Former Lib Dem MP Vince Cable says his party's plans for a second referendum are "disrespectful" and "counter-productive"

Mark Sands
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Liberal Democrat Spring Conference
Cable lost his parliamentary seat in Twickenham in the 2015 election. (Source: Getty)

Former Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable has reportedly branded his party's plans for a second Brexit vote "disrespectful" and "utterly counterproductive".

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has sought to make his party the logical choice of Europhiles everywhere since the June Brexit vote.

Farron has repeatedly pledged his party's support for EU membership, and declared at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton today that a final deal on EU membership should be put to a public vote.

Read More: May rules out a second EU vote, or an early election

However, he has been contradicted by Cable. According to the BBC, Cable said at a fringe event today: “We should never have had the referendum in the first place; but the public have voted, and I do think it’s seriously disrespectful and politically utterly counterproductive to say, ‘sorry guys, you got it wrong, let’s try again’.”

It came after Farron told Lib Dem conference delegates that the party would fight for both a second vote, and vowed to campaign in favour of EU membership.

“The terms of Brexit will have a huge impact on jobs, security and the opportunity to travel and live abroad,” Farron said.

“It cannot be right that such a momentous choice is secretly stitched up by bureaucrats on both sides of the Channel without the British people or parliament having a say.”

Read More: Is Single Market membership "highly improbable"? It depends who you ask...

It came after former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg savaged the government's hopes of retaining single market membership.

“You cannot have untrammelled access to a single market, which remember is a single market of rules, without abiding in one shape or form by those rules," Clegg said.

"That is why the find themselves up this Brexit creek, never mind that they don't have a paddle, they don't have a canoe, they don't have a map, they have absolutely no clue whatsoever."

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