Vince Cable calls for Lib Dems to drop ‘zealous Europeanism’

Vince Cable at the Rich Mix community arts club in Shoreditch, east London, ahead of announcing the

Vince Cable at the Rich Mix community arts club in Shoreditch, east London, ahead of announcing the Liberal Democrat manifesto for the European elections. Photograph: David Mirzoeff/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Former Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable has said that the party needs to drop its 'zealous Europeanism' to make gains in future election battles.

Despite the party adopting the 'Bollocks to Brexit' slogan under his leadership in the European elections, Cable said his party needed to unite support from Remainers and Brexiteers to win seats in the future.

Writing in the Guardian, the former MP said: "To adapt to the new reality, my party will have to move on from excessive zealous Europeanism - a cause that led to the unsuccessful revoke policy and has sadly now gone. The Lib Dems must be a voice for leave Carshalton - where we lost our excellent, longstanding MP Tom Brake - as much as for remain Twickenham."

Sir Vince also called for centre-left parties to work together to beat the Conservatives under the first-past-the-post, hinting to the failure of the Remain pact and tactical voting to make more gains.

"Labour and the Lib Dems are distinct political traditions with a complementary capacity to beat the Conservatives. This point is misunderstood by those who say each party betrays the other by existing at all. The answer is not a wholesale takeover of one by the other, but more accommodation between the two. If each of the parties will move a little, there is much common ground to find: around constitutional reform, the environment, civil liberties and social justice."

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He said that there also needed to be more efforts from cross-party groups to reach out to the politically homeless.

He continued: "I would hope that the spirit of cross-party groups such as Unite for Remain, More United and Compass can be mobilised around a shared programme beyond Brexit, to give hope to the politically homeless millions in the gaping middle."

Cable has previously branded the policy of revoking Article 50 if it wins the general election a "distraction".

A leadership election will take place in the coming months to replace Jo Swinson.

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