Today Labour leader Ed Miliband made a pitch for disaffected Lib Dem members at his first monthly press conference as Leader of the Opposition, saying,
…Today I want to make an offer to Liberal Democrats: To those who are reluctant to abandon ship, but are concerned at the direction of their party, I invite them to work with us on issues of common interest.
Commenting on Mr Miliband’s ‘offer’ of policy input, Liberal Democrat President-elect Tim Farron said:
Labour have just spent 13 years sucking up to Rupert Murdoch and George Bush – why would any sane progressive even give them a second glance?
As part of the Coalition Government, Liberal Democrats have started fixing Labour’s economic mess, taking millions of people out of Income Tax and reforming British politics. Things Labour had 13 years to do but failed to deliver.
The Liberal Democrats have also announced more cash for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, one of the biggest moves to improve social mobility in decades.
Continuing that work is something far more attractive to Liberal Democrats than helping Ed Miliband’s increasingly desperate attempts to work out what he actually stands for.
However, if he is serious about co-operation then the first thing he should do is stop the Labour Party’s attempts to block the referendum on electoral reform that he claims to support.
And Tim Farron’s not the only one expressing distaste at Labour’s offer. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major has said the idea of Labour reaching out to Liberal Democrats in this way “made his ‘blood boil’. He said the Conservatives and Lib Dems had come together in the national interest and said this was not a time “to be playing party games”. [BBC]
It’s not going to happen, we’re separate parties. We’ve agreed to work together at the moment for the sake of the nation. But it doesn’t mean we’re about to merge any time soon.