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Sir Vince Cable says there's an appetite for altering Brexit approach

July 28, 2017 9:45 AM
In Sky news

In case not seen, please see this interview which Sir Vince Cable gave to the Sophie Ridge show on Sky on Sunday


Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said he is working with Conservative and Labour MPs to change the Government's approach to Brexit.

Sir Vince told Sky News he had been talking with members of Labour's shadow cabinet and Tory backbenchers over the way Britain was being taken out of the European Union.

Asked if he had held discussions with Labour MPs over stopping or changing Brexit, he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "Yes and Conservative MPs too ... indeed, yes, members of the shadow Cabinet and Conservatives, mainly backbenchers."

Sir Vince said Labour MPs were being "intimidated" and told to "toe the line or else".

He added: "A lot of Conservatives and perhaps even more the business people who are deeply, deeply unhappy and I suspect before long a lot of the Conservatives who see this ending in disaster are going to resurface and I want to talk to them.

"It's not a narrow party issue this, there is a very broad movement now beginning to coalesce in the centre of British politics."

Sir Vince said he thought there was an appetite for retaining elements of the EU that are "good for Britain", such as membership of the single market and customs union, both of which Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to pull Britain out of.

"I want to work with people in other parties to make sure those are safeguarded and they are not jettisoned," he said.

The centrepiece of the Lib Dems' policy on Europe is offering voters an "exit from Brexit" through another referendum once negotiations have finished, with staying in the EU an option on the ballot paper.

Sir Vince insisted such a vote would not be a re-run of the 2016 race, and public opinion will change once the "sheer complexity" and "horrors" of leaving the EU become apparent.

"If that happens people will be looking for what I call an exit from Brexit and in that context a second referendum becomes relevant."

Sir Vince added: "In the immediate future that is the objective (altering the Government's Brexit approach) but at the end of the process there is a separate issue which is are we happy with the outcome, do we want to jump over the cliff and hope for the best or do we want to go back to European Union? And that will be an issue then in maybe two years' time."

At 74, Sir Vince is the oldest leader in his party's history - and he rejected suggestions he is too old for the job.

"Age shouldn't be an issue if you have got the motivation and the energy and the stamina and you keep fit, which is what I do," he said.