Vince Cable tells lobby journalists why old people voted for Brexit
‘They were obsessed by the worry of 80 million Turks being in their village.’
Former business secretary Vince Cable has stressed that many people did not back Brexit in this year's general election – and mocked many of those who did the year before.
The man in line to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats was speaking to lobby journalists at a press gallery lunch in Westminster.
When one journalist suggested that most people had showed their support for Brexit in the general election, Cable was having none of it.
"It’s a canard to talk about 80 per cent of people voting for Brexit," insisted Cable. "In the general election both the major parties were led by people that promised a hard Brexit, but we all know that – certainly in the Labour party and to some extent in the Conservative party – that doesn’t represent the full cross section."
Asked what he believed had motivated Leave voters, he pointed to nostalgia and bogus fears about immigration.
"They were overwhelmingly elderly people who were obsessed by the worry of 80 million Turks coming over and being in their village. Immigration was a massive issue for them although they never actually encountered any.
"I'm putting it slightly facetiously, but in that age group, which was a very powerful one, mostly Conservative voting, there was a sense of nostalgia - the Britain that they'd been brought up in and loved and were comfortable with was no longer there."
He added: "There were in addition to that undoubtedly what you would call the left-behind: not the first-tier cities in the north of England like Manchester and Newcastle and Sheffield and others which were on the edge or pro-Remain."
Cable was also asked to reveal how he still kept going on the frontline of politics at the age of 74. "Telegraph readers want to know what your secret is," said the paper’s senior political correspondent Chris ‘Chopper’ Hope.
Cable replied: "I don't have any secret, I've been lucky with my health, some people are not so lucky, my wife died and I'm very painfully conscious of the effect of age on some people but not others, I have lived with it the whole time.
"But I keep very fit, I cycle, I go to one of Richard Branson's gyms several times a day - I mean week."
Earlier Cable had been introduced in standard fashion by press gallery chairman Matt Chorley.
The Times journalist said: "The cult of youth in politics has been reversed. For the first time the leaders of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems will be older in the Commons than they are in then Lords.
"And in fact Vince is now only the same age as Gladstone was.
"When Vince first met him."
Picture credit: Press Association.