Vince: Lib Dems will do well if Corbyn helps to deliver Brexit

Vince was on Sophy Ridge on Sky this morning. First on the agenda was Nissan’s reported decision to pull X-Trail production from Sunderland:

He then talked about what a blow this would be to the North East, bearing in mind that Margaret Thatcher had persuaded Nissan to come here to be at the gateway to the single market.

The Fail on Sunday is full of talk of an election on 6th June. Vince said that we would do well in an election and reminded Ridge of the poll that would see us overtake Labour and end up in the mid 20s if Labour continued on its present Brexit-enabling course.

Although he didn’t actually say that. He said we would work with people who share our values. And he specifically said that we would NOT be subsumed into any new party.

He then went on Pienaar’s Politics. He was challenged about whether a new referendum was achievable now. He said that if May’s deal is again rejected, the Government might well realise that the only way of getting it through would be to have a referendum.

He says nobody is looking forward to having a people’s vote but it is the only satisfactory way left of resolving the issue. It will give satisfaction and clarity where there is doubt and uncertainty.

And on this new party – there is a significant group in Labour disenchanted with Corbyn. They ware working with us on stopping Brexit. He reckons that people will make a move when the dust has settled on Brexit. A lot of Tories are unhappy too.

Lib Dems are leading on the People’s Vote issue, but will work with people who share our desires.

He says 6-20 Labour MPs could make the move.

Pienaar suggested that Lib Dems should join the new centrist party. Vince told him he wa getting ahead of the game and that Lib Dems could go way up in the polls if Labour enable Brexit.

Pienaar asked him why he was sticking around. He said that we need consistency and stability in the middle of a national crisis. He says that he has a People’s Vote, leading through any early general election and party reforms to get through.

Corbyn has apparently not accepted invitations to discuss a People’s Vote. He wants to deliver Brexit and that is part of the problem.

Vince says that a scenario may evolve where the Government could back a People’s Vote as the only way to get a deal through.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • David Evans 3rd Feb '19 - 12:24pm

    Sorry Vince,

    We were doing very well until so many of our MPs like you, chose to focus 100% on your ministerial posts and ignored the fact that the Lib Dems were collapsing around you. You chose to be in China in late May 2014, and left it to wither. Now, to so many, doing well means winning a council by election, not gaining another 10 MPs.

    But most importantly of all, it is not good enough to say that “a scenario may evolve where the Government could back a People’s Vote as the only way to get a deal through.” Vince, you have to be a significant part of making it happen.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Feb '19 - 12:40pm

    There is an opinion poll in the Observer today.
    The conclusion is cautious, another poll needed, but some will be tempted by the perception that the Tory lead will be sustained.
    I have not checked the bookies’ odds on an early general election.

  • I’d be a big fan of merging with displaced Blairites and becoming the official opposition, but I wonder how many Lib Dem voters and supporters actually share similar aims to them? Social Democracy and Liberalism don’t necessarily equal consensus capitalism.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Feb '19 - 12:53pm

    The Sinn Fein leader was on the Andrew Marr Show today. She is a member of the Dail. She was asked about the backstop. She did not support any risk of violence in the context of a hard border.
    Marr suggested that if Sinn Fein’s 7 MPs took their seats in the current hung parliament they could be mathematically influential. She denied this.
    She also said that Sinn Fein “have no business” in the UK parliament.
    She said that Ireland has “two parliaments”.
    Marr did not follow this up by asking why the Belfast Assembly does not meet.
    Maybe he simply ran out of time.

  • The party isn’t going anywhere until Vince steps down and hands over to one of our younger more dynamic MPs. It is time that one of the women, who were quite happy to accept a helping hand from the party in getting selected and elected, stepped up to the plate.

  • Joseph Bourke 3rd Feb '19 - 2:20pm

    Vince is a key asset to the party and remains the only national figure with public recognition we have. He aso remains the adult in the room saying “we need consistency and stability in the middle of a national crisis.”

