Vince Cable calls for 'exit from Brexit' as he becomes Liberal Democrat leader
The new Lib Dem leader said he would offer voters a second referendum on Brexit
Sir Vince Cable MP - Image credit: PA Images
Sir Vince Cable has called for an "exit from Brexit" as he was confirmed as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.
He was confirmed in the post at 4pm yesterday, after the deadline for anyone else to challenge him for the job passed.
He immediately announced 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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Cable 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, Cable 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.
East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson, who was re-elected at the general election, the party’s deputy leader and is tipped by many as a future Lib Dem leader.
Asked how long he planned to stay in the job, Cable 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."
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With one year to go until Britain leaves the EU and no sign of a workable plan at either Holyrood or Westminster, what is to be done about Brexit?