Cable: Empire 2.0 is crumbling

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has used an address to the Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference in Aviemore on Saturday 21st April to warn that the Government's Brexit deal is unravelling and call on the SNP to do the right thing and choose the national interest over the narrow interests of her party.

On Brexit, Sir Vince said:

“The Government’s Brexit deal is unravelling.  The Government’s proposals for the Irish border have been rejected out of hand.  The chaos over immigration policy shows that the registration of up to 3 million EU nationals will be a nightmare.  The Commonwealth has shown very little interest in the Government’s Commonwealth Free Trade proposals; they see it as Empire 2.0.

“Our campaign for a people’s vote on the final deal is building in strength every week.  And I am pleased to see people from across the political spectrum getting behind it.  But a notable absence is the SNP.  My party is working with the SNP to keep the UK in the Single Market.  But it is not enough for the SNP to lament the consequences of Brexit, and of leaving the Single Market. 

“In today’s political environment, Brexit is not – or doesn’t need to be – inevitable but time is running out for the SNP to play their part in stopping it. 

“The only way to “Exit from Brexit” is through a people’s vote on the deal, with an option to stay in the European Union instead.

“We are now winning big votes in the House of Lords on the EU Withdrawal Bill.  One of the great ironies of our time is that it is a fundamentally undemocratic chamber which is being left to do the hard work of safeguarding democracy.  

“If the Lords sends the Commons an amendment to enable a referendum on the final Brexit deal, SNP MPs’ votes will be crucial to making it actually happen.

“So Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP will have a decision to make.  The national interest or her party interest.  Save the United Kingdom from Brexit, or pursue her dogged agenda of seeing Scotland out of both the unions which safeguard its prosperity. 

“Scotland surely will not forgive her if she makes the wrong choice.”

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