In 2016, I thought long and hard before deciding to support the UK’s continued membership of the EU. I have always accepted it is not a perfect institution.

However, for me, the tipping point came when I looked at the major challenges this country will face over the next 50 years. Things such as climate change, pandemics and refugees. These do not recognise national boundaries. By definition, their resolution is also not in the hands of a single nation, but needs countries to work together with a common approach to achieve a common goal. I decided in 2016 that a collaborative, open Britain would be better for Bracknell, the UK, and the world, than one that was insular and only looking to itself.

You can imagine my surprise when I heard the leader of my new Party, Jo Swinson, echoing back to me those same thoughts as she closed her recent conference speech. They bear repeating: "At the next general election, voters will choose the kind of country we want to be. Insular, closed, and selfish. Or, collaborative, open and generous. A politics of fear, hate and division. Or, one of respect, hope and inclusion."

Although Brexit has become the lightning rod, the deeper (almost philosophical) question is do we want to settle for the old policies of the last 40 years, constantly looking over our shoulders at the past and wondering where it all went wrong. Or do we want to embrace a new vision, and reimagine Britain as a positive force for good, engaging with the world and encouraging it to meet the greater challenges that face humanity.

A couple of weeks ago, after I had made the switch to the Lib Dems it was suggested that I might like to fight the Wokingham seat at the next election. After all, it was pointed out, I do have three Wokingham Borough wards in my Bracknell constituency. I was doubtful. After all, it was with what I considered the best interests of Bracknell that I had initially resigned as a minister to support a more pragmatic approach on Brexit. The support I have received from its residents over the last two weeks has been heart-warming and humbling.

But then I heard Jo’s speech – and I knew what I had to do. There could be no greater challenge for the new vision, than for its arguments to be tested against one of the leading architects of the old vision that it is seeking to replace. I knew I had to take on that challenge and that I have agreed to do.

In many ways, whatever the outcome, I see it as the culmination of the path I set myself along in June 2016. In many ways, our country has shaped the world we live in – for both good and bad. However, I genuinely believe that the best of our influence on that world is yet to come.