A Liberal Democrat MP has described the party’s Brexit policy in the general election as a “big mistake”, as she announced her candidacy to be the next leader.
Layla Moran revealed her bid for the top job in an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
The Oxford West and Abingdon MP said it was time for the Lib Dems to “move on as a party and offer a positive vision for the country”.
“I’m the right person to lead that change,” she declared.
There is a vacancy at the top of the party because its previous leader, Jo Swinson, lost her seat in December’s general election.
The Lib Dems went into that poll promising to cancel Brexit if it defied the odds and managed to win the election outright.
The party saw an overall increase in vote share, but ended up losing one MP.
Ms Moran, who has been an MP since 2017, said that Brexit was a factor in this and it was “really important that we listen and understand where we’ve been going wrong”.
She added: “I have been around the country listening to voters.
“They (voters) come back and say in the election that revoke was a big mistake because it felt very top down, and actually cooperation is a key part of what we believe as Liberal Democrats and we need to earn their trust again.”
Ms Moran said that Ms Swinson’s claim to be a genuine candidate for prime minister also put people off.
“The other thing that worried them was that we were saying that we were going to be the party of the next government when in fact that wasn’t the case and we lost their trust again over that.”
Ms Moran admitted that she failed to voice her opposition to the policy before it was signed off at the party’s annual conference last September.
“I did not, no, and actually I have been reflecting on how we make decisions in the party,” she said.
“In the rooms where these decisions were being discussed – and I do not absolve myself from responsibility at all in this – but there weren’t enough dissenting voices.
“So it became very clear that we were surrounded by Remain seats, people who had campaigned ardently for that Remain position and to move away from the People’s Vote [a second referendum], which I think would have worked in many parts of the country, was partly led by a lack of diversity of voices in that room.”
Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson being returned to office with a large majority and Britain leaving the EU on 31 January, Ms Moran said she would be supportive of efforts to try and rejoin the bloc one day.
“If there is a way to move that door open so that one day, with public consent, we go back then I would be first in line,” she said.
Acting leader Sir Ed Davey is expected to join Ms Moran in the contest, as is Bath MP Wera Hobhouse.
Nominations open on 11 May, with potential candidates having until 28 May to get nominations together.
The ballot will start on 18 June and voting will close on 15 July.