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Brexit won't happen, says Lib Dems leader-in-waiting Cable

By David Hughes

Brexit may never happen because of the difficulties it will cause, Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Sir Vince Cable has said.

He promised that the Liberal Democrats would welcome "refugees" from Labour who were forced out by Jeremy Corbyn.

The former Cabinet minister said he believed Mr Corbyn's popularity would dwindle as the young voters he had inspired realised the Labour leader backed a "hard" Brexit.

Sir Vince also said he backed "moderate" tax increases, arguing that measures to balance the books needed to shift away from swingeing cuts.

The former business secretary, who returned to the Commons at the general election after regaining his Twickenham seat, highlighted divisions within the two largest parties.

He acknowledged that Mr Corbyn had a good election but said "there is an element of a bubble about it" because "actually he is very pro-Brexit".

Sir Vince told BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "There is an imminent issue, which is whether the Government continues to pursue the so-called hard Brexit - leaving the customs union and single market."

He said if the economy suffers, people will reconsider Brexit.

"I think that Brexit may never happen. The divisions within the two main parties are so enormous I can see a scenario in which this doesn't happen."

Even though he is not expected to face a challenger in his bid for the leadership, Sir Vince said he would still produce a manifesto. He also suggested he would support tax rises beyond the 1p income tax hike which the party proposed at the election to pay for health and social care.

He said: "I certainly want to shift the balance away from extreme cuts on public services, which are particularly harsh in local government. I would also have more financing of public capital investment for housing."

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