Wera Hobhouse sets out her plans for a progressive alliance

Wera Hobhouse has set out her plan for a progressive alliance on her website.

She wrote:

If elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, I would start working with Keir Starmer and the Green Party leadership from day one. We cannot wait to think and talk about it in 2024 when an election is imminent. Trust must be restored after a decade in which the progressive parties aimed far too much fire at each other, to the sole benefit of the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats will always be distinct from Labour. Many of us are suspicious of the Labour Party’s extreme left, and we reject the Labour party’s tendency to centralise power in Westminster. We are the champions of local government after all.

For the same evidence-based reasons that we are opposed to Tory dogma on marketisation, we do not accept Labour’s dogmatic celebration of the state – we believe that markets and enterprise can be the source of creative solutions to difficult problems.

However, there can be no denying our common goals: The fight for climate action. A massive house building programme of social homes led by the state. A renaissance of our welfare state.

How would this work in practice?

On a national level, a progressive alliance has to be built to achieve these goals.

On a local level, the Liberal Democrats will fight local elections with full vigour in every area of the country. We are the champions of local democracy and local activism. We should be just as determined to displace complacent Labour councils as Conservative ones.

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51 Comments

  • Simon McGrath 7th Jun '20 - 9:49am

    Its great that Wera is addressing one of the main criticisms of her platform. But goodness there are an awful lot of “ums “and “ers” and ‘you knows’ in this video.

  • The analysis underlying this is pretty sound, in my view. Under the present voting system we are fighting for scraps without some kind of arrangement. But where does this lead long term ? If the strategy is to help labour into power, but at the insistence of electoral reform, then that works, but any other outcome leads towards some kind of merger with labour. Let’s call it a “realignment of the left”. I agree with Wera, we do not share Labour’s “dogmatic celebration of the state”, but then neither did the Uber Blairites. There is common ground and it needs exploring.
    Having said all that, I am not convinced, yet, that Wera is the person to sell this vision to the masses.

  • A lot of words but what do they boil down to? Help Labour to win in most circumstances. If that is the aim then it would be more efficient to merge the parties.

    I judge that merging would not be be welcome by people here, which brings us to what is different between Lib Dems and Labour? Are these differences clear and known to the voters? Are they important enough to maintain separate parties?

    The issues go deeper than just an election strategy.

  • Richard Malim 7th Jun '20 - 11:21am

    I believe that the way back to 1910 power is to start repairing the base by forming alliances in Local Government to defeat Tory Councils. If Labour local bosses won’t talk, start campaigning in their wards, where so many have a nil LD presence now. Coalition Councils will give National Leaders experience of governing, and lead to selection of coalition candidates, and then bargaining over which constituency should be the run for the coalition Lab or LD antiCon candidate. Never give up on challenging the extreme Corbynite Left: any accommodation with them immediately brings out the democratic vote on the Con side, including your own LD base and Labour democrats (see GE 2019)

  • I agree that a progressive alliance, however unpalatable it may be to some, is a necessity for the next election.

    We must NEVER again be in the position of seeing a hard right/populist government being “elected” on a minority of the vote. With the upcoming Boundary Changes, the Tories will be doing their best to massage things in their favour. We would have less seats, notionally, for starters.

    The way I see it, this Progressive Alliance would be for one election only. It is the only way to get electoral reform and change our politics for the better.
    If Labour do win the next election outright, we are unlikely to get that change, as I cannot see them going for electoral form if left to their own devices..

    Once we have political and electoral reform, the PA will have done its job and the parties can go their separate ways for future elections, knowing that the support they get will be much more accurately reflected in the makeup of our Parliament.

    We need an end to our damaging polarised politics.. this is probably the only way to do it.

  • Peter Martin 7th Jun '20 - 11:45am

    “How would this work in practice?”

    Possibly OK. It’s worth a try.

    Electorally, I don’t think there would be any difficulty with most Labour supporters voting Lib Dem if the Labour party stood aside in the interests of the “progressive alliance.”

    But, in the last year or so, I’ve discovered that many Lib Dem supporters are much more right wing than I had previously thought. The Tory Party is likely to be their second choice. If the Labour Party couldn’t rely on a good measure of reciprocal support then this would NOT work in practice.

  • Barry Lofty 7th Jun '20 - 12:08pm

    I could not see myself voting for either the Tories or Labour as things stand but am quite willing to believe that there are people in both parties with whom I could agree and support, that would be common sense politics, not likely to happen in what s left of my life unfortunately but one lives in hope!

