“Cross party working has become increasingly necessary” – Vince Cable

Another day, another newspaper column from Vince Cable. This time it is for the New European on how the Liberal Democrats can successfully lead the fight for Britain’s role in Europe:

Cross party working has become increasingly necessary as the Brexit process goes on. The challenge for centrists is to help free sensible backbenchers from the extreme views of their respective front benches. To empower like-minded colleagues to back away from a destructive process and do what is best for the British people.

Had Theresa May got the majority she was hoping for, this may have been a purely academic exercise, but a minority government gives cross party working the opportunity to change the course of Brexit…

MPs from across the spectrum have a huge amount of common ground. Be it a commitment to remaining in a market which receives 44% of our exports or preventing the weakening of important environmental regulations, or ensuring EU citizens are given unilateral rights, those of us on the centre ground must resist the temptation to be tribal.

As the newly installed leader of the Liberal Democrats, I’m determined to help create an environment in parliament which allows for this to happen. That does not mean everybody agreeing on everything. The Liberal Democrats are clear that we do not believe that the UK can get a deal better than the one we have as a member of the EU. For this reason, we have long called for a referendum on the final deal, so that people, not politicians, can decide whether the negotiation is successful.

While I think that over time more politicians from across the spectrum will come to support this position, I do not expect them to immediately come around to our way of thinking. Doing so is certainly not a prerequisite for working together on the aspects of Brexit that we already agree on.

The question of cross-party working was one I explored in a survey of Lib Dem party members earlier this year, finding widespread support for some form of cooperation:

Views of Lib Dem members on cross-party cooperation over Brexit

That was in March, before the general election. Have views changed since? I’ll report back on that in the next Lib Dem Newswire as I’m currently running the same questions again in a new survey:

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