Sat, 20 April 2024

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The House Live All
By Bishop of Leeds
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Lib Dem Vince Cable WILL promise referendum on final Brexit deal despite previous criticism

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Sir Vince Cable will promise a referendum on the final Brexit deal after being crowned Liberal Democrat leader despite having blasted the pledge as “disrespectful” last year.

The former business secretary - who is set to take over from Tim Farron when nominations close today with no other contestants expected to declare - made the U-turn in an interview with The Sun.

He said: “At the end of the process I want the public offered a choice – do we go ahead or do we stay in the EU.”

But in September last year Sir Vince told a fringe event at the Lib Dem conference the party’s position “raises a lot of fundamental problems” and was not a “panacea to anything”.

He said it was “disrespectful” to voters and “politically counter-productive” to call for a second vote, and he added: "I don't think it should be the issue we're leading on.”

Last night the 74-year-old explained: “We’re not re-doing the last one - and in that I think people misunderstood it.

“We’re not harking to the past, we’ve already had it, the people have voted and we’re dealing with the consequences.

“When we get to the end of the negotiations and we see what is on offer we’ve got to offer the public the choice of whether they accept this arrangement - good or bad - or do we go back to where we were - going back to staying in the European Union.

“If the deal is so bad or non-existent, we’ve got to have that ambition.”

Nominations for the Lib Dem leadership contest close at 4pm today. It was triggered when Mr Farron quit in the wake of the general election - at which the party made little progress.

But he revealed this month he had decided to quit just two weeks into the campaign after finding it "impossible" to reconcile his deeply-help Christian beliefs with being the leader of a political party.

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