Sir Vince Cable has said an "avalanche" of Labour MPs could defect to the Liberal Democrats following Jeremy Corbyn's landslide leadership victory. The former business secretary and Lib Dem MP for Twickenham told the BBC that Labour had made a "catastrophic choice" and was now saddled with a leader "totally out of touch" with its electoral base.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 ahead of the party's conference in Bournemouth, Sir Vince said Corbyn's victory would be a a "way back" for the beleaguered party, which suffered devastating election losses in the 2015 general election. Many high-profile members of the party were voted out of office in May, including Sir Vince, ex-treasury secretary Danny Alexander, former energy secretary Ed Davey and deputy party leader Simon Hughes. The party now has just eight MPs – down from 57 in 2010, and the fewest MPs since the party's first general election in 1983.
Tim Farron, agony uncle
Sir Vince told the BBC that "moderate, middle of the road" Labour politicians were now in "a terrible position" following Corbyn's victory, which he said would do the Labour party "no end of harm". He said that he believed some Labour MPs would defect to his party, but added he believed that "some kind of cross-party working" would be more realistic for many disgruntled Labour MPs. "It may become an avalanche," he said.
On Friday, 18 September, a Labour insider told IBTimes UK that LibDem leader Tim Farron would scare off moderate Labour MPs after publicly claiming he had been contacted by well-known Labour figures in the wake of Corbyn's election win. On Thursday, Farron told the Evening Standard he felt like was an "agony aunt" when moderate Labour MPs reached out to him.
"I've had various unsolicited texts, some of them over the weekend, where I felt like I was being an agony aunt rather than anything else," he said.