Willie Rennie attacks Chequers plan as 'democracy ripped out of Britain'

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The Prime Minister’s Chequers plans for Brexit would result in “the biggest surrender of power this country has probably ever seen”, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said.

In a broadside against Theresa May’s negotiation strategy, Mr Rennie said Chequers represented “democracy ripped out of Britain” that would leave the country as a “rule taker, not a rule maker”.

Mr Rennie’s speech at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton underlines the challenge the Prime Minister faces in trying to get any Brexit deal through parliament.

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“Theresa May’s best option for Brexit will throw away the gains from cooperation with our neighbours that we have worked hard to deliver over forty years,” the Scottish Lib Dem leader said.

“Her Chequers plan will create a democratic vacuum, too. After 40 years of setting the rules, the common rule book will be written by European countries, not Britain.

“And when they make a new rule that’s not in our economic interests we will just have to suck it up.

“We’ll be a rule taker, not a rule maker.

“Rules set by Europe and implemented by the UK Government - democracy ripped out of Britain.”

Mr Rennie added: “If we do not turn back this will be the biggest surrender of power this country has probably ever seen. What a betrayal that would be.”

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In his speech, the Scottish Lib Dem leader also condemned “Conservatives and Nationalists dividing and damaging our country”, saying rows over Brexit and Scottish independence were distracting from work to improve public services.

“These truly are the wasted years. There are so many positive things we could do, change we could make, so many people we could help instead.

“This is why we need change and we need it now.”