Lib Dems would be ‘very reluctant’ to enter coalition with Labour, says Sir Vince Cable

The former Lib Dem leader said the party would be ‘heavily outnumbered’ in such an arrangement

The Liberal Democrats would be “very reluctant” to enter into a coalition with Labour after the next election, Sir Vince Cable has claimed.

The former Lib Dem leader said this was partly because of the party’s past experience, and partly because it would be “heavily outnumbered” in such an arrangement.

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He argued the national situation was “less urgent” than when the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition was formed in 2010.

Sir Vince Cable. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireSir Vince Cable. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Sir Vince Cable. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Sir Vince, who led the Lib Dems from 2017 to 2019, made the comments during an on-stage interview for Iain Dale’s All Talk show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Both Sir Ed Davey, the current leader of the Lib Dems, and Sir Keir Starmer, the UK Labour leader, have previously refused to rule out a possible coalition.

Sir Vince was asked if he could foresee such an arrangement happening. He said: “Not likely. I think we may well get a hung parliament after the next election.

"I think the current Labour leads are astronomic and very unreal, so we may well get that situation. But I think – I can only speak for the Lib Dems, and I can’t even speak for them, I’m not the leader – I think they would be very reluctant to get involved in a close coalition-type arrangement.”

He added: "I think they would be very reluctant to do it, but nonetheless open to being constructive and helping a new government to run effectively.”

Put to him that it could be in the national interest, Sir Vince said: “Well, that was the issue we faced in 2010. I think the concept of a national duty was a bit more obvious then. I mean, the banking system had collapsed. Britain was in a terribly vulnerable position.”

He said the situation was “less urgent” now, adding: “I think one of the things we did learn was however you play it, you’re heavily outnumbered. In the coalition we were outnumbered six to one, I think. Six to one, seven to one. It would be much more with a Labour majority of 300-plus seats.”

The coalition years, between 2010 and 2015, are widely seen to have damaged the Lib Dems.



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