Ed Davey: our leadership contest could not be more significant

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Brexit is the most serious threat to our country in my lifetime.

Yet the Conservative Party leadership contest shows they still haven’t got it – and are even willing to make things worse. Enthusiastic talk of a No Deal Brexit? Of sending MPs home – proroguing Parliament – so MPs can’t stop a No Deal? By people who want to be our country’s Prime Minister? Whoever wins that leadership contest has to be stopped.

Yet we know Labour won’t do it. Labour have aided and abetted the Tories every step of the way. Jeremy Corbyn demanded after the referendum that the Government should invoke Article 50 immediately and leave as soon as possible. Last week some Labour MPs even voted against a cross-party motion that could have enabled MPs to block a disastrous No Deal Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats are now the leaders of Remain.

Neither Labour nor the Conservatives can be trusted on Brexit.

Fortunately, the European Elections have heralded a dramatic realignment in British politics. Away from the Labour-Tory battles of the past, towards today’s Remain-Leave battle. And the Liberal Democrats are now the leaders of Remain.

So our leadership contest – who is the Leader of the lead Remain Party – could not be more significant.

We need a Leader who understands the EU, who knows how to win and above all who is ready now to take on Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn – and ready to become Prime Minister.

I have the CV for that task. And I’m ready for that task.

I have successfully negotiated in Government – indeed, across Europe, twice – on economic reform and on climate change. In fact, I’ve attended more EU Ministerial Councils in Brussels than any Liberal Democrat in history, during my 5 years as a Business Minister and Cabinet Minister.

My campaigning record over 20 years shows I know how to win – from winning my constituency when I wasn’t even a target seat to my leading role in developing simple messages that connect with voters – from “Stop Brexit” to “a penny on income tax for education” [1991-2001] to “scrap council tax” [2003-05].

I have the ideas and vision to be a Prime Minister who doesn’t just stop Brexit, but stops the causes of Brexit.

And I have the ideas and vision to be a Prime Minister who doesn’t just stop Brexit, but stops the causes of Brexit. From my detailed economic plan to invest in the communities left behind in the past – including massive investment in the regions and nations – to my proposals to tackle the Climate Emergency, we can have a substantial programme for Government.

The leadership to stop Brexit and renew our country is now down to the Liberal Democrats. I’m the Leader who can campaign so we win the right to perform that duty – and the person who is best placed to lead us in carrying out that historic task.