The motion was brought forward by Council Leader Gareth Roberts at this week’s full council meeting [November 26], and seconded by Conservative Councillor Samuel.

It passed unanimously.

Sir Vince Cable retired as an MP when parliament was dissolved in time for the election.

He was the Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham from 1997-2015, and again from 2017 to November this year.

Speaking about the motion, Sir Vince told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he was “pleasantly surprised” about the motion and “touched by it.”

He said: “It’s the first time in Twickenham’s political history that they had somebody who was both an active local MP and operated at the highest levels in the cabinet.

“There was a Twickenham MP was home secretary in the 1920s I think, but in those days nobody expected the MPs to be active in the constituency.

“I think it was probably the combination of the two that has touched various people.”

Looking back on his career Sir Vince said he is particularly proud of his work with the local community:

“I’ve tried over more than 20 years to get deeply immersed in local issues and local organisations. I think the most heartwarming thing when I go around canvassing is the number of people who I have helped in some way over this period of time.

“A lot of casework I got involved with, particularly around housing, it’s very difficult to achieve anything, but there was a sufficient number of cases that I was able to help to have made a real difference.

“I think it’s at that personal level rather than with issues that I’ve been able to accomplish a lot.

“I have met enormous numbers of people on a face-to-face basis over this period and hopefully I’ve been able to help them and restore their faith in democratic institutions. “

Speaking about the upcoming election, Sir Vince said he was “pretty confident” the Lib Dems would hold Twickenham with their new candidate Munira Wilson.

He said: “She is a local person, she hasn’t been parachuted in from outside. She was active in the local community and as a councillor and indeed I got to know her sufficiently well, I went to her wedding!

“She is part of the fabric of the local community and that provides a big advantage over potential competitors.”

Speaking about his surprise defeat in 2015, Sir Vince said it was important to not take anything for granted:

“The 2015 election was a complete disaster but it was partly because a lot of our supporters assumed that I would win easily and they thought they could indulge in an anti-coalition protest or whatever. As a result we had a shock defeat.

“But I think that having been through that once, it’s not going to happen again. Nobody should take anything for granted, and I’m sure Munira won’t. People need to keep working and trying but I’m pretty confident in Twickenham,” he said.

“The key will be winning back Richmond which I think is likely, but not absolutely certain yet.”

Reflecting on his successes in national government, Sir Vince added:

“I think at a national level there were three big episodes. I think the first was in the run up to the financial crisis 10 years ago when I was acting leader of the the party for a while, and also had a prominent role in the television coverage of the crisis, and I wrote a bestselling book on the back of it. That was an episode of some salience.

“Then I joined the coalition government and had five years of Secretary of State, which was another high point. It was quite tough, but it was pretty big.

“Then thirdly I finished up as leader of my party. I did also appear on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2010. I got on to it in part because of my continued dancing classes at a local school in Hampton Wick. The BBC somehow got to know about it and they invited me on to the show.

“I actually did quite well, I got a 10 from Len and it did wonders for my self-confidence,” he joked.

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