The hot plot! Lib Dems may dump Vince Cable as the mercury rises
Crunch summit rumoured with newbie Layla Moran lined up to take over
Things are hotting up for the Lib Dems and not just because the temperature is reaching record levels in Westminster. Party big wigs are rumoured to be holding a secret summit to determine the future of leader Vince Cable tonight.
Cable missed a key Brexit vote last week that saw the government scrape home with a majority of three. Had Cable and his predecessor as Lib Dem leader Tim Farron been in the Commons to vote the result would have been even more tight. It was a particularly embarrassing episode given the Lib Dems claim to be the only anti-Brexit party yet they missed their chance to defeat the government and put the brakes on leaving the EU.
Cable has given away little information about why he was absent during the votes on amendments to the customs bill but apparently he was at a dinner discussing the possibility of setting up a new centrist party.
Fed up Lib Dems are said to be meeting tonight (Thursday) to decide Cable's fate. Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon since last year's general election, is being talked up as a replacement. However undoubtedly one of the main reasons she's in the running is due to the lack of alternatives. The Lib Dems still only have 12 MPs and Cable's deputy and the person previously seen as his most likely successor, Jo Swinson, is currently on maternity leave.
Moran has caught the eye in parliament with a good line in rhetoric. Only this week she backed the Independent's campaign for a second referendum saying, "not all of us want to be part of the Brexiteers ideological wet dream" and she previously lampooned the Prime Minister for being "caught between the devil and the DUP". However friends say she is more interested in securing her seat - she currently has a majority of just 816 - than leading the party. She would make a particularly youthful leader in contrast to the more mature Cable. At 35 she's less than half Vince Cable's age.