Vince Cable says Lib Dems in Barking and Dagenham must reach out to EU voters
PUBLISHED: 12:52 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:59 06 March 2018
Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has criticsed “ridiculous one-party state” councils as he rallied the party’s local branch ahead of the May elections.
Mr Cable told the Post it is important Lib Dem councillors are elected in opposition so they can properly scrutinise the work of the council.
“If we can get odd councillors elected here and there, we can make a real impact,” he told Lib Dem activists from Newham and Barking and Dagenham at a dinner at a hotel by the ExCel on Monday.
People are likely to vote on “bigger issues”, particularly Brexit, in the local elections, Mr Cable added.
He renewed his appeal for the party to seek out EU voters, who he says can vote in local but not national elections.
“We are making a big pitch in this election to European voters,” Mr Cable said.
“Their fate is being decided for them and they don’t have any choice in it - but they do in local elections.”
He added: “There are 400,000 [EU citizens] in London.
“You would have about 10,000 in your area, I would guess.
“A lot of them are very angry. They are remain and they need to be told that we are the only remain party and we are the only people that believe it can be stopped.”
“If you can engage with them... there is an opportunity to get our bigger approach communicated through a local election,” he said.
The Lib Dems will have candidates standing in a number of wards across both boroughs, he confirmed.
Lib Dem peer Mike German, who also came to show his support, said he thought it was important the party engaged EU voters.
“There is obviously a Brexit fight that is going on everywhere,” he said.
The lack of opposition on councils is a problem, he added, and called for proportional representation to be introduced into local democracy.
“If you want to see real challenges going on inside the borough then you need to have a proper democracy and that means having something different to just Labour everywhere,” he said.
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