In a recent interview, current Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has hinted at the idea of his party potentially changing its name to attract centrist Conservative and Labour MPs who are alienated by the seemingly pro-Brexit stance of the former and the hard left stance of the latter.
While against the idea himself, Cable stated that he was in talks with eighteen MPs (six of which are Conservatives and the other twelve Labour) to develop such a party, all the while stating that in case the ‘tectonic plates move’, the Liberal Democrats have ‘good relationships’ with the other MPs.
He cited French President and banker Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party En Marche as an inspiration, albeit it shall not share the same title, with Cable acknowledging that 95% of the British public ‘do not speak French’. En Marche won the most seats in the 2017 French legislative elections, all the while Macron won the French Presidency in the presidential election in the same year, in an intense campaign against National Front leader Marine Le Pen.
This comes after Cable planned to also change the party’s rules to allow a non-MP to lead the party (as he himself isn’t planning to lead the party come the 2022 election in Britain) and allow non-members to vote on motions at the party’s conference next week.
He also suggested that the new name would be something like the New Liberal Democrats, highlighting that the party still retained its values of being liberal and socially democratic too.
This isn’t new for the party. Indeed, the party’s modern form as the Liberal Democrats was originally a merger between the long established Liberal Party and the then recently former Social Democratic Party, of which was a split of the Labour Party after many in the party (mainly the ‘Gang Of Four’ of Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams) felt it went too far to the left under their then leader Michael Foot. At the 1983 election, the Liberals and the Social Democratic Party formed an electoral alliance (of which some argue caused the left wing’s vote to become split, leading then Conservative Party Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to win a landslide victory), of which then begot the Liberal Democrats in 1988.
What the party’s stance on Brexit is at the moment is unclear, and of grave concern indeed.
Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects the views of the author, and not necessarily those of MBGA News.
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