Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable was in Chester today addressing local activists and party members from across the region. The York born MP for Twickenham was elected unopposed as party leader following the General Election. Ballroom dancing fan Vince, 74 spoke to local media promising an energetic new leadership based upon his previous experience in government. Vince offered his views on on Brexit and how the party can increase its level of support, with candidate Elizabeth Jewkes having lost her deposit in the recent election.
How does it feel to be in Chester? Do you have a lot of support here?
We have had in the past, its dipped recently but we have an excellent candidate here and we are going to come back. What was clear from the meeting was that we have good historic routes in a lot of towns and cities in this area, Chester, Wrexham further along the North Wales coast. We didn’t have a great general election by any means but I’m optimistic we can turn that around. People are looking for a more moderate alternative to this disastrous government and the Corbynite Labour party , and we should be able to break through in some areas, but we need to build up from the bottom. Our people are optimistic we can rebuild in Chester, we used to have a strong base in local government.
What do you think the eventual outcome of Brexit will be ?
There is a possibility it may not happen, because the whole thing is so horrendously difficult and complicated. None of the Brexiteers acknowledge this or understood it. Its extraordinary that thousands of civil servants are now being recruited to deal with the administrative complexities of what’s involved. In terms of what will happen . we haven’t experienced anything yet because Brexit hasn’t happened. Its beginning with higher prices and affects on people’s living standards, but only very indirectly. I find it very hard to believe that it will be anything more than a mess. If you leave the single market and the customs union you expose a lot of British industries, Airbus is a very good example, its not clear how they will be able to function if we pull out of these things.
How do you think the 2 main parties have handled Brexit ?
They’re working hand and glove. A lot of idealistic Labour people, young people got behind Corbyn because they thought he was pro Europe and remain and he was gonna fight the Tories on it, but he hasn’t, he’s working with them. A lot of the Labour MPs are deeply unhappy about the place their party is at the moment, and I’m hoping that over the course of the Parliament, we’ll gradually begin to work together with some of these people.
How do you think being part of the Coalition has impacted upon the party?
It was something that had to happen, give the situation that we had in 2010 and I think that it was good for the country, strong and stable government to coin a phrase. We stopped the Tories doing a lot of damaging things, and we did a lot of positive things. I talked about industrial strategy, getting the banking system on its feet, promoting science. Naturally Chester university is a good example of one of the things I got involved in, making sure the Regional Growth Fund came in to support the Thornton site project. Nonetheless the whole episode did us a lot of damage and we haven’t recovered from it.
Was student fees a big factor?
It was a factor, it wasn’t massive. It’s interesting whats happened the last two weeks the Labour party have made all these promises about student debt and they have had to admit they couldn’t fund it, they’ve had to retreat. People attacked us for what we did 7 years ago, the Labour party are doing the exact same thing…
Thanks to Vince Cable and Chester Lib Dems