  • 1. “On a local level, the Liberal Democrats will fight local elections with full vigour in every area of the country”.

    Does this mean no more ‘flying the flag’ playing at from a sedentary position on a couch in local government by-elections, or is it just wishful thinking ?

    Come to think of it, has the Party done any serious research on the later outcomes in those areas after 2017 where Lib Dems ‘flew the flag’, (i.e. putting up a paper candidate who did nothing).What came next in 2019 or was it simply a pointless self indulgent (lack of) exercise at the time ?

    If the party is ever to be taken seriously again it has to be serious….. not only in what it says but in what it does. There’s a huge credibility gap.

    2. Rochdale and Lib-Lab relations ? Not difficult to understand knowing what we all know now.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Jun '20 - 12:29pm

    Negotiations again?
    Prime Minister designate?
    I could vote for Caroline Lucas as a coalition MP, if living in Brighton, but a solid commitment to early regional government is needed, as Charles Kennedy proposed, with, of course, the best electoral system in the new region/s, because it is easiest to install a different system in a new body.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Jun '20 - 12:36pm

    Head-hunting candidates as Jo Grimond did, could work, but not for the leadership who need to be able to show a track record to one of the parties in the proposed coalition.
    Please approach the APNI, who have lots of talented people.

  • Paul Barker 7th Jun '20 - 12:49pm

    I am all in favour of talking to The Greens in England & Wales but is there any evidence of significant support in Labour for a Genuine Accomodation with us ?

    Lets remember just how much we are asking Labour Labour to give up; we are asking them to abandon The Idea of ever having a (Pure) Labour Government again.

  • Aithough cautious I believe that something along this line is worth trying. Its just a thought -could we try an approach in local by-elections.

  • Says it all really, remain me who has been interim leader!

    Opinium CON: 43% (-) LAB: 40% (+1) LD: 6% (-) SNP: 5% (-) GRN: 3% (-)

    Survation, CON 41% (-4) LAB 39% (+5) LD 7% (-1) GRN 4% (-) SNP 4% (-) BXP 1% (+1)

    Deltapoll CON 41% (-2) LAB 38% (-) LD 8% (-) OTH 13% (+2)

  • @ Paul Barker You say, “I am all in favour of talking to The Greens in England & Wales”.

    1. What’s wrong with the Greens in Scotland, Paul ? Does your political consciousness only stretch as far as Longtown and Berwick ?

    The Scottish Greens have six very talented MSP’s – because of PR at Holyrood – (the Lib Dems just five) and the’re adopting the sort of policy positions the Lib Dems would do if they were a bit more radical. They actually campaigned on the Alston Report….. which the Lib Dems didn’t.

    2. “Abandon the Idea of ever having a (Pure) Labour Government again”…….

    Scotland comes into the equation again, Paul. As recently as Blair’s landslide, Labour had 56 MP’s in Scotland, now they’ve just one…… they’ll never form another ‘pure’ Labour government without Scotland……. which is why Keir Starmer supports PR….. If Scotland gets full sovereignty (Independence for those Down South) you and he will need it.

  • Ultimately the Westminster electoral system is a Labour Party problem. Lib Dems and Greens know what they want to do with it. It is difficult to interpret the Labour Party from the outside – although some of us see the same problems at both ends of their spectrum. I’ve no idea what it would cost Starmer to invite conversations about the future but it would inevitably have to come from him. I thought the disciplined co-operation of opposition parties at the end of the last Parliament was impressive – pity it didn’t continue but people opted for an election. That co-operation, of course, included Corbyn’s Labour Party! Pre-election conversation is something else. It could conceivably happen if someone or something outside the parties provided the stimulus.

  • Tony Greaves 7th Jun '20 - 3:36pm

    Seems to be a lot of people with a death wish here.

  • Laurence Cox 7th Jun '20 - 4:06pm

    @David Raw

    The Scottish Greens are an independence-supporting Party. How do you suppose that a Party like the Lib Dems that is committed to the Union could work with them? The Scottish Greens are the natural bedfellows of the SNP.

  • John Littler 7th Jun '20 - 4:38pm

    The LibDems are in a hole electorally and in terms of policy, leadership and direction.
    This is Jim Smith’s post which is the only way forward in terms of tactics:

    I agree that a progressive alliance, however unpalatable it may be to some, is a necessity for the next election.

