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Lib Dems preparing for a snap election when May’s Brexit deal falls

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Sir Vince Cable
Liberal Democrat leader
Vince Cable

Jack Taylor/Getty
Images


  • Exclusive: Lib Dems tell members to prepare for another
    early general election amid growing uncertainty over
    Brexit.
  • In an email to Lib Dem activists, party authorities say
    they have made a “Flying Start Kit” to ensure they are ready to
    fight an election in the next few months.
  • Leader Sir Vince Cable has held “high-level
    conversations” with party figures about the prospect of a snap
    election, Lib Dem sources tell Business Insider.
  • Theresa May on Friday refused to say she would stay on
    as prime minister if MPs vote down her Brexit deal.

 

LONDON — The Liberal Democrats have told party activists to
prepare for a snap general election in the next few months in the
belief that Theresa May could be forced to go back to the country
when her Brexit deal is voted down by MPs. 

In an email sent to party members on Friday morning and leaked to
Business Insider, Lib Dem authorities say they have produced a
“Flying Start Kit” for members to ensure they are prepared for a
potential general election campaign.

“The Tory Government has got itself into a terrible mess, as a
party we have to prepare for every eventuality,” a senior Lib Dem
source told Business Insider.

“That means getting activists and members fighting fit for a
People’s Vote. Or if the government does collapse an early
election. It would be irresponsible for the campaigns team to
ignore it.”

Another Lib Dem source confirmed that leader Sir Vince Cable has
held “high level” discussions with party figures about making
sure the party is ready for a general election to take place in
the next few months.

Here’s an excerpt from the email:


Liberal Democrats general electionAdam Payne/Business Insider

Lib Dem sources stressed that the party remains focused on
delivering a People’s Vote — a referendum on the outcome of
Brexit negotiations — and members will take part in “national
action” campaigning across the UK this weekend.

Tom Brake, the party’s Brexit spokesperson, told Business Insider
that the party will be “be out in force right across the country
to make the case for a Peoples’ Vote, including the option to
remain in the EU.”

He added: “The people deserve a chance to escape this Brexit
mess, and Lib Dems will fight with them to get it.”

However, party authorities have also started to gather resources
for another snap election. One source close to Cable told
Business Insider that the party “has been on election footing”
since the summer and this month preparations have been stepped up
a gear after pro-Brexit MPs in the Conservative party tried to
get rid of May as their leader and widespread opposition to her
deal in the House of Commons.

The Labour party are also preparing for an election within the
next few months, with party activists piling resources into
marginal seats across the country.


Cable MayGetty

May has agreed a Brexit divorce deal with the European Union
which will be put before MPs for a parliamentary vote in early
December. The prime minister is expected to lose the vote, with
over 80 Conservative MPs, a majority of Labour MPs, DUP MPs who
prop up her government, and other opposition parties set to vote
against it.

Lib Dem authorities believe that this could be the trigger for
May resigning as Conservative leader followed by a general
election. On Friday, the prime minister repeatedly refused to say
whether she would stay on if her Brexit deal is rejected by MPs
next month, in an interview with the BBC’s
Emma Barnett
.

I’m focused on actually ensuring we do get this deal through
parliament,” she told Barnett.

Under the terms of the Fixed Parliament Act, a majority of MPs in
the House of Commons would have to vote for a general election
for one to take place.

May has repeatedly insisted that MPs must act in the “national
interest” and back her deal amid the widespread belief that the
UK could enter with a constitutional crisis if the Withdrawal
Agreement is rejected.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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