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Vince Cable says he is talking to Shadow Cabinet members about Brexit fightback

2 min read

Vince Cable has revealed he is co-ordinating with members of the Shadow Cabinet and Conservative backbenchers about pushing back against the Labour and Government positions on Brexit. 

The Liberal Democrat leader wants the final terms of the UK’s Brexit negotiation with the European Union to be put to another national referendum.

While few on the Labour benches have come out in favour of another plebiscite, 49 MPs defied the whip and backed an amendment calling for the UK to remain part of the single market.

Dr Cable, who became his party’s leader last week after nobody else stood as a candidate, said more Labour MPs were being “intimidated” to prevent them from speaking out against Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May’s stance that the UK should leave the single market.

Asked on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday show whether he was discussing Brexit with other parties, he said: “Indeed, yes, members of the Shadow Cabinet. And Conservatives – mainly backbenchers because I’ve only just come back into Parliament.

“I think a lot of them are very, very unhappy. They’re not quite sure what to do about it. I think 50 Labour MPs rebelled a couple of weeks ago – that was quite brave of them, but I think they’re going to have to stick at that – and a lot more are in the same position. They are being intimidated. They are being told to toe the line or else.

“There are a lot of Conservatives and, perhaps even more, there are businesspeople who are deeply, deeply unhappy. And I suspect that before long a lot of the Conservatives will 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.”

His comments come after Mr Corbyn reaffirmed his commitment to taking the UK out of the single market, saying it was “inextricably linked” with being part of the European Union.

But that stance was immediately disputed by Chuka Umunna, a leading Labour advocate of remaining in the single market, who pointed out that a number of countries were part of the market but not the EU. 

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