    We must NEVER again be in the position of seeing a hard right/populist government being “elected” on a minority of the vote. With the upcoming Boundary Changes, the Tories will be doing their best to massage things in their favour. We would have less seats, notionally, for starters.

    The way I see it, this Progressive Alliance would be for one election only. It is the only way to get electoral reform and change our politics for the better.
    If Labour do win the next election outright, we are unlikely to get that change, as I cannot see them going for electoral form if left to their own devices..

    Once we have political and electoral reform, the PA will have done its job and the parties can go their separate ways for future elections, knowing that the support they get will be much more accurately reflected in the makeup of our Parliament.

    We need an end to our damaging polarised politics.. this is probably the only way to do it.

  • David Raw @ 2.38pm: “ … they’ll never form another ‘pure’ Labour government without Scotland…… which is why Keir Starmer supports PR….. If Scotland gets full sovereignty (Independence…) you and he will need it”.
    Indeed! That’s also most likely to be the case anytime in the foreseeable future, regardless of Scotland’s constitutional future, given the (likely continued) preponderance of SNP MPs. If Keir Starmer wants to put together a Labour-led coalition following the next GE, he will therefore most probably need SNP and/or Lib Dem support … and whatever other differences we may have with the SNP, we do share some common ground with them, including support for PR.

    Geoff Reid:
    “ … [to invite] conversations about the future .. would inevitably have to come from [Keir Starmer]…”
    Given the likely electoral arithmetic (see above), surely such conversations are inevitable at some point?
    “Pre-election conversation … could conceivably happen if someone or something outside the parties provided the stimulus.”
    Interesting thought – have you anything in particular in mind?

    Tony Greaves: “Seems to be a lot of people with a death wish here.”
    Perhaps you could elaborate on that observation?

  • John Littler 7th Jun '20 - 5:00pm

    A Progressive Alliance including Labour is the only show in town, otherwise what is the point. The coalition had it’s successes but was painted as a disaster by pretty much all sides of the media and the public bought that. The opinion polls in 2010 went down and down and have never really recovered for long since.

    The LibDems had been attracting left wing support from people who didn’t much like New Labour and to see us going in with the Tories was immediately too much to bear. That plus the Mail and Telegraph and Guardian putting the boot in constantly was too much to withstand. We would be insane to repeat that if we even ever get the chance now.

    One more heave won’t do it. Waiting for another hung parliament could be a very long wait and in any case is a trap under FPTP and with our media, as cannot be sustained. The public did not get used to the one sided duopoly last time and the next possible coalition undet the present system is just too risky. We need PR and large numbers of LibDems

  • Sean Hagan. Scottish devolution came about because various bodies – trade unions, churches etc. Joined with some political parties to do the spadework over a number of years. A useful model – constitutional change is more sustainable if it is more than inter- party negotiations.

  • @ Laurence Cox “The Scottish Greens are an independence-supporting Party.” Shock !! Horror !! How terrible. Yes, I know that, Laurence….and the Scottish Lib Dems are tying themselves up in knots saying they want to be in the EU……. yet opposing the only way they’re going to get it.

    So far as it goes, Scotland has a reasonably well led competent government (elected under PR) – which is more than can be said for Johnson’s rag tag and bobtail set up in Westminster. The 90 minute queue to vote sums it up compared to Holyrood with push button voting……. and there’s me thinking liberalism was a philosophy and value system capable of being applied regardless of any particular border administered in London SW1.

    @ Tony, the only death wish I’ve observed in recent years was the adoption of neo-liberalism and a recourse to austerity by those running things post 2007, most of whom have now scarpered off to pastures new and left a vacuum behind.

  • Paul Barker 7th Jun '20 - 5:49pm

    Is Starmer in favour of Electoral Reform ? When did he say that & in what context ?

    Labour is a lot more than its Leader, if we are to have fruitful talks with them then we need to include Backbenchers & The Unions.

  • @ Paul Barker “Is (Sir Keir) Starmer in favour of Electoral Reform ? When did he say that & in what context ?”. Wakey, wakey, Paul. Look this up. He’s not lying a flag..

    http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk › Press Releases
    Keir Starmer announces support for constitutional convention and proportional representation. Posted on the 31st January 2020.

    @ Joe Bourke “with much in common with what was dubbed New Labour at the time (now the Blairite wing) “.

