Vince Cable warns of ‘rising Far Right’ at Bethnal Green launch of Lib Dems’ EU election manifesto
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Former government business secretary Vince Cable launched the Lib Dems’ national EU election manifesto in Bethnal Green last night with a ‘remain’ message that Europe “doesn’t encroach on Britain’s sovereignty”.
New MEPs voted in on May 23 would be joining powerful and influential politicians fighting the rise of Far Right 'popularism' forces, he told the packed launch rally at the Rich Mix centre.
"We have to be part of Europe," he urged. "We can only fight right-wing popularism by standing with those who share our values.
"Another challenge we can't deal with at national level is how you tackle international global data corporations and big monopolies. That's now being done at a European level such as fines when they don't pay their taxes and protecting data privacy."
The party selected the East End for its manifesto launch because of the effect Brexit is already having on east London's economy, with European agencies and some of the big banks quitting Canary Wharf and the City to head for the Continent.
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The party's eight candidates for its London List of prospective MEPs includes Tower Hamlets' lone Lib Dem councillor Rabina Khan, former independent candidate for mayor in 2015 and 2018 before she joined the party to fight Brexit.
East London's economy was being "badly hit by Brexit". But she added: "Sir Vince launching the national manifesto in Bethnal Green strengthens our campaign in east London for the UK remaining in the world's biggest trading bloc which has given Europe peace and prosperity for 70 years."
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But they are now up against serious opposition from the new Change UK party clamouring for the centralist 'remain' vote.
Sir Vince told the East London Advertiser: "We would rather have fought on a common front, but they weren't willing.
"I'm disappointed, but there's no point sparring off against people we fundamentally agree with.
"Grown-up politics means working together. I don't see Change UK as a threat.
"Our sights are on the serious opposition—the Brexit party, Labour sitting on the fence and the Tories."
Last night was the third time in 12 months Sir Vince has headed party rallies in the East End, following October's annual party conference held at Canary Wharf and last May's launch in Brick Lane for the Tower Hamlets council elections.
Now he is going beyond party supporters to scoop up remainers of all political colours to follow up last week's local elections successes around the country.
"The brutal truth is people are going to have to vote tactically to maximise their impact," he insists. "We are the strongest of the Remain parties for Europe."
Polls are predicting Lib Dems taking 13 or 14 EU seats, he points out, with Greens getting six and Change UK three.