    There are four former Libdem ministers with government experience that might credibly succeed Vince if and when the campaign for 2nd referendum is concluded and the Brexit issue resolved – Jo Swinson, Ed Davey, Norman Lamb or our very active Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake.

  • ……………..And on this new party – there is a significant group in Labour disenchanted with Corbyn. They ware working with us on stopping Brexit…………

    That is barely half the story. Vince conveniently ignores the 75 odd Labour MPs who are ‘disenchanted with Corbyn for not supporting Brexit more robustly.

    As for Vince’s concern for the workers. A great pity that, when on government, he sought to strip them of many of their hard won rights including safety regulations, compensation for wrongful dismissal and even the Working Time Directive.

  • Paul Barker 3rd Feb '19 - 3:08pm

    A new “breakaway” Party has the potential to transform British Politics in Months, rather than the Decade we would need on our own. We need them & they need us but they need to drop the idea of a Merger. An Electoral Alliance could be agreed quickly & I hope we would be open to The “Greens” joining too, outwith Scotland, I imagine.
    The sooner the better.

  • John Marriott 4th Feb '19 - 8:18am

    So, another SDP, then? Under FPTP starting up a new party is pretty tough. Just ask UKIP.

  • Doing well at a general election will largely depend upon how many constituencies have anything that can be called an effective organisation. It also depends upon what well funded other parties appear, even if, as they do, they are only transient,
    I do not believe that the electorate has changed substantially in who they would be willing to vote for. The number of people willing to put in large amounts of time certainly has, in no small part because of the decrease in the number of our councillors.

  • Jayne Mansfield 4th Feb '19 - 10:19am

    @ John Marriott,
    It will be even tougher given underlying causes of the ‘leave’ voters.

    ‘Tory Austerity and Welfare cuts like Bedroom Tax Directly Caused Brexit New Study Finds’.
    Huffington Post.

    The difference between an evidence based approach as a member of a profession, and one that of politicians is stark. The Latter chooses evidence from studies that support its already held prejudices.

    The cuts in Council funding, as you say, have been catastrophic, and especially so for some of the most vulnerable people. The claim that immigration is good, holds no weight when it is combined with a massive cut in resources, particularly when asylum seekers and others are disproportionately settled in particular areas where there is already relative deprivation.

    The politicians who are likely to form any new ‘centre’ party are the very politicians who have voted for the measures that have fed the growing discontent and rise of populism.

    Unlike Mr Farage, they come with readily accessible voting records. In this case, SDP seems like an appropriate name. The Social Destruction Party.

  • What the country needs now is a coalition of MPs with common Liberal, internationalist values. What we don’t need is members of our own party undermining our leader (once again) and calling for closer links with the toxic, Marxist, Brexit-delivering Corbynites.

  • @ Stimpson “I’d be a big fan of merging with displaced Blairites and becoming the official opposition,”

    Well, I don’t know what the ‘new’ party would be called (or even what it would stand for outside of ‘Remain’) but one thing is certain…Liberal Democrats, as a party, would cease to exist.
    We are told that there are over 50 Blairite Labour MPs looking for a home. When they move in they’ll outnumber LibDems 4-1; no prizes for guessing whose ‘home’ it will become.

  • Paul Barker 4th Feb '19 - 3:04pm

    The site Labour List – the rough Labour equivalent to this site has decided to stop taking comments. I wonder if that’s because they know about something controversial coming down the line ? A Party split or a Labour deal with the Tories to enable Brexit might be examples.

  • Peter Hirst 4th Feb '19 - 3:44pm

    It would be tempting to accept a doubling of our MPs into a new Party in order to improve our credibility though how long they would stay would need considering. Surely, they would need to move before we leave if we do or it will be too late. A few Conservatives would help also.

  • This is not a time to be insular, if a centre party or an alliance of like minds happeens, we should be in it, EVEN if we cease the purity of the name Lib Dem’s,
    We need to be bigger, more mature and more progressive than that

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