As Vince Cable made his first conference speech as party leader, he pledged to reverse Brexit and put the Liberal Democrats “back to government.”
The former Lib Dem Business Secretary asserted that his party was now “the government of the future” Speaking in Bournemouth. Aides compared him to Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Macron of France.
“Our party is not just a Coalition partner of the past, we are the government of the future,” said Cable to party delegates in Bournemouth.
Cable informed delegates that he is presently the only “credible potential Prime Minister” and urged the delegates to “join me on the journey as we, together, take the Liberal Democrats back to Government.”
However, he admitted that the party still had a long way to go before they return to be significant to the public.
“For many voters, we still have to scrub ourselves hard to get rid of the smell of clearing up other people’s mess,” said Cable.
An MP’s spokesperson reminded journalists that “nobody thought Trudeau and Macron would end up in power” when asked regarding how sincere Cable’s pitch to become prime minister was, given the current weak ratings of the party in the polls.
‘An exit from Brexit’
Cable maintained that Brexit could be stopped under his leadership, declaring that the Lib Dems were the sole party that could deliver an “exit from Brexit.”
He added that the party would grant voters a referendum on either accepting the final deal on Brexit or staying inside the European Union.
“This is not a call for a re-run,” insisted Cable.
“This is not a call for a second referendum on Brexit. This is a call for a first referendum on the facts.”
He implied that many voters were misinformed regarding the European Union.
“I am already getting a colourful correspondence from people of my own generation claiming that I have betrayed them,” said Cable.
“That I have given up too easily on reinventing the British Empire and on the dream of Britain without foreigners.
“I am still struggling, actually, to think of an answer to the woman who challenged me, in all seriousness, to explain how her Wiltshire village would cope with the arrival of 60 million Turks.”
The government’s “infantile” approach to Brexit was mocked by Cable. He compared the government’s senior members to children fighting over toys.
Cable stated: “I have to say it is a pity that the Brexit landing is being managed by people who would struggle to get their heads around a toddlers’ Lego set.”
Cable also ridiculed those who disagree with a second referendum as “being frightened of the people…and the facts,” adding that these people “now believe in the slogan of dictators everywhere: ‘one person, one vote, once!’.”