LONDON — The Leave campaign won last year’s Brexit referendum because of elderly people “obsessed” with immigration, according to Sir Vince Cable.
Speaking at lunch for the parliamentary press gallery on Wednesday, the former Business Secretary claimed that the Brexit vote was fuelled “overwhelmingly” by “elderly people who were obsessed by the worry of 80 million Turks coming to their village.”
“Immigration was a massive issue for them though they never actually encountered any,” he added.
Sir Vince — who is set to be elected new leader of the Liberal Democrats next week — told the lunch that many Brits who voted for Brexit 13 months ago were driven by a “sense of nostalgia” for a country they grew up in which they felt had been lost over time.
He added that Brexit campaigners successfully built a winning coalition of nostalgic elderly people in the rural regions of southern England and “bitter” people in northern towns who were hugely concerned with the issue of immigration.
Brexit being cancelled is a “very real” prospect
Sir Vince reportedly told journalists he believes there is a “very real” prospect of Brexit not taking place as soon as politicians and civil servants realise the complexities of taking Britain out of the European Union.
This is a line that the soon-to-be Lib Dem leader has repeated on numerous occasions recently. Speaking to Business Insider at a summit in central London last week, the veteran MP for Twickenham claimed that the majority of British people will soon be against leaving the EU once faced with the “economic impacts” of leaving the 28-nation bloc.
Sir Vince told BI:
“I think it is right to aim for Britain remaining in the single market and customs union and retaining all of the collaborative arrangements around research and environmental standards. They are things we should be fighting for.
“But it may be that at the end of it, we are faced with a stark choice between crashing out of the EU with a no deal or a very bad deal, or on the other hand going back to membership. That’s why my party argues that we should have a further vote on this. That didn’t resonate with voters at this year’s election. We all know that. It was premature and people thought we were harking back to the last one. But in two years time when it’s very clear what the economic impacts are I think the public will welcome that kind of option.”
The former cabinet minister announced his bid to become next Lib Dem leader last month and is set to be crowned outgoing leader Tim Farron’s successor next week due to no other Lib Dem figures choosing to stand against him.
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