Vince Cable could stand down as Lib Dem leader next year">
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The Vince Cable story
Sir Vince Cable will stand down as Lib Dem leader "once Brexit is resolved or stopped"- and wants non-party members to vote for his replacement.In a speech, Sir Vince set out plans to transform the party into a "movement for moderates".Party sources say he wants to see this delivered while he is still leader and wants to stay in his job for crucial Brexit developments.He also wants to continue campaigning for a second EU referendum."He has a set of objectives rather than a timeline," a senior Lib Dem source said.
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The Lib Dems have 12 MPs - down from the 57 they had in 2010. The party has struggled electorally since 2010, when it formed a coalition government with the Conservatives and remains in single figures in the opinion polls.Sir Vince has predicted a realignment of British politics, as Labour and the Conservatives split over Brexit and it is thought he wants to ensure the Lib Dems, who are campaigning for a second EU referendum, are well placed to work with any new "centre ground" groups.On the subject of centrist MPs from all parties working together, he added that "history would not forgive anybody whose vanity and self-importance" caused them to "turn away the hand of friendship".
'New class of supporters'
The MP for Twickenham urged the party to back plans for a "supporters' scheme" aimed at giving 200,000 online supporters more of a say in the party's direction.But any changes would have to be approved by party members and will be discussed at their conference in Brighton later this month.Sir Vince took over as leader in July 2017 without a contest following the resignation of Tim Farron.The former business secretary urged the Lib Dems to introduce a supporters' scheme - to mobilise more "moderate, liberal-minded voters" in campaigns such as opposing Brexit.The party had 99,200 members as of August 2018. Sir Vince said: "We should widen membership with a new class of 'supporters' who pay nothing to sign up to the party's values. "They should enjoy a range of entitlements, including the right to vote for the leadership and to shape the party's campaigning online."
'Not just protest group'
The party should be in "constant conversation" with "the vast swathe of voters in the centre ground whom we are yet to persuade," he continued."Groups like More United, 38 Degrees, Avaaz and have shown us how these regular conversations can happen, how we can engage hundreds of thousands of people online. "I want our party to do that and to offer our movement a political arm within Parliament. So it is not just a protest group banging at the door, but a movement with a voice on the inside - our parliamentary party."The Labour Party changed its membership rules under Ed Miliband from an electoral college system in which union members, MPs and party members had one-third of the vote each to a "one member one vote" system, which allowed "registered supporters" to take part for a Sir Vince said: "The Liberal Democrats are not a socialist party concerned with extreme-left entryism or a right-wing party trying to keep out extreme right-wingers. We are a centre ground, pro-European, liberal and social democratic party, welcoming like-minded supporters. "This will be a movement for moderates." It is thought that Sir Vince plans to rewrite the rules so that supporters need to be enrolled for 12 months before voting, to prevent infiltration by rival parties.He is hoping to emulate the success of Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party in Canada, which leaped from third place to victory in 2015.
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Vince Cable
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