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Lib Dem Spring Conference: leader's speech

March 11, 2018 1:07 PM
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has delivered the closing speech to the party's spring conference in Southport.

In the speech, Vince sets out the reasons he is campaigning for an exit from Brexit:

Vince CableI would go so far as to say Britain is now mired in a protracted, non-violent civil war.

Allied to the poisonous rhetoric about 'traitors' and 'saboteurs', and what Theresa May calls 'citizens of nowhere'…

….we have a toxic brew which fuels the populist right.

What a disgrace that the fools' errand of Brexit…embarked on to paper over cracks in the Conservative Party has resulted in hate crime on our streets.

Our message is clear: Liberal Democrats will rebuild an open, tolerant, outward-looking Britain.

We want our country back.

He also explains how he plans to modernise the Liberal Democrats, drawing on ideas from sister parties in countries such as Canada:

I am determined that we Liberal Democrats should lead a new groundswell for political renewal.

Our sister Liberal Party in Canada, under Justin Trudeau, leapt from third to first in a 'first past the post' system every bit as unforgiving as ours. I have turned to them for advice on modernisation on how we can apply their successful model here.

The Canadian liberals engaged all their registered supporters - their voters - as well as their members in leadership elections and candidate selection. They became a new party; a movement.

Building on our own traditions, we must address how we in the Liberal Democrats can become a movement for those who are alienated by the Conservatives and Labour.

I want to see a movement fizzing with ideas… and the vehicle for a practical programme for government … …driven by the need to drive down inequality between the generations… facing up to the challenge of climate change by investing in renewable energy and green transport… and preparing our country for a future when technology be harnessed to the optimism of opportunity rather than the pessimism of job destruction.

So as a party I want us to think big. To be as radical and forward-looking with our ambitions for the party as we are with our ideas and our policies.