision, but to campaign as well was an absolute privilege. Knowing we have shaped history is an extremely surreal but amazing reality.”
– Eva Henderson
“Britain is finally free. Finally able to govern ourselves. Finally Parliament is sovereign again. At long last, Britain has escaped the elitist, undemocratic shackles of supranational governance. At last, we won’t be investing in what we don’t want and doesn’t benefit us. At last, women won’t be taxed for having periods.
“When we know what we want, we can actually fight for it. We can cut out the bad guys; hold our representatives to account; make sure our money is spent properly; politicians can be called out for exploiting us for their gain. We’ve taken the first step to destroy elitism, oppression and bloated government. We’ve taken back our freedom.“
– Maria Murphy
“What a brave and exciting thing for the British people to have done. I’m incredibly proud to have counted myself amongst those who Voted Leave.
“The EU was slowly becoming a Leviathan. Any government body that is not inherently self-limiting always grows indefinitely. Couple that with reprehensible policies such as the CAP and the CFP, I considered our continuing support for the project as wantonly amoral.
“This referendum felt awfully like the Proportional Representation referendum, where the (losing) Yes2AV camp, made up of people solidly in the political class spoke only to each other and neglected the needs and perspectives of ordinary voters.”
– Sara Scarlett
“For me Brexit is about reclaiming our own destiny and reinvigorating our democracy. Just as I believe individuals should be able to freely determine how they live the life, I believe the UK should have national self-determination and that is incompatible with EU membership. This is because EU is an undemocratic club where the unelected EU Commission both drafts and initiates legislation, whilst the EU Parliament cannot initiate legislation.
“We can go two ways after Brexit. We can either become insular and inward looking or as is my vision, we can realise there are many opportunities outside of the declining protectionist EU trade bloc, to trade with the rest of the world.”
– Stephen Hoffman, CfL Parliamentary Liaison
“As a young person backing Brexit, I have found myself labelled as ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’ for daring to believe that the European project has failed and that we should play no further part in it.
“For me, this vote is an affirmation by the British people that we are stronger as part of a wider global community than as a member of Fortress Europe. On a more personal level, it strengthens my belief in the power of democracy – the old adage that ‘if voting changed anything they’d make it illegal’ couldn’t be more false.
“Going forward, I hope that we seek a cooperative, trade-based relationship with the EU but one that does not see us chained to a failing political union. I also hope that we use this as an opportunity to engage more with the rest of the world and promote the values of democracy and freedom.”
– Ben Harris
“In an age of declining confidence in western democracy the British people have delivered one of the most resounding acts of self-determination the world has ever seen. Despite the scaremongering and condescension of Remain, 17,410,742 people were brave enough to believe in something better. It is now essential that both sides of the debate in the party and the country come together and do the best for Britain.
“I have heard scores of bitter remainers lamenting that they don’t recognize their country anymore. No, they don’t and that is the problem. Any blame for economic uncertainty should be placed squarely on a generation of gutless politicians who over the last 30 years have given away powers they had no right to relinquish.
“I hope that the decision of the British people galvanizes eurosceptics across the continent and is the first step in the eventual destruction of the undemocratic, unaccountable, corporatist monster that is the European Union.”
– Martin Bailey