Former Tory MP Sam Gyimah says his new party will still be campaigning for a second referendum – despite its plans to make cancelling Brexit its main policy on Europe.
The East Surrey MP was unveiled last night as the latest politician to switch to the Liberal Democrats.
Members of the anti-Brexit party are expected to back a move during their conference in Bournemouth to write the revoking of Article 50 into its manifesto for the next election.
But the former Conservative minister said the Lib Dem policy would only come into play if it won a general election outright.
With the Lib Dems polling anywhere between 16 and 20%, the party could be a kingmaker in any future coalition rather than the largest party in its own right.
Speaking on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday from the party conference, Gyimah said: “The position is, if the Liberal Democrats were to win a general election their policy would be to revoke Article 50.
“Revocation would be on condition that the British public have overwhelming voted for a Lib Dem government.
“If you vote for a government, you would say they should implement their policy and that is what they would be doing.
“The party is still supporting a People’s Vote as a way to break the Brexit deadlock. If you want to resolve Brexit, the best way is to have a People’s Vote now that we all know what is negotiable.”
The former aide to David Cameron said there was “every chance” he could fight his current seat of East Surrey at the next election.
Gyimah secured a majority of almost 24,000 votes for the Tory Party at the snap election under Theresa May’s leadership two years ago.
“Since 2017, public opinion has shifted since then,” he said. “But there will be an election, as we all know, very soon and I will decide what I will do then.
“A lot has happened in a short space of time and those discussions are yet to come.”
For any MP to defect to the Lib Dems, the local constituency parties must first agree, meaning Gyimah is being backed by Liberal Democrats in East Surrey.