Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said he has had discussions with politicians in Europe on a new trade deal as part of the party’s policy of re-joining the EU.

He told GB News’ Political Editor Christopher Hope: “The Conservatives have so poisoned Britain’s relationship with our nearest neighbours in Europe, that it’s going to take quite a while to rebuild the trust.

“We need to engage with them. We have a four stage process. We couldn’t be clearer about the things we’d like to do.

“One of the things we’d like to do is get a better trade deal. The trade deal that Boris Johnson and the Conservatives got has been a disaster.

“There’s a chance to review it and we can get a much better trade deal. I’ve spoken with European politicians who said, ‘you know what? Trade is in our mutual benefit’.”

Asked if the party was going to re-open “the horrors” of Brexit, Sir Ed said: “No, we don’t want to do that. We absolutely don’t want to do that, because that was for many people, exhausting.

“And that’s one of the reasons why we’re being, I think, very practical, very realistic, taking a step-by-step approach. But I do genuinely think better relationships with our neighbours is a good thing.”

On the party’s election prospects, he said: “One of my criticisms of the Conservatives is that they’ve taken their own voters for granted.

“People who have been voting Conservative all their lives feel really let down. They feel that Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives are totally out of touch.

“During this campaign, I’m not going to focus about what happens after the election, I’m going to focus on listening to people and explaining to people our policies and our ideas, and I think the more we do that, the more we will win people to our colours.”

Asked what liberalism is, he said: “It’s holding the very powerful to account and helping ordinary people be more powerful, so make sure they’ve got the health services they need.

“Make sure they get decent, affordable homes, make sure their children get an opportunity, to make sure that the water companies don’t get away with pumping their filthy sewage.

“So liberalism is about making sure that the vast majority of people get a fair deal.”

On the party’s tax plans, he said: “We don’t think taxes should go up. The Conservatives have put tax taxes up to record levels…what we said in the manifesto is we would like as our first priority, for tax cuts when resources allow and the public finance allow us to take people out of tax.

“People know that we did that before and they know that the Conservatives reversed that. So, if you believe in helping the low-paid out of tax, a Liberal Democrat vote is a good one.

“If you want to push more people into tax, vote Conservative.”