Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has used a letter in The Times to set out the details of what his party would ask from Labour in order to go into coalition after next year’s General Election, amid accusations from Rishi Sunak that Sir Keir is “busily plotting coalitions”. Sir Vince, a senior member of the 2010 Coalition Government with the Conservatives, set out his party’s history of supporting the Labour Party and its “many good measures” in Government under Tony Blair.
He says it is “unlikely” that Labour will win a 1997-style landslide unless there is an SNP collapse, and it looks like “Labour will fall short”.
Sir Vince threatens that Labour refusing a coalition, instead going it alone, would only guarantee “short-term survival”, which would be inconsistent with the two parties’ desires to transform the country.
For the first time, Sir Vince details areas the two parties could work together on in Government, including a “green” transformation, electoral reform, “radical” decentralisation of powers from Whitehall.
READ MORE: Tories warn of Lib Dems’ Brexit price for deal with Keir Starmer
Most egregiously, the grandee reveals a potential plot by the pro-EU parties that would get them “rebuilding links with the EU” after years of trying to prevent Brexit.
Sir Vince adds the Lib Dems would help Labour go “further and faster” on this mission to unpick parts of Brexit.
The letter could cause a major headache for Sir Keir, who on Tuesday refused seven times to rule out a deal with the Liberal Democrats if Labour finds themselves short of a majority.
Sir Keir told Sky News that he’s “going for an outright majority”, and said he’s “not answering hypotheticals”.
By contrast, however, he did emphatically rule out a coalition with the SNP, breaking his rule about not answering hypotheticals.
Yesterday, Sir Vince revealed that “serious, but deniable, conversations” between the Lib Dems and Labour “will be taking place over the next year”.
He added that the number one thing the Lib Dems must secure is replacing Britain’s First Past The Post voting system with a more proportional way of choosing MPs, a move that could lock the Tories out of ever getting a majority again.
Last night senior Tories told the Express that the Lib Dems would seek to overturn Brexit if they were invited into Government by Sir Keir Starmer.
Former Cabinet Minister Simon Clarke said: “I am in no doubt that in the event of a hung parliament they would seek to overturn Brexit as the price of a coalition with Labour – a deal which many Labour MPs would be quietly delighted to do.”
“We should all be in no doubt that such a coalition would overturn everything the British people voted for in 2019, and betray the vote of the left-behind communities of this country that the Liberal Democrats so despise.”
Tory MP Ben Bradley added: “The Lib Dems being in Government absolutely would put Brexit outcomes at risk.”
Tory Deputy Chairman Lee Anderson said: “If Sir Keir gets his hands on the keys to No10 he would drag the UK back into the EU.”
A Lib Dem spokesman told The Sun: “Vince doesn’t speak for the party. We hope he continues to enjoy his retirement.”