    No, no, no, Joseph. The PFI programme, the Iraq War, sucking up to Bush, privatisation of the probation system etc., etc., were all disasters. Blair was Thatcher’s child.

  • @ Martin: “ … what would ‘a progressive alliance’ mean in practice, and how would it further the cause of Liberalism?”
    I broadly agree with the approach outlined by Jim Smith in his comment at 11.31am above – i.e. it would need to be a cross-party electoral pact or arrangement, involving Labour and others, for one General Election only, in order to achieve a specific and clearly defined purpose, namely the enactment of an agreed programme of electoral and political reform. If – and, admittedly, it’s a big if – such a progressive alliance could secure that major advance, it would obviously greatly “further the cause of Liberalism” and of progressive pluralist democracy more generally.
    Having said that, judging from the content of Wera’s video presentation on this subject, she needs to do quite a lot more work to refine her case and hone her arguments if she is to stand any chance of getting “cut through” in this Lib Dem leadership election.

  • Peter Martin 8th Jun '20 - 8:37am

    @ Martin,

    You might like to take a look at your own voter base if you’re interested on not being too right wing.

    Some questions for you to consider: Have the Lib Dems become the pro-EU party of the right? Why aren’t you picking up more votes from those in the lower socio economic groupings rather than just those in groups A and B?

    Why are your English strongholds in Twickenham and Richmond, rather than Tottenham and Rotherham?

  • David Garlick 8th Jun '20 - 2:54pm

    Lovely idea which will perish on the practicalities and prejudices that are pretty much set in stone. Wera needs to rethink the approach.
    Not a good start to any campaign she might launch.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jun '20 - 3:36pm

    What is meant by “progressive”? Back in the 1960s, it was seen as inevitable that society would become more socialist and more equal, so “progressive” meant that. Opposition to progressive was conservative in the meaning of being cautious about changing things as doing it too quickly could cause problems.

    But it’s now been over 40 years since politics all changed. Socialism was seen as not working, with the collapse of the Communist countries showing that. It was the Conservative Party that stopped being conservative and started being the party of change. So, “progression” in terms of how society is changing can be seen as pushing it more towards an extreme free market form. Until 1979, our country was becoming more equal in terms of wealth and opportunity, but after that it has become progressively less equal.

    What is mean by “left” and “right”? Among ordinary people there has been a collapse in seeing politics like that. The collapse of the strength of trade unions and Labour being their party means that many ordinary people now see it as a party of intellectual elite types wanting it to be the party that puts them in control.

    By supporting Brexit and stating this would “return control to our country”, the Conservatives managed to get the support of many ordinary people who want left-wing politics, although the way the word “left” is used these days, they might not think of it like that. I.e. people are unhappy about the way our country has developed, become more unequal, with control shifting from democratic government to international billionaires. So voting Conservative to support Brexit was seen as the way to reverse that.

    Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats dismissing those who thought this way by using a rude word to describe them, and showing no understanding of why they went that way, are now seen by many ordinary people as the party of the true right. With the Conservatives as the party of the left in terms of wanting to reverse what has happened since 1979, and Labour as the party of the centre being somewhere in between.

    I.e. our party now for more than a decade has been run by leaders who have wrecked it by doing nothing to stop this way of thinking growing.

  • Peter Hirst 8th Jun '20 - 3:50pm

    We need PR to survive as a political force. This must be part of any PA. Combating climate change, less inequality and weakening Brexit are also policies most could agree on. PR is essential however and I’d be prepared to compromise on the others as long as they were improvements on the present.

  • @ Matthew Huntbach…. Yes, spot on. Stuck in the mushy slightly right of middle, and where’s the next charismatic capable radical Leader coming from ?

  • Political tectonic plates are rapidly shifting – with voters changing allegiance that provides opportunity for parties to attract all kinds of voters in unlikely places. With the boundaries of “left” and “right” changing as Matthew rightly describes it surely is futility to try and position yourself against someone else’s changing position. ‘Not as left wing as Labour’ is where exactly, and how does that attract voters who need to be won back from the Tories?

    The LibDem challenge is relevance. What is the party about at the strategic level? What does it offer to the majority of people who have no firm political allegiance? Its not about positioning between two other parties, its about vision and belief. People here on Teesside voted Tory because they believed in Brexit. Thats in the past now, so the previous Bollocks to/Stop Brexit position is old news. What is the new