Lib Dems launch EU campaign in Wapping

Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khan has joined leader Sir Vince Cable and other party members in Wapping for the launch of the Liberal Democrats’ campaign for next month’s EU elections.

The Lib Dems are competing for all of the eight London seats in the European Parliament in the elections on May 23.

Sir Cable, 75, described the Lib Dems as “the party of Remain”. The key message of the campaign: stop Brexit.

“We’re very clear that whatever form of Brexit emerges, if it ever emerges, is bound to leave us poorer, less influential, less safe than we are at the moment,” he said.

Although his “exit from Brexit” phrase was mocked when it was first announced it, Sir Cable described it is as now “mainstream”.

He also called for unity among the Remain parties fighting to stop Brexit: “We should be standing together and the millions of people in this country who want to Remain would expect us to stand together.”

The Lib Dems are supporting a second referendum on Brexit along with the Green Party and the recently established Change UK. Despite talks on running on an anti-Brexit slate, no agreement could be reached between the parties.

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The launch comes days after an alleged leaked memo suggested Change UK aims to win over Lib Dem voters and donors by competing with the party on its own issues.

According to Sir Cable, Change UK have since disowned the memo and apologised to the Lib Dems.

Cllr Rabina Khan, 46, represents the Shadwell ward and is one of the MEP hopefuls for the London seats.

She said: “We have a brilliant economy here in Tower Hamlets and we have benefited from the European Union.

“Across London we have seen people being able to benefit from jobs and making sure we can tackle climate change.”

Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the 2020 London mayoral election, who joined the party on the morning of the EU referendum result also gave a speech. She described the way Brexit has been handled as a “national disgrace”.

She told the ELA: “So many of the things that make London a fantastic city, whether it’s the hospitality sector, healthcare or construction, these industries they rely on Freedom of Movement and frictionless trade with the EU.”