Vince: Brexit has no good options

Vince Cable has been on Pienaar’s Politics on Radio 5 Live this morning. He told Pienaar and journalists Paul Waugh and Kate McCann there there were no good outcomes to Brexit.

There are no good options now. We are either going to get a very poor deal or none at all.

He added that the Single market was originally a British project and walking away imposes very major economic costs.

Those costs aren’t being felt yet as business is “sitting on its hands” waiting to see what emerges from the negotiations:

We haven’t got to decision point yet. All the Government has done is got through the first stage of agreeing to have negotiations and what happens then will determine whether there will be large scale disinvestment from the UK.

He confirmed that, when the Bill goes to the Lords, Lib Dem peers will be working with dissident Tory and Labour peers to “improve” the legislation, particularly by adding in a commitment to remain in the single market and customs union.

By the time the Bill comes back to the Commons, those MPs who favour the single market may well be prepared to vote for it.

More and more people were becoming disillusioned with Brexit, he added. He reminded everyone, as you would expect, that we would be pushing for an exit from Brexit referendum, emphasising that it isn’t a second referendum, but the chance for the public to have the final say on the deal. 

He was asked about prospects after the next election and in particular about being in coalition with Corbyn’s Labour. There was “no chance” of that.

He said that we weren’t proposing to go into coalition at the moment although he wouldn’t rule it out forever. He said that if we held the balance of power we would be a constructive opposition working issue by issue.

The economic circumstances in 2010 which propelled us into coalition were unique, he said.


Who does he think he’ll be fighting against as Tory party leader?

It could be Theresa May, he replied before damning her with faint praise.  “She’s not making a great job of negotiations but it’s not obvious that anyone could do any better.”

He has “no idea” where she stands on economics because she was obsessed with immigration as Home Secretary. He doesn’t know whether she favours the single market option or a more distant relationship with the EU.

Kate McCann brought up the issue of sexual harassment and he said that he was satisfied that we were putting in place strict enough procedures so that allegations would be dealt with robustly.






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  • *eyes last paragraph*

    Well, I’m really glad Vince is satisfied about that. That’s very reassuring.

  • Jennie 17th Dec ’17 – 11:54am….*eyes last paragraph*…Well, I’m really glad Vince is satisfied about that. That’s very reassuring………………

    Yes! It’s right up there with, “Lessons have been learned”

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 17th Dec '17 - 12:51pm

    @Jennie: I assumed he was referring to the upcoming MacDonald Review and have slightly changed the wording to reflect that because it was a bit vague.

  • Welcome clarity from Vince in saying he wouldn’t rule it out[coalition] forever. He said that if we held the balance of power we would be a constructive opposition working issue by issue.

    With a minority government held up by the DUP and the Irish border crucial to the outcome of Brexit negotiations, it is sensible not to rule out any future arrangements.

    It may not be clear where Theresa May stands on economics, but we have a fair idea of Phil Hammond’s stance on the single market option.

  • Alex Macfie 17th Dec '17 - 2:41pm

    I don’t think the Lib Dems should countenance any coalition or even C&S arrangement with either of the two main parties under their present leaderships. Obviously if either or both of them move to the centre ground, we would have more of a basis for negotiations.
    The Tories being held to ransom by the DUP is, frankly, their problem. Theresa May called an unnecessary election and lost her majority, and now she and her party are paying the price for that monumental error. Under no circumstances should we even be thinking of bailing the Tories out of their mess by voting with them for things that we would not normally support.

  • I would never trust the opinion of the fella who made such a mess of the sale of Royal Mail.

  • Leavers wanted to ‘take back parliamentary control’..

    Last week, when parliament took a leap in that direction, leavers were unhappy..

    When a ‘deal’ is on the table I don’t want another referendum; I want parliament to decide…

  • Peter Hirst 18th Dec '17 - 3:14pm

    If anything good is going to come out of Brexit, it is that politicians understand what the leave vote is pointing towards. It was a sort of reality check. Politics is the art of the possible and it was not possible to persuade a majority that we are moving in the right direction. Globalisation is not a all boats rise on the tide situation and there are winners and losers. It is partly a values issue and some don’t value the concept of homogenisation and diluting of cultures. They value our distinctiveness and want to retain it. They see globalisation as a threat to that. Let’s respect that.

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