BELD members maintain close ties to their home constituencies in the UK. In the 2015 General Election 5 BELD members stood for the House of Commons as PPCs for their respective constituencies up and down the country. From Fylde in Lancashire, down to Wealden in Sussex, BELD members continue to make the case in their communities for an open Britain that embraces trade and increased cooperation with the rest of Europe.
The BELD branch will play a leading role in championing the rights of British Citizens based throughout the EU. Here is a list of organisations with the same aim, we encourage you to lend them your support also:
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I am still seething with anger and dismay at the Brexit result. Under normal circumstances I would be inclined reluctantly to say that a democratic vote must be respected. In this case, however, the circumstances are far from being normal: the disastrous outcome was achieved by such manifestly mendacious and fraudulent means that it can and should be treated as null and void. Legally a referendum is purely consultative and only parliament has the right to decide. In commercial law, I believe, a contract may be set aside if it can be shown that a party to the contract was deliberately deceived. The Leave campaign deliberately played on irrational and misinformed apprehensions [while attributing scare-tactics to their opponents!].
Despite being bitterly disappointed with the result of the referendum, we would like to thank everybody who contributed to our campaign in some way.
Please find below a summary of our activities before June 23rd. The sheer amount of activity created by a small number of people, all volunteers working in their spare time, demonstrates that it only takes a few determined individuals to make a real impact.
First of all I want to give a huge welcome to all those new members living across Europe who have joined the Liberal Democrats in recent weeks. Many of you are no doubt deeply concerned about the potential impact of Brexit. So I want you to know that whatever happens, our party will be fighting to maintain a close relationship with Europe and to defend the rights of UK expats living across the continent.
"Since the referendum's result last Friday, a new dynamic has developed with an online petition calling for a second referendum which had already gathered more than 3.3 million signatures by Sunday 19.00hrs CET
It reads: 'We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum'. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215
All British citizens can sign the petition, which means those of us disenfranchised in the referendum vote can at last express our opinion that the vote was unrepresentative of the will of all the British people.
The two main British political parties are in turmoil. Only the Liberal Democrats stand united in support of British membership of the EU.
Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats calls upon Europe's leaders to give British people time to resolve this issue and not demand that Article 50 is triggered.
If a second referendum is eventually held, we demand that the British Government enfranchises all British citizens living abroad, allowing them to cast a vote to help determine their future".
"The British people have spoken. Now all must accept the result. The Government must move on to negotiate Britain's departure from the European Union in a constructive way in what will be a period of considerable uncertainty for the UK.
Watched from the European continent, Brits living overseas have been in shock concerning how the referendum campaign has been conducted in their home country, without any thought being given to their well-being and interest, with many of them not allowed to vote. Brussels and Europe Lib Dems call upon the British Government to ensure the interests of Brits living abroad are properly taken care of in any negotiations to leave.
Europe's leaders should promptly set out a new vision for the EU to generate the necessary understanding and support of their electorates.
Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats will play their role in promoting the interests of Brits overseas when negotiations get underway and in getting them full voting rights."
Brussels and Europe Lib Dems (BELD) - with its 400 members in 22 EU Member States - has been at the forefront of the UK Referendum campaign in continental Europe, aimed at encouraging the maximum number of eligible British citizens in the EU to register and vote. It is estimated that around 250-300,000 Brits overseas finally registered to vote, about three times the number compared to the 2015 General Election. BELD will continue to fight for the rights of Brits living in the EU; for overseas constituencies to be formed to represent their specific interests; and to ensure that the British Government honours its manifesto pledge to abolish the discriminatory 15 year rule and give everyone their vote back in time for the General Election expected in 2020.
Thousands of British voters abroad might find their vote in this week's crucial referendum is wasted, after some local councils left sending out ballots until the last minute and some post offices on the continent refused to accept ballots, says George Cunningham,
Around 300,000 expat Brits may have registered to vote in the EU Referendum on 23rd June, three times as many as for the 2015 General Election. While this is a partial validation of the Electoral Commission's voter registration drive, successful registration is not the same thing as successful voting.
As we've noted before, local British councils need to ensure overseas voters actually receive their postal ballots in time to send them back before polls close in the UK on 23rd June. The debacle of the 2015 General Election is still fresh in many minds, when many ballots were sent out late.
In response to the public outcry due to the registration system crashing on the day of the deadline - 7th June - government ministers confirmed that the voter registration was to be extended to midnight 9th June.
Following an intervention by Brussels and Europe Lib Dems with the British Embassy in Brussels, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office checked the issue of problems related to the return of postal ballots with the Electoral Commission.
Campaigners are making a final call to urge British expats to register to vote in the EU Referendum on 23d June. This follows the Electoral Commission survey that showed that over half of Brits abroad don't know that they can register to vote online and that they should do so by 16th May.
George Cunningham, Chair of the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats and expat campaign group "Brits Abroad: Yes to Europe", said:
'Unlike other elections, every vote will count in the referendum. British expats should not assume that someone else will carry theirs for them. With the 'Remain' and 'Leave' polls neck and neck, we cannot take anything for granted. Expats should register to vote straight away and certainly by 16th May'.