Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has told pro-EU Tory and Labour MPs to “grow a flipping backbone” and form a new party.
Mr Farron said that the Lib Dems would not join the new party but would “work with them”.
Speaking to Politico’s morning newsletter, Playbook, he said: “Let some of these people in the Labour party and the Tory party grow a flipping backbone and leave. And we should work with them.
“Let them form their own party, we will work with them, and we’ll try and do it together.”
He added: “People shouldn’t fall into the mistake of thinking the SDP was a failure. It really wasn’t,” he said, of Britain’s last big breakaway centrist party.
“The day before (former Argentine President Leopoldo) Galtieri invaded the Falklands, they were on 51% in the polls and the (Liberal/SDP) alliance got 26% of the vote in ’83 — very, very close to having made it.”
Mr Farron revealed that he would also settle for “a decent electable leader” of the Labour party.
He said: “You see with great frustration – and I’m sure Vince (Cable) feels the same – the colossal opportunity in what I will glibly call the centre of British politics, and the desperate need for us.
“I obviously want the Liberal Democrats to recover, become the next government of the country and solve all the problems,” he said.
“I’m at the stage now … I’d be content for my children’s future if the Labour party just sorted its act out, got a decent electable leader and gave the country an alternative.”