Leading Lib Dem leadership contender says party could start 'rejoin EU' campaign within 11 months

·2-min read
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Layla Moran (PA via Getty)

One of the leading contenders to become the next Liberal Democrat leader has said she may start campaigning to rejoin the EU by the end of this year.

Layla Moran, who is considered one of the party’s stars, is currently second favourite to become its next leader, though she is yet to formally enter the race.

Just six days after Brexit happened, she said the Lib Dems could begin campaigning to rejoin the EU within the next 11 months, depending on the progress of the government’s transition period negotiations with the bloc.

The public resoundingly rejected the party’s pledge to stop Brexit in December’s general election, with the Lib Dems winning just 11 seats, down one from the 2017 poll.

Moran herself said on Wednesday that ex-leader Jo Swinson’s promise to prevent Brexit without even holding a second referendum was “arrogant”.

However, asked on the BBC’s Politics Live show on Thursday if the Lib Dems could in future become the “rejoin the EU party”, Moran said: “This is the big question.

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (L) and Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, visit Trumpington Park Primary School on November 20, 2019 in Cambridge, England. Jo Swinson will launch the Liberal Democrats' manifesto later today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Jo Swinson and Layla Moran pictured during the general election campaign (Getty)

“Even if I were PM, you can’t rush to it, because I think there is a mood in the country that people want to be doing things together.

“In my heart of hearts, I never wanted to leave the EU, but that’s not what happened. If you’re going to deal with the realpolitik of where we are now, you don’t rush to that decision.

“That said, if we do end up going off the cliff edge of no-deal, I can envisage as soon as 11 months’ time us moving to a position where that is what we want to avoid that cliff edge.”

She concluded: “So who knows? We need to wait and watch what happens to politics over the next few months, it’s going to be critical.”

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Moran, the Oxford West MP, has said she is “weighing up” whether to stand in this summer’s leadership election.

According to the Oddschecker website, she is currently second favourite behind acting co-leader Ed Davey.

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