Vince Cable tells Lib Dem voters to consider backing Labour candidates

Posted On: 
8th May 2017

The Liberal Democrats have been accused of “scheming” to help Jeremy Corbyn into No 10 after Vince Cable was recorded suggesting activists should support a Labour candidate.

Former business secretary Vince Cable
Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Dr Cable, the former business secretary and Lib Dem candidate in Twickenham, said he would “find it difficult” to vote against Labour’s Rupa Huq in nearby Ealing.

In a recording handed to LBC and Sky News, Dr Cable was heard urging activists to “act in a constructive way” when considering the record of some Labour MPs.

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“I’ve always valued the good relationships I’ve had with people in other parties – particularly a lot of people on the Labour side whose views are very close to mine,” he said.  

“I’ll just give one example – there’s Rupa Huq who’s the candidate in Ealing, I think. Purely by coincidence I found myself – I think it was on Any Questions or one of those programmes – in Warwick a few months ago, and I gave her a lift home back to Ealing.

“We talked for a couple of hours, and it was very clear that on almost every issue our views were almost identical. And so I would find it difficult to vote against somebody like that, and I would hope that our people around the country are discriminating and think and act in a constructive way.”

Ms Olney, who won the Richmond Park constituency in a by-election last November, added: “Being tactical isn’t just about standing down or voting for the right candidate, it also can be about paper candidates but not campaigning...

“We know that we want Rupa to win in Ealing.”

The party’s leadership have rejected calls for a nationwide pact to stand down in certain seats to help other so-called “progressive” candidates take on the Conservatives.

But there is no Lib Dem candidate in Brighton Pavilion, where Green leader Caroline Lucas is seeking re-election to Parliament, while the Greens have reciprocated by not standing in Richmond Park or Twickenham – the seats being contested by Ms Olney and Dr Cable respectively.

A Lib Dem spokesperson told Sky News: “We are fighting for every vote to hold back the Tories and their hard Brexit agenda.

“The Liberal Democrats are the best choice for voters who want to see a progressive opposition to a Conservative government.”

The Tories have seized on the remarks to back up their mantra that Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and SNP could form a “coalition of chaos” after the election.

Conservative chairman Patrick McLoughlin said: “The threat of Jeremy Corbyn making it to Downing Street propped up by a coalition of chaos is very real – and these recordings show the Lib Dems are scheming to make it happen.

“As Cable makes clear, the result would be higher taxes for families and businesses, and attempts to frustrate Brexit at every turn. We would all pay the price.

“Only a vote for Theresa May and her team can prevent this chaos and deliver the strong and stable leadership for Brexit and beyond.”

Lord Newby, the Lib Dem leader in the House of Lords, also responded to the news, telling the BBC: "Voters everywhere are going to make up their minds what is most important to them.

"If the most important thing to them is Brexit and if they’ve got a hard Brexit Conservative and a strong moderate Labour candidate who is a strong Remainer it wouldn’t surprise me that they voted for that Labour candidate.

“It’s up to everybody to make their own mind up for the seat where they live."