Brexit: Sir Vince Cable could make it Lib Dem policy to revoke Article 50 | Politics News
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said changing his party’s policy from demanding a second referendum to outright revocation of Article 50 is “tempting” and could happen by the autumn.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News during a campaign visit to Gibraltar, Sir Vince said he believed a move to withdraw the UK’s formal request to leave the bloc could be necessary unless steps to instigate a fresh vote were under way before 31 October.
He said: “If we get through to October and there hasn’t been any agreement in parliament – and we haven’t had a vote on the referendum, then we may be faced with that situation.
“We may be faced with a cliff-edge where we are back again to the risk of crashing out or revoking [Article 50], and we might have to do it.”
But pressed on whether he would be able to make further headway in the European parliamentary elections with an immediate demand for “revoke”, he said it was not yet the right moment.
“It’s tempting, but I think as long as there is time to have a referendum, and I think there is, the only way of resolving this issue in a way that brings the country together, is to have a vote on it,” he said.
“We got into this through a referendum and I think it’s the only way we’re going to get out of it.”
A poll in today’s Times newspaper showed the Lib Dems winning a greater share of the vote than Labour ahead of the upcoming European parliamentary elections.
Sir Vince said he believed that was a “realistic objective”, and claimed it was down to the “clarity” of his party’s opposition to Brexit.
But asked whether the surge in support for the Brexit Party made him question whether remain could win a second vote, he argued his own party was experiencing a surge too.
“We’re seeing a massive surge in support for the Liberal Democrats and the cause of remain, I mean the country’s polarised, there’s no way of getting away from that, that’s why it’s so difficult to solve it,” he said.
The visit was part of the campaign to win seats for his party in the South West region, in which Gibraltar is included.
After being given a guided tour of the frontier with Spain by the deputy chief minister of Gibraltar, Sir Vince said there was no way to fully mitigate the impact of Brexit, even with a set of negotiated agreements between the UK and Spain being in place.
He said: “It depends on keeping the frontier open, that’s a European principle, as long as we’re in Europe we can continue to fight for that, but once we’re out Gibraltar’s pretty much on its own.”
Sir Vince will step down following the upcoming European parliamentary vote, with his successor expected to take over as early as July.