Cable elected leader of anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats
Today in New Delhi, India
Feb 19, 2019-Tuesday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Cable elected leader of anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats

Veteran politician Vince Cable, who is strongly opposed to Brexit, has been elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, seen as the third pole in British politics.

world Updated: Jul 21, 2017 22:54 IST
Liberal Democrats,Vince Cable,Brexit
File photo of Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable appearing on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show in London on July 9, 2017.(Reuters)

Vince Cable, who has family links in Goa and worked closely on Indian issues as business secretary during 2010-15, has been elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, the only mainstream United Kingdom party opposed to Brexit.

The third pole in British politics after Labour and Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats were in coalition with the Tories during the David Cameron government (2010-15). At 74, Cable insists he has the energy and experience to lead the party into the next election.

The MP from Twickenham, Cable was the only candidate on the ballot paper when nominations closed for the party leader on Thursday evening. He succeeded Tim Farron, who resigned after the June 8 general election.

The veteran politician believes Brexit will never happen and hopes the party’s call for a second referendum on the issue will happen. According to him, the Conservative and Labour parties had been taken over by ideologues and British politics had lost its “basic common sense”.

Cable has been critical of the Theresa May government’s enthusiasm to forge a free trade agreement with India after Brexit.

He told Hindustan Times: “Her ministers seem not to have taken on board that the attempted EU-India agreement foundered not because of the rest of the EU but, in substantial part, because Britain rejected it, when May was the home secretary.

“Attempts to open the UK to more Indian IT specialists and other professionals (the so-called Mode 4) foundered on her objections. The main irritant in UK-India relations is visas. In the absence of creative ideas on freeing up immigration and visiting rights from India, ministers will continue to get a flea in their ear in Delhi. I don’t think (the free trade pact) will happen,” he said.

Cable warned he feared the UK was "heading for a disastrous outcome" over Brexit, headed by an allegedly dysfunctional and disunited government. According to him, the Conservative and Labour parties are conspiring to negotiate a ‘hard Brexit’, but he is willing to work with MPs from other parties to thwart this.

Dadabhai Naoroji, the first non-white MP elected to the House of Commons in 1892, was elected under the Liberal Party, the previous incarnation of the Liberal Democrats.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 22:54 IST