Vince Cable branded the Prime Minister’s amendment as “trivial” despite previously saying that putting a date on Brexit would be a “foolish” thing.
Theresa May amended the EU withdrawal bill last week so that Britain will commit to Brexit as of 11pm on 29th March 2019.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live, Mr Cable said: “Whether we have a fixed date of March 31st or its June the same year is a trivial issue.
“And this idea of the fixed date was not put there because of business lobbying. It was put there because the hardliners. You know, the Duncan Smiths and Rees-Moggs wanted to be absolutely clear that there was no backsliding.”
Vince Cable said setting a date on Brexit was "foolish"
BBC presenter Emma Barnett hit back and said: “But if its a trivial issue, why are you wasting parliamentary time debating it?”
Mr Cable then said the amendment was not a “trivial issue”. He said: “I shouldn’t have perhaps used that word. It’s within the bigger Brexit debate. It’s not the big picture.
“But it is something that does reduce the flexibility of the negotiations.
“It’s a foolish thing to have done and it does demonstrate the extent to which the Government is under pressure from its own extreme Brexit UKIP type people.”
MPs have tabled almost 500 amendments to the EU withdrawal bill, which is made to transfer European Union laws into British laws.
Mr Cable said that Brexit has become “very polarised”. He said: “It has become very aggressive. It has become very nasty.
“I think the mood in the country is quite ugly. But I think as politicians we’ve got to handle public debate.”
David Davis announced on Tuesday that MPs will be offered a take it or leave it vote on a final Brexit deal.
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