Vince Cable takes major swipe at Ed Davey over Lib Dem Brexit policy

Ed Davey grilled on if Lib Dems want to rejoin EU

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable took a swipe at Sir Ed Davey over the party’s reluctance to talk about Brexit.

Sir Vince insisted the Liberal Democrats need to be vocal about their pro-EU credentials as he joked about the focus on sewage.

Pollster Professor Sir John Curtice yesterday told a fringe event at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth that the party is losing voters who would like to rejoin the EU to Labour.

But speaking at a fringe event this afternoon, Sir Vince said: “I think John Curtice is actually wrong.

“I think people are going back to the Labour Party partly because the Government’s so awful, partly because of Corbyn.

“I doubt that our position and the Labour Party position on Brexit, which I suspect very few people understand, has been a motivating factor.

“I do think we need to talk about Europe. I really don’t think it’s sensible to say because the public aren’t talking about Brexit, we mustn’t talk about it.”

Sir Vince then prompted laugher from the audience as he added: “I know I’m supposed to be talking about sewage rather than Brexit.”

He went on: “We must talk about, we must make clear we’re a European party, that we identify with the European project, that we have a route map to get to the single market and customs union and we should talk about that and be proud of it and not try to conceal it.”

His comments come after Sir Ed repeatedly refused to say whether the party wants to rejoin the EU in a BBC interview earlier.

The UK’s exit from the EU was once the party’s defining issue but it returned just 11 MPs at the last general election on a pledge to “stop” Brexit.

Since Sir Ed took over as leader in 2019 the Lib Dems have focused on other areas such as sewage being dumped into rivers.

The party has proposed a four-stage road map to “rebuild” the UK’s relationship with the EU, which would eventually aim to return to the single market.

Meanwhile, Labour has been more vocal on the issue in recent weeks, pledging to rewrite the Brexit trade deal.

A Lib Dem spokesman said: “Vince always brings an interesting perspective, but we remain focused on the issues that matter most to the public, including the NHS, cost of living and sewage.”

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