Nick Clegg and Paddy Ashdown united today in condemning three retired members of the defence establishment who have a letter published in today’s Times attempting to frighten voters away from voting Lib Dem with crude warnings what perils await Britain if the party gains power.
The letter has just three signatories: Peter Clarke, Sir Richard Dearlove, and Lord Guthrie. Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown issued a masterly put-down of the trio in the Times:
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the former Lib Dem leader who helped to draw up the party’s defence and national security policies, responded to today’s letter, saying: “This is a last-minute election stunt to frighten the electorate into voting for the Tories.” He said that he was surprised by the signatories because Lord Guthrie had agreed a report on long-term security needs that Lord Ashdown wrote for the IPPR think-tank and which had formed the basis of the Lib Dem manifesto. He said of Sir Richard: “He does have to understand that the world has moved on from when he supplied Tony Blair with his intelligence about Iraq and WMD.”
And Nick was no less damning in his critique:
I care passionately about the national security of this country but I am not going to take any lectures from a bunch of retired establishment figures about the security of this country, some of whom actually made the biggest mistakes in the run up to the Iraq war. And I am not going to apologise for calling for an inquiry in to the allegations that somehow British security services might have been complicit in torture.”