Vince Cable’s conference speech!

Vince began by thanking everyone who had helped him during his time as leader, and saying what he’d be doing next:

“I have fought ten national elections over half a century. I couldn’t have done that on my own without the emotional and practical support of my wife Rachel and my late wife Olympia. And without my dedicated team of volunteers in Twickenham and in Parliament led by Dee Doocey.”

He spoke proudly of our time in government and commented on the current state of politics in the country, “We now see Labour and the Conservatives putting party before country and they will suffer for it – permanently.”

He paid warm tribute to the late Paddy Ashdown and spoke of his confidence in our current leader, “It would be great to be able to claim that I have led you from the wilderness to the Promised Land. But the journey out of the wilderness started with my predecessor, Tim Farron, and I am confident will be completed by my successor, Jo Swinson. Jo has hit the ground running and we have every reason to say to the world that she should be the next resident of Number 10.”

Vince acknowledged our recent triumphs electorally and in the polls, “I did, however, get us to the safety of an oasis, in the successful local and European elections; and then onto some fertile high ground where we are consistently polling around 20% or more.”

He praised our clear stance on Brexit, “Our recovery has come from speaking with clarity and consistency on Europe. We have been faithful to an internationalist, pro-Europe tradition which goes back, via all my predecessors, to Jo Grimond six decades ago. 70% of our members joined us to fight Brexit.”

He drew attention to our record on voting reform,Liberal Democrats have long demanded fundamental reforms to the distribution of power: proportional voting, decentralisation, an elected second chamber. We need no less than a democratic revolution.”

He lambasted Boris Johnson, “We see Mr Bean trying to become Stalin” and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, “For three years Jeremy Corbyn and his allies have cynically sat on the fence on the biggest issue of our generation…A generation of young people in particular have been betrayed.”

He welcomed our newest MPs and predicted that there would be more to come, “Within the next few weeks and months I hope and expect that the trickle from both sides will become a flood.”

He also expressed hope for the future, “people who are liberal and outward looking in their values, who see themselves as Liberals, Social Democrats, One Nation Conservatives or Greens – are coming together in the same political family, with us at its heart.”

He addressed the other parties’ failure to address problems with tax, mental health and the NHS, “These aren’t new issues but they desperately need new solutions and fresh determination to deliver them in government.”

And finished off his speech by expressing confidence in our future and our leader, “The Liberal Democrats are in a unique position to lead. Jo is ready to steer us back into government as our new captain – and, now, I am full of confidence and hope for our party and for our country.”

You can read Vince’s full speech here.