Sir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has claimed “white nostalgia” and older voters longing for a time when “faces were white” drove British voters to choose for the nation to leave the majority-white European Union.
He also insisted that the vote to leave the European Union (EU) had plunged the UK into a “non-violent civil war” with older Leave supporters “crushing the hopes” of the young.
Speaking at the party’s spring conference in Southport, he said: “I’ve myself been on a journey. I confess that my own initial reaction to the referendum was to think maybe there was little choice but to pursue Brexit.
“I thought, you know, the public had voted to be poorer – well, that was their right.
“What changed my mind was the evidence that Brexit had overwhelmingly been the choice of the older generation. 75 per cent of under 25s voted to remain. But 70 per cent of over 65s voted for Brexit,” he said.
He added that too many older supporters of Brexit were driven by “nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white and the map was coloured imperial pink”.
Continuing: “And it was their votes on one wet day in June which crushed the hopes and aspirations of young people for years to come.”
— David Kurten ن (@davidkurten) March 11, 2018
For British ethnic minorities, Brexit is much more popular than the Lib Dems. 1 in 3 voted to leave. Just 6% voted for the Lib Dems in 2017.
— Charlie Peters (@CDP1882) March 11, 2018
Sir Vince was slammed for implying millions of voters were driven by racism and prejudice, something he denied on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 Monday morning.
“I spent a lot of the referendum campaign going around, mostly in prosperous country areas… when people thought about immigration they weren’t predominantly thinking about people from eastern Europe.”
He said that advertising focusing on mass-migration and open borders had been among “the most effective propaganda” in the campaign, singling out a poster unveiled by Nigel Farage showing images from the 2015 migrant crisis.
Housing minister Sajid Javid hit back, tweeting: “Vince Cable so wrong and disrespectful. Should be trying to bring [the] country together, not seeking to tear it apart.”
James Cleverly, a Tory MP, added: “The more I think about [Sir Vince’s cimments] the more angry it makes me. Mr. Invisible is using divisive language to seek attention rather than helping to unite the country.”