Davey: We’ll work with others to out this indecent government

In a podcast interview for Politics Home, Ed Davey said there is no formal pact with Labour but it was simply rational behaviour for both parties to put their resources where they have the best chance of winning.

He said the Lib Dems intend to take on Labour in areas where we can think we can beat them.

The interview also covered Partygate, the economy and the cost of living crisis, Tiverton and Honiton, and Lib Dem values.

The discussion began with Partygate. All quotes from Ed Davey:

MPs seemed to be in sort of no man’s land where they don’t really want to be seen supporting the prime minister because it’s too embarrassing. He’s not a decent man and they will know it…

I think the danger for Conservative MPs is if they don’t make a decision [on Johnson] it looks like the party of government is completely indecisive and hasn’t got a plan… and that’s extremely bad for the country… And it’s really bad when the government is like rabbits in headlights.

On the economy:

Businesses are worried about how they’re going to grow because they can’t find staff shortages of labour for businesses and the public sector. I’ve never known them like this and he’s trying to make out as good things. It’s actually not a good thing. Because they can’t grow… I think this is ought to really be worrying the government because he wants to say this sort of thing’s all okay. Don’t worry… That’s not the right attitude when these challenges are quite significant.

On Rishi Sunak and the cost of living crisis:

I don’t think he has actually done enough… We’ve been arguing to restore the £20 a week for people on universal credit. That’s a thousand pounds a year… Let’s remember, this is a guy who’s taking 20 billion pounds in high taxes this year… He looks like he’s giving on one hand, but he’s taking a load of money with the other… That’s why liberal Democrats have for several months now been arguing for a big cut in VAT… Some of the people who are going be really hit by the downturn are the most vulnerable and their spending power needs to be enhanced. That’s quite a large group of people now.

Describing the surge in profits for energy companies as totally unexpected, Davey said Sunak’s proposed windfall tax is a timid, light levy.

On the Tiverton and Honiton by-election:

I think it’s probably undisputed that it’s going to be, it’s a Lib Dem Conservative fight. However, there’s a mountain to climb. It’s a bigger majority that we faced in North Shropshire. Different issues. We know we’ve got a fight on our hands.

Not least because the Conservatives almost didn’t turn up in North Shropshire and just ran. And they sort of realise people are turning away and switching to the Liberal Democrats… I think there’s some momentum for us… There’s going to be a real fight.

On Lib Dem values:

Our liberal values have been more consistent than any other political party in all aspects of policy that affect people’s lives. I’m really proud of our tradition, our values and our priorities. We just need to make sure that more people hear about them.

One of the major criticisms we hear on the doorsteps is people feel the conservatives have taken people for granted. And we have got to go and win people’s trust and win them over and let them hear about what we want to do for their them, their family, their communities.

Davey said Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton seat will be a target for the Lib Dems at the next general election. “I think there are conservative MPS who are getting worried about the Liberal Democrat threat in Surrey.”

On an electoral pact with Labour:

There’s no discussion [with Labour]. It’s all about rational behaviour. We do take on Labour in areas where we think we can beat them. We took Hull Council [where] there was a huge fight between Labour and the Liberal Democrats… But what I will say is we tend to put our resources where we think we’ve got the best chance of winning… There are some areas where it’s tougher for us to win and others where if we target our resources, we can make progress.

My thoughts as Liberal Democrat leader is to make sure we return as many liberal Democrat MPS at the next election as possible. That’s where I begin and end.

Saying he is not ruling out an agreement with Labour after the next general election, Davey said there are many ways to cooperate after the next election:

Who knows what they are?

The key thing for me is making sure that we have the numbers to be able to influence, so we can move away from this frankly, indecent, government – it’s got no moral authority, it’s got no plan for our country – and replace [the government] with a parliament where different parties can put their ideas together. We work for the national interest rather than from an interest.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

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2 Comments

  • Peter Hirst 30th May '22 - 3:50pm

    Politics is about priorities. The priority for the next GE is removing this government. If we can do this while increasing our vote share and political representation so much the better. If we can’t then we must again do what’s best for the country.

  • Helen Dudden 30th May '22 - 5:03pm

    Diagnosis for autism in Bath for children, has many simply waiting and frustrated. Anyone with an autistic child knows the frustration that every day brings.
    It’s time there was some compassion for this subject.

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