Sir Vince Cable has said that Jeremy Corbyn is “driving people to despair” by “sitting on the fence” over Brexit.
The Liberal Democrat leader joined Julia Hartley-Brewer on the talkRADIO breakfast show and made the comments after the news that Labour MPs Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger, along with Conservative MP and Remainer Sarah Wollaston, said they were ditching plans to put an amendment forward that would call for a vote on whether to hold a second referendum.
They shelved their plans “because the Labour leadership and frontbench won't back a People's Vote”, according to the Telegraph.
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“[Mr Corbyn] is certainly an important player, and his ability to sit on the fence on a major national issue is driving a lot of people to despair,” said Sir Vince.
“But I think most of us are assuming that he is what he’s always been, that he is a Brexit supporter and believes you can’t have a socialist Britain in a common market, and he’ll stick to it.
“I’ve always taken the view that if we come to the point that I want us to, which is to go back to the people and seek a final verdict from them, it’s got to come from the government.”
On Thursday, Mr Corbyn said he did not want to “re-run” the referendum.
While the Labour plans have been scrapped, Sir Vince said the Liberal Democrats want to “keep the option alive” of pushing for a second vote.
On Thursday, Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake told talkRADIO that he planned to tack an amendment to Labour’s motion calling for Remain to be an option if a second referendum was to be held, but his plans are unclear now the Labour amendment is off the table.
But Sir Vince said it could be tactical posturing.
“I don’t think they’ve given up on it, I think it’s a question of timing,” he said.
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“At the end of all of this, the government itself might decide that’s [a second referendum] the way to resolve the issue, but what they’re saying is the priority in the short term is to head off this no deal.
“We believe there are quite a lot of members of the Cabinet who want to concentrate on Tuesday and getting it agreed.
“The members of the public are probably completely baffled by all this endless tactical manoeuvring amongst MPs, and I often don’t quite follow what’s going on.
“I think that’s what lies behind it, the priority is stopping no deal and seeing what can happen once we do that.”
On Tuesday, January 29, MPs will vote on an amended version of the Brexit deal.
Theresa May’s initial deal was voted down by a historic majority of 230.