Following his comments earlier today, I’ve just fired off the letter below to Vince Cable. I think it speaks for itself.
I would like to express my concern regarding comments made by you today regarding possible alliances with The Independent Group, especially comments made this afternoon on the BBC that the group “shares many of our values”.
The very first line of their values talks about the first duty of government being “to do whatever it takes to safeguard Britain’s national security”, a clear dog-whistle anti-civil-liberties and anti-immigration statement.
Its members now includes people such as Joan Ryan, (Founding director of “Labour No to AV” and one of ministers responsible for ID cards) Chuka Umunna, (Staunch opponent of free movement) Mike Gapes (Pro-Iraq war, even post-Chilcot) and Gavin Shuker who has, at best, questionable views on LGBT equality.
These are publicly expressed views of those MPs, not merely a few votes where they have been whipped to follow the party line despite personal reservations.
There are indeed some members of TIG who appear to share our values. That includes Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston, who might not just make great allies but might well be at home within our party. And I would certainly encourage working with other MPs on an issue-by-issue basis, for example, to revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit.
However, neither a suggestion they “share our values” as a group nor any national alliance with TIG as a whole at the ballot box will further the cause of liberalism in this country.