Tim Farron apologises after he and Vince Cable miss Brexit vote

Tim Farron, left, and Vince Cable

The former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has apologised after he and his successor, Vince Cable, missed the votes on two government-backed amendments tabled by hardline Brexiters that passed with a majority of just three.

Cable and Farron, who have positioned the Lib Dems as the stop-Brexit party, were away from the Commons on Monday night during the vote on amendments tabled by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s hardline European Research Group (ERG).

Farron was giving a talk in Sherborne, Dorset, on how he squares his controversial views as an evangelical Christian with being a liberal politician. Cable was attending a meeting away from parliament.

In an email to the Guardian, Farron admitted misjudging the vote. He said: “I was authorised to be absent due to a pre-arranged engagement away from the parliamentary estate.

“In the end nobody expected the vote to be as close as it was – I’d actually cancelled the engagement earlier on, but then uncancelled because we expected Labour to abstain and the government to win by miles.

“We clearly called it wrong, as did Labour. I take full responsibility for my part. The Tories don’t deserve any luck, I’m so sorry I inadvertently granted them some.”

Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock)

Last night two Brextremist-driven amendments were carried by a whisker – 3 and 4 votes, respectively. 14 Tories rebelled. Tim Farron and Vince Cable (those doughty, fearless crusaders against a hard Brexit) didn’t vote. This was how Tim spent his evening: https://t.co/Iz5dHz9RHL

July 17, 2018

The Lib Dem chief whip, Alistair Carmichael, also admitted he “messed up”. He said: “The government squeaked home by just three votes in a key amendment. It should have been one … By the…

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