The Liberal Democrats could win ‘up to 100 seats’ in a general election with its anti-Brexit stance, MP Chuka Umunna has predicted.
The party’s foreign and commonwealth affairs spokesman said his party’s leader Jo Swinson is a “big wild card” and people “massively underestimate the impact that Jo will have during a general election campaign”.
Umunna, once heavily tipped for Labour leader, was speaking following his conference speech in Bournemouth.
He said: “I would hope that we get more than 40 seats at a general election… but we know from the internal polling that if we move from the position that we’re in and say there is a 1.5% to 2% swing we can get up to 100 seats and if there’s a 5% swing towards the Liberal Democrats through the course of the campaign 200 seats are in contention – but who knows what will happen?”
But the MP stressed that the party said the party would continue to reach out to more and more people in the coming weeks and months.
“We are not complacent, we are not drunk on our success, we want to continue to expand the bandwidth, draw people into the party.”
Defending the party’s stance from claims it was undemocratic and overruled the Brexit referendum result of 2016, he said the revocation policy “will be anchored in a manifesto”.
He said: “The undemocratic thing would be not to implement your manifesto commitments and we are absolutely clear that we want to stop Brexit and the way we will do that in the manifesto is that we will revoke Article 50.
“Now if you get a Liberal Democrat majority government, why should we not implement our manifesto?”
During his conference speech, Umunna turned his fire on prime minister Boris Johnson and his former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He told delegates: “The Tory right who’ve taken over that party, they like nothing more than to bang on about incarcerating more and more people who break the law but strangely they think there should be a different approach to their law breaking.”
He added: “He [Johnson] likes to think of himself as a modern Winston Churchill … he’s been busy kicking out Winston Churchill’s relatives from the Tory party.”
Umunna accused Corbyn of acting as an “apologist for a hard-right Russian government”.
He said: “You [Labour] cannot be a champion of liberalism if you are currently subject to a formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutional racism against Jewish people.
“You cannot be a champion of liberalism when your leader’s supporters think it is acceptable to abuse, vilify and deselect anyone who dares to question the leader.
“And you cannot claim to be liberal when the political editor of the BBC needs to take a bodyguard to your conference.”