Vince on Marr: Corbyn under “tremendous pressure” to support Lib Dems on referendum on Brexit deal

Vince was on Andrew Marr this morning. He talked about how public opinion was turning in favour of a referendum on the Brexit deal and that Jeremy Corbyn would come under “tremendous pressure” to stop colluding with the Tories and back a referendum on the Brexit deal. He made the point that most Labour MPs and Labour supporters opposed the Tories’ hard Brexit position.

He spoke about how the political upheaval in wake of Brexit presents opportunities for the Party. He highlighted how the. Lib Dems expanding  and was attracting a higher proportion of young members than Labour  and doing well in Council by-elections. We were in a good place:

I am leading a party  that is fundamentally right, united and clear on the critical issue of the day and we are winning the public argument that have a vote on the final deal.


He was also keen to show that we have a wide-ranging policy agenda, talking about his work on homelessness over Christmas and his quest to tackle inequality.

He said that we will be launching a new report on health policy tomorrow which will present a set of proposals relating to financial needs of health service. He predicted that a lot of people will find that package very attractive.

He wasn’t giving away the details but he said that it is built around the idea that we had to have a dedicated form of taxation for the health service.

Marr asked him if he was enjoying the job. He not only said he was, but he actually looked like it. He said that a year ago he was unemployed going round book festivals and planning a dancing tour and now I’m leading my party. He said he was fortunate to be in this position at one of the most important turning points in British political history and he and the Liberal Democrats had a critical role to play.

When asked if he would lead the party into the next election, he really couldn’t have been clearer. A big resounding yes.

Some party members, however, may be concerned about his comments on whether the party would campaign to rejoin the EU if we can’t stop Brexit.

Would we be the party of returning, asked Marr:

Returning to the EU once UK has left would be much more difficult than staying in, so not necesssarily. Theres’s a whole lot of additional hurdles we’d have to cross if we wanted to rejoin and we’d have to rethink the position at that stage. But as I say it’s not inevitable and there is a quite a high possibility that this whole extremely damaging process can be stopped.

I think it would be helpful if he were to say that it is unlikely that life outside the EU could be better than life inside it.

It was a strong, confident interview. If I were nitpicking, I’d say that he needed a stronger call to action. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been reading Jo Swinson’s excellent book, Equal Power, which has a comprehensive to-do list at the end of every chapter, but I just feel that people need to feel involved in this campaign. The Lib Dems are the anti-Brexit party and the way to stop it is to join us and work your backside off to change minds. We’re right, so we should be confident in calling others to action.


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

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  • David Westaby 4th Feb '18 - 12:40pm

    A very good interview with vince Cable. His strengths are his calm , informed and well thought through opinions. I do not think highly charged debate is going to come from him. It is excellent that we are seeing Jo Swinson coming into the limelight with forceful debate on other issues. We are fortunate to have a gifted group of MPs. They just need the opportunities.
    I think this is a very opportune time for all the members to get out there supporting the party with the upcoming council elections.

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb '18 - 1:12pm

    Vince (and sensible Labour MPs) has his work cut out if he thinks he can shift Jeremy C on this issue. In 2011 Jeremy Corbyn was one of a handful of Labour MPs who voted in a HoC motion for the EU Referendum ro take place along with about 100 Tory Brexiteers

    Nearly all the others carried forward their ‘position’ of being active Brexiteers to the Referendum when Jeremy conveniently disappeared on holiday.

  • Nigel Quinton 5th Feb '18 - 12:37pm

    Reading current comments about Labour’s Brexit position it is tempting to think that they could be the country’s saviours, the cavalry that ride in to rescue us from the brink. At such times I remind myself how I felt listening to the results come in in the early hours of 24 June 2016, when my overwhelming feeling was anger at Labour’s complete failure to back Remain as they could have. We mustn’t let them off the hook for the past 20 months of hell the country has been put through, and unless they do now do the right thing, for the future ruination of the UK.

  • Teresa Wilson 7th Feb '18 - 3:58pm

    I agree with the final paragraph. I campaign actively with the European Movement and a local pro-EU grassroots organisation. I would love to have the opportunity to do the same with the Lib Dems, but the opportunity is not there. Yet the polls suggest people are unclear what our stance on Brexit is. Surely we are missing an opportunity here?

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