Aude with her trophy and Willie Rennie

Dunfermline Liberal Democrats are delighted to say that our membership secretary and prospective candidate for West Fife and Coastal Villages, Aude Boubaker-Calder, has won the Scottish Liberal Democrat award for the best speech at Conference yesterday, the Russell Johnston Trophy.

Aude’s speech was presenting her amendment to the motion Fighting for our place in the UK and Europe. Aude’s amendment called for the UK Government to give an unconditional guarantee to EU citizens living in Britain the right to remain, and her amendment was passed with almost unanimous approval.

Aude has said,

I was suprised and honoured to have not only win this award but also proud that my fellow Party members joined me in my battle to a provide a voice to the voiceless EU expatriates in the Brexit debate. It feels wonderful and inspiring to have my name amongst presitigious figures such as former Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace and Alistair Carmichael MP. I now call upon the British Government to take heed of the recent House of Lords amendment backing the right to stay for EU expatriates like myself.

You can read Aude’s speech below:

For the ones who weren’t there at the Autumn Conference I will present myself briefly: My name is Aude, I am from Belgium. I have been in Scotland for 4 years and a member of the Lib Dems for around 2 years. Since the 23rd June, I am like most of you. I an concerned about the unity of our country, our economy, our position in the EU and in the world but not only. In addition, I am worried about my place amongst you like the other 3 million EU expatriates.

Brexit causes distress for everyone in the UK. British families are unable to predict what their future will look like: professional and economical.

Myself, I am unable to plan my future and the one of my husband with this Damoclean sword hanging above me.

Not only did I not get a voice during the Referendum, but now the Tory Government has the audacity to use me and my fellow EU Expats a bargain ship in their hard Brexit negotiations.

EU Expats are threatened to lose the jobs, the houses and the lives they have built up here Some of them have applied in a hurry for a highly complex 85 page form to get permanent residency.

Lib Dem research has shown 28%, including those with British spouses and children, have been rejected, sometimes for an unticked box, and were told to prepare to leave the country.

Some of us have to face blatant racism. Someone told me when campaigning this week in Dunfermline to go back to my country. What I answered with a big smile is that my country is the UK and I will fight for it!

We all know uncertainty is bad for any economy. See the chaos that Brexit has already caused and what the future ahead is for the UK and Scotland. Some businesses are run by EU citizens as well as doctors, nurses, teachers and academics. We are already facing a shortage in our public services such Education and the NHS, who is going to replace them?

Some claim that EU Expats are scroungers or even beggars. Well, let set things straight: I have never received a penny in benefits in the UK. In fact, Government research showed in 2013-2014 that recent EU expats paid £2.54 billion more in tax than they received in benefits and as a whole they paid £20 billion more in tax than they received in public services. British citizens, on the other hand, received more in public services than paid in taxes.So the question is: can you afford to lose us? I don’t think so.

Britain was one of the first countries to introduce a parliamentary democracy giving a voice to the people. I have the feeling that the pride of this advanced nation has been tarnished by the Tories definition of democracy: the tyranny of the majority over the minority. David Cameron shut the fundamental right to be represented for the those of us who were the most affected by the Referendum. Theresa May followed his steps. A few weeks ago, we saw Mrs May and President Trumps walking hand in hand in The White House just like their policies. He attacks the Mexicans and the Muslims, she attacks the most vulnerable and the EU expats. What a brilliant couple who want to build walls against diversity!

However, in all darkness there is a sparkle of light. Last week, the Lib Dems accomplished a major achievement in the House of Lords. We ensured that the amendment guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK passed. It made me proud to be a Lib Dem!

Today, I would like this Conference to send a powerful message to Teresa May: not in our name! I ask Conference to give a voice to the voiceless and to pass this motion as well as this amendment and let EU expats and their families know they have a friend in the Liberal Democrats and especially the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

You can watch part of her speech this week on BBC iPlayer.