Sir Vince Cable calls for 'exit from Brexit' as he becomes leader of Liberal Democrats

Posted On: 
20th July 2017

Sir Vince Cable has called for an "exit from Brexit" as he was confirmed as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Vince Cable became leader of the Liberal Democrats this afternoon.
PA Images

He was confirmed in the post at 4pm after the deadline for anyone else to challenge him for the job passed.

And he immediately confirmed that under his leadership, the Lib Dems will offer voters the chance to avoid Brexit by promising a second EU referendum - despite the fact that he had previously dismissed such a move.

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Sir Vince said: "I think in practice we face the much more disastrous outcome of crashing out of the European Union, and what we now need is an exit from Brexit.

"And the exit from Brexit comes as a result of the policy that we have developed, which is that we must consult the British public at the end of the process to put them the choice - do you wish to accept jumping off a cliff and hoping there is a tree to catch you, or do we look to stay within the European Union?"

The leadership contest was triggered after Tim Farron’s surprise post-election resignation, in which he said he could not reconcile his Christian beliefs with leading the party.

He had come under repeated scrutiny during the general election campaign over his views on abortion and homosexuality.

At 74 years old, Sir Vince is the oldest major party leader in Westminster, and ten years older than Sir Menzies Campbell was when he took the reins back in 2007.

His deputy is Jo Swinson, who was re-elected as an MP at the general election and is tipped by many as a future Lib Dem leader.

Asked how long he planned to stay in the job, Sir Vince said: "I will serve for as long as I need to. I'm not here for the short-term, I'm not here as a caretaker. We have an excellent team and I will serve for as long as I need to."