By Christine Jardine MP

If a week is a long time in politics, then three years should seem like an eternity.

But somehow it just seems like the blink of an eye since the party was being written off in the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum.

Surely, the popular narrative went, that after a series of electoral disappointments culminating in that disastrous Westminster result in 2015, losing the fight for our EU membership would be the final nail in our coffin.

And why, they said, was then leader Tim Farron already calling for any deal to go back to the people for the final say?

The picture looks a whole lot different now.

Instead the fall-out from that shock result and our unequivocal commitment to both the UK and the EU has proved the catalyst for our resurgence.

In Scotland the first hint had come the month before the referendum with the Scottish party’s success in the Holyrood elections of 2016.

But in every vote from then, until last week, the evidence became ever more convincing that there was life in the old party yet.

Then the results last week categorically, and emphatically, underlined that the Liberal Democrats are back in business.

We ran a clear, honest and unambiguous campaign to stop Brexit.

The result was huge gains across the country.

That success followed on from our best-ever gains in English local election results at the start of May.

That big, bold call we had made in 2016 to put the Brexit deal back to the people and to campaign to remain in the EU paid off as we increased our number of MEPs from 1 to 16.

So, the question now is, what next for the Liberal Democrats?

Well, the first thing on our to do list is elect a new leader.

After two years expertly leading us in our fight for a more open, tolerant and united Britain, Sir Vince Cable has announced he is to stand down.

Whoever wins that contest, they will bring in a new style of leadership to take us forward and build on our electoral revival.

Our renewed strength in Brussels will also allow us to demonstrate what a dynamic and unashamedly pro-European delegation of British MEPs can do for the country.

Ironically one of the advantages of the outgoing Prime Minister’s refusal to compromise is the fact that, well, we haven’t actually left the EU yet.

Three years after the referendum, we still have access to all the rights and benefits that membership brings, and our 16 new MEPs will be working hard to push through the reforms we can make from within the EU, including an EU-wide ban on fracking, and protecting freedom of movement.

Back here at home, we’ll continue to stand up for an outward looking country, and for our young people and their future.

Whoever becomes our next Prime Minister, the Liberal Democrats will do everything in our power – in Parliament and out – to prevent him or her from taking us over the cliff-edge with a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

The two big parties have been lost to their extremes, and so as the only true social democratic voice left in the UK, we will welcome all those who want to see a political party that fights for what’s best for the country, and not just its own internal interests.

And in Scotland, as we look towards the Holyrood elections in 2021, we will continue to be the only pro-EU and pro-UK party.

We know that Scotland is better off staying in the UK, and for that UK to remain in the EU.

As the SNP Government continues to put the nationalist agenda before the problems in the NHS, our education and transport infrastructure which affect us every day, we will fight for the political change that will actually make a difference to people’s lives.

That’s what we will work for.

The next three years are looking much brighter.

Jardine is the Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West