Hard Brexit could trigger financial crash worse than 2008, says Vince Cable

Hatty Collier
Plotting a return: Vince Cable

Britain’s exit from the European Union could cause an economic crisis greater than the 2008 financial crash, former business secretary Vince Cable has said.

The Liberal Democrat, who has launched a bid to reclaim his old seat of Twickenham in June’s general election, said job losses, inflation and the falling pound could force the UK back into a recession if Theresa May pushes ahead with a hard Brexit.

The former business secretary has vowed to fight to keep Britain in the single market and the customs union if reelected.

His comments came in a statement announcing his return to politics as he attempts to wrest back power from the Conservatives in the south-west London seat he held for 18 years.

The Tory’s Dr Tania Mathias won the seat in the 2015 election with a slim Conservative majority of just 2,017.

He said: “For Britain, the economic weather is arguably worse than it was before the credit crunch. The pound has plummeted, which is driving up prices and trapping consumers in a vicious Brexit squeeze.

"Consumer confidence was all that kept the storm clouds away. But with job losses at everywhere from Deutsche Bank to Nestlé, that confidence is going to drain away further.

“The chancellor clearly has no confidence in the economic strategy of the government, because he knows that leaving the single market and customs union has the potential to devastate the UK economy.

“If Britain enters a second economic storm, it will be Theresa May’s economic storm. You can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong economy.

“That is why it is vital that the general election produces a large increase in MPs who understand why it is essential to remain in the single market and customs union.”

Sir Vince previously said he would also be campaigning on topics like Heathrow expansion, social care and cuts to local schools.

Sir Vince held the Twickenham seat from 1997 to 2015, when he was the most prominent victim of his party's electoral collapse.