Tag Archives: post-election pacts

The consequences of ruling out post-election deals

Back when the election was called, ruling out post-election deals with any other party seemed wise. The Tories were set to win a convincing majority, so we could promise tactical voters there would be no unforeseen consequences of a Lib Dem vote, safe in the knowledge that a hung parliament would not arise. What happened next is well documented; the Conservatives lost their majority and now have to rely on a confidence and supply deal with the DUP in order to remain in government.

This week we have seen the full extent of the DUP’s newfound power, as they hold Theresa May to ransom over her handling of Brexit negotiations. But could that, and perhaps should that, be us? At the very least, the parliamentary arithmetic adds up. Instead of being considered by many as an irrelevance, right now the Liberal Democrats could be the ones causing the government a headache; demanding membership of the single market and customs union, even potentially a referendum on the final deal, in return for our support. The extent to our influence would not be limited to Brexit, but would also include issues such as NHS funding, housing supply and public sector pay. Whilst it could be argued that the Conservatives would never agree to our demands, in truth we can never know, as we refused to even negotiate. Instead we left the Tories with the option of a deal with the DUP, a party so unpalatable that even backbench Tory MPs were horrified at the thought. When they’re not rallying against abortion or same-sex marriage the DUP are pressing for a version of Brexit so extreme that it puts the peace and prosperity of Northern Ireland at risk. It seems hard to argue that a Conservative/Lib Dem deal could have served the country’s interests much worse.

Posted in News | 79 Comments
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