Vince Cable, former Business Secretary and one of the leading lights of the campaign to Remain in the European Union (EU), has admitted that “it’s time to end EU free movement”.
“For the Remain resistance movement, [free movement] has been a fundamental principle, to be defended to the last”, confessed the Liberal Democrat grandee, referring to politicians such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair and separatist leader Nicola Sturgeon.
“All my instincts are to defend the freedom to work, study and retire anywhere within the EU,” he continued. “I was (and am) a Remainer.”
“But I have serious doubts that EU free movement is tenable or even desirable.”
Cable’s New Statesman article cited concerns over the way free movement discriminates against “Americans and Australians” in favour of “Poles and Romanians”, while depressing wages in working-class occupations “like building and taxi driving”.
Cable’s comments on these aspects of the Single Market are a partial echo of arguments made by left-leaning Eurosceptics such as former coal miner and Labour MP Dennis Skinner, which received little attention from the mainstream media during the referendum.
“The Single Market was designed deliberately to allow employers to transfer cheap labour across national borders,” wrote the veteran Labour MP, in his memoir Sailing Close to the Wind, who felt that free movement’s main purpose was to satisfy “an insatiable appetite for dozen-a-penny workers”.
Responding to Cable, Leave Means Leave co-chairman Richard Tice told Breitbart London it was “nice to see a Lib Dem waking up to the mood of the country”.
“I would suggest he has a word with his leader.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has, like Blair and Sturgeon, been a staunch proponent of free movement and the EU more generally, calling for a second referendum and blaming the original vote on “the forces of darkness”.
Farron was voted ‘Remoaner of the Year’ in a poll conducted by Leave.EU, the largest Eurosceptic group in the country, just ahead of millionaire financier Gina Miller and Tory MP Anna Soubry.