Brexit could see the Liberal Democrats win a general election, according to former leader Sir Vince Cable.
The Twickenham MP was speaking after his successor Jo Swinson declared she stood before party members as a potential future prime minister.
The Liberal Democrats achieved a dramatic revival in May’s European elections, coming second to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
Sir Vince said: “Becoming prime minster was always a possibility during my time as leader, but it is even more likely now.”
“It’s good to go out on a high.
“I’ve played my part now but I’m willing to help the party in any way they want me to.”
Sir Vince MP stepped down from leading his party on July 22 after its best national electoral performance since the 2010 general election, gaining 15 seats in the European Parliament.
The former business secretary said the Lib Dems were reaping the rewards of a realignment of British politics with MPs and voters put off by a Boris Johnson government and a “weak” Labour opposition.
He claimed: “MPs from both parties are going to start flocking to the Lib Dems.”
The government led by Mr Johnson will not last long, according to Sir Vince, because he faces a wafer-thin parliamentary majority as well as scores of MPs hostile to his pro-leave position.
Sir Vince, pictured above, also suggested Mr Johnson’s popularity among the general public was exaggerated and the former foreign secretary would struggle to win a general election.
However, he criticised the Labour party for being an ineffective opposition at this critical period in British politics.
He said: “The one thing that Boris Johnson has going for him is Jeremy Corbyn.”
With the Johnson government determined to deliver Brexit ‘do or die’ and Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Vince believes the stage is set for a Lib Dem revival which could see them win a general election.
Public opinion has shifted since the 2016 referendum, he said, and predicted a second referendum would see a major victory for the remain side.
Asked whether he thought a second referendum would be a divisive exercise, Sir Vince said it was the best option available to Britain.
“Brexit was always going to make people unhappy,” he said.
“Remainers will be upset if we leave and Leavers will be if we don’t – but now is about what’s best for the country.
“The whole Brexit debate was never about what’s best for the country but rather to do with an insipid internal conservative party argument.
“Johnson was the victor in a Conservative Party civil war.”
Sir Vince suggested the damage caused by Brexit would not be healed by a referendum or general election.
“Brexit has poisoned the public debate and it will take a long time for us to get over it,” he said.
- 10000Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn both said Theresa May was right to resign today. Vince Cable is MP for Twickenham and served as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government from 2010-2015. He was…
- 10000Sir Vince Cable joined in an anti-Brexit protest on Saturday, speaking to the crowd before hundreds marched to Westminster. The Liberal Democrat leader and Twickenham MP was joined by other south west London MPs, including Sir Ed Davey and Tom Brake, among the many speakers addressing the crowd in Parliament…