Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has insisted he is not interested in a pre-election pact with Labour to oust Rishi Sunak.
As the party’s activists gathered in Bournemouth for what could be the final Lib Dem autumn conference before a general election, Sir Ed also stressed that the prospect of reversing Brexit – a policy which formed the centrepiece of the 2019 campaign – was off the table.
Sir Ed said he was not having conversations with Sir Keir Starmer, but he added: “I have to say I am sick and tired of the Tories”.
But he said he was “100%” ruling out a pre-election deal with Sir Keir, even in seats like Mid Bedfordshire, where the upcoming by-election in Nadine Dorries’ former constituency will see Labour and the Lib Dems go head to head in an effort to win it from the Conservatives.
“I’ve said in every single by-election since I’ve been leader there will be no pacts, there will be no deals. And I don’t think voters want parties to stitch thing up,” he said.
Sir Ed told the BBC that rejoining the EU was currently “off the table” and most people on the doorstep just “aren’t talking about Europe”.
But he added: “We want Britain to be back at the heart of Europe but we’re also realistic that’s going to take some time.”
SNP Europe spokesman Alyn Smith said his was now “the only major party committed to rejoining the EU”.
He said: “With Starmer, Sunak and Davey – the three bungling Brexiteers of UK politics – all throwing in the towel and ruling out any return to Europe, it’s clear independence is Scotland’s only route back to EU prosperity and the only escape from the long-term damage of Brexit.”