EU Referendum

Lib Dems pledge to fight for UK re-entry to EU

Tim Farron Image copyright PA

The Liberal Democrats will fight the next general election pledging to take the UK back into the European Union, party leader Tim Farron has said.

Voters backed Brexit in a "howl of anger" at out-of-touch politicians and must be allowed to rethink, he said.

The UK voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48% in Thursday's referendum.

But both Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have rejected the idea of a second EU referendum.

"We have got to accept that decision," Mr Corbyn said of the Brexit vote.

In other developments:

Mr Farron said: "For many millions of people, this was not just a vote about Europe.

"It was a howl of anger at politicians and institutions who they felt were out of touch and had let them down.

"The British people deserve the chance not to be stuck with the appalling consequences of a Leave campaign that stoked that anger with the lies of Farage, Johnson and Gove.

"The Liberal Democrats will fight the next election on a clear and unequivocal promise to restore British prosperity and [its] role in the world, with the United Kingdom in the European Union, not out."

The next general election is not due until 2020 under current laws, but could be staged within months if the next Conservative leader decides to seek a mandate through a national vote.

Former mayor of London and Leave campaigner Boris Johnson has been installed as the bookies' favourite to succeed the prime minister.

After the referendum result on Friday, Mr Johnson said the UK was not "turning its back" on Europe.

While the EU was a "noble ideal for its time", it "was no longer right for this country", he said, appearing with fellow Leave campaigner Michael Gove after the vote.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed the referendum result as the UK's "independence day", and said: "This will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people."

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