Ed Davey slams Guardian smears

In a comment on Lib Dem Voice, Ed Davey has quashed the Guardian’s far-fetched reports of Lib Dems joining a Labour government. Ed is Ming’s chief of staff and chair of the party’s Campaigns and Communications committee. The story was mentioned by Stephen this morning, but Ed replied:

For the record, there is no prospect of any Liberal Democrat joining the Brown Government.

Iain Dale has also thrown scepticism on the story, noting that no member of the Grauniad’s political team had wanted to put their name to the article.

Update: The Daily Mail’s Ben Brogan suggests that the story was passed to The Grauniad’s editor by no less then Paddy Ashdown. Whatever the origins of the story, Brogan’s analysis seems bizarre. He imagines the Lib Dems are “tanking” in the polls and therefore no threat to Brown. He must be right on Brown’s contempt for us, though. Brown, a centralising, authoritarian control freak, ought to hate a liberal party.

Update 2: Over at PB.com, Mike Smithson ponders that a Lib Dem peer, not MP, is being considered (e.g: Ashdown himself). Ed’s denial on this site seems to preclude that, and you would never imagine that Paddy would have considered betraying us in that way, even for a second.

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  • Hywel Morgan 20th Jun '07 - 2:28pm

    But Ed doesn’t quash the bulk of the story by that statement.

    In any case past experience suggests being highly suspicious of statements by party leaders on this area. See what Paddy said compared to hie real intentions in the Ashdown Diaries Vol 2

    According to those diaries the links with Labour strategy was overseen by the “Jo Group” of which Ming was a member. Though it isn’t clear just how much even this group of close advisors knew what Paddy was really doing and Paddy doesn’t mention Ming as saying much on the matter one way or the other – as opposed to other MPs who were clearly very in the loop.

  • On what basis do you say Rennie is a lightweight the fact that he was elected in arguably one of the most sensational by-election results since Orpington would suggest otherwise.

  • Hywel Morgan 20th Jun '07 - 5:12pm

    Check the posting from Ed Chris. The phrase is Liberal Democrat.

    I have no idea where you get the idea that Ming was Labour before he was Liberal from. He joined the Liberal Club at University (when he would have been 21ish), fought elections as a Liberal in 1974 and chose to fight East Fife in 1976 when we were in 4th place and not exactly in great national shape!

  • Hywel Morgan 20th Jun '07 - 10:02pm

    “and you would never imagine that Paddy would have considered betraying us in that way, even for a second.”

    Have you read his diaries? (Sun 4th Oct 1998 is not a bad start!) – he was planning to go way beyond having a few Lib Dems in the cabinet.

  • And hasn’t Paddy supported the Iraq war? Maybe Brown would bring him in as a special advisor to deal with that situation?

  • I thought this week it was “Take Your Daughters to Work Day”. It turns out that Gordon was a little confused and thought it was “Take Your Elderly Lib Dem Grandparents to Work Day”.

    Perhaps it would be handy for a few Lib Dems to get some work experience of being a cabinet minister for a morning. Perhaps people might finally start to imagine that a Lib Dem could be capable of being in government.

    I just know that when my teenage daughter comes into my work I’m not going to let her do anything too serious without close supervision. And I know that when its all over we’ll be back to slamming doors and sulking. hmmmm.

  • Actually,..I think the guardian has got it about right in today’s leader..

    “For a party that likes to preach the virtues of consensus and cooperation, Liberal Democrats can be a prickly bunch. In the last couple of months the party has said no to coalition deals in Wales and Scotland, to running a joint candidate with the Tories in next year’s London election and – this week – to Gordon Brown’s tentative suggestion that Liberal Democrats might like to work with his government.”

    Quite – we may overplaying our hand..by being the party that sounds arrogant and always says ‘no’ – all puritan and exclusive brethren- anyone remember David Owen?

  • I find it bizarre that, having been recently the party accused of doing anything to get into government, we’re now accused of not being serious about it.

    Just because we’re in favour of PR doesn’t mean we always have to go into government. It means we believe that coalitions should happen, not that we always have to be part of them.

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