WATCH: Vince Cable mocked as he fluffs controversial 'erotic spasm' joke
Sir Vince Cable was left humiliated today after he made a mess of a controversial sex joke in his keynote speech to the Lib Dem conference.
Journalists had been briefed in advance that the party leader would describe Brexit as an "erotic spasm" for eurosceptics.
But in a bizarre gaffe, he fluffed his big moment and said "exotic spresm" instead.
His predecessor as Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker were among those to mock him online.
Sir Vince was set to say: "For the ‘True Believers’ – the fundamentalists – the costs of Brexit have always been irrelevant.
"Years of economic pain justified by the erotic spasm of leaving the European Union. Economic pain felt – of course – not by them but by those least able to afford it."
Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson questioned the use of the sexal imagery while some activists were said to have been left furious at the immature humour.
But when he came to the line in his keynote address, Sir Vince in fact said: “Years of economic pain justified by the exotic spresm of leaving the European Union.”
Mr Farron swiftly tweeted: “An *exotic* spasm. Is that an anti climax?? (Sorry.)”
Gary Lineker said: “So excited for tonight’s game between Liverpool & PSG, I might be in danger of having an exotic spresm.”
A spokesman for Sir Vince insisted the party leader did not get cold feet on using the controversial expression at the last minute.
“He just misspoke - it happens to everyone,” the spokesman said. On the intervention by Mr Lineker, he added: “You can’t buy that coverage.”
Ms Swinson, who has been tipped as a possible future leader of the party, had said the “erotic spasm” phrase was “not the words I would personally choose”.
Meanwhile, the Lib Dem Voice website reported that at least one member was so outraged at the plans to say “erotic spasm” they boycotted the speech.
Elsewhere in the speech, Sir Vince said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn must quit if he refuses to back a second Brexit referendum.