DEBATE: After Vince Cable’s embarrassing claims about EU leaders, have the Liberal Democrats had it?

Vince Cable Is Announced As The New Leader of The Liberal Democrat Party
At least the Lib Dems have a distinctive position on Brexit (Source: Getty)

After Vince Cable’s embarrassing claims about EU leaders, have the Liberal Democrats had it?

John Longworth, co-chairman of Leave means Leave and former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says YES.

There have been some pretty big lies and exaggerations surrounding Brexit.

We were told that the referendum would increase unemployment by half a million, that there would be a recession, that Brexit would be bad for the regions. None of these have come to pass. Many of these and other claims were made by the Cameron government and the Remain campaign. However, when it comes to being economical with the truth, the Liberal Democrats take some beating.

Vince Cable, whom I respected, is now even scraping the barrel with false claims that foreign leaders support a second referendum.

The Lib Dems are stooping so low as to make common cause with foreign powers to undermine the democratic will of the British people and the government in its negotiations, thus making Britain worse off. Gladstone, the great advocate of liberal markets and free trade, is reeling in his grave.

The Lib Dems may not be finished as a party, but their credentials as liberal or democratic are certainly at an end.

Read more: European Union leaders give go-ahead for Brexit trade talks to begin

Mark Pack, author of 101 Ways To Win An Election and editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire, says NO.

Millions of people voted for Britain to stay in the EU and still want that outcome.

Neither the Conservatives nor Labour – led by Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong Eurosceptic who often voted with the likes of John Redwood against the EU – offer a political voice for these people.

So it’s not surprising that Liberal Democrat membership at record levels, and the party has also been steadily gaining council seats week after week (and gaining double the number of seats as Labour).

It is only dictators who say, “you had a vote once, now shut up and never have a say again”. So as the exact form of the Brexit deal is negotiated, there is a strong democratic case for giving the public, not politicians, the say on its terms. It also means the Lib Dems have a distinctive position on the most important issue of not only today, but also tomorrow, and the days after – arguing for a UK that stays in the EU.

Read more: Clock ticking: Government urged to reveal Brexit negotiating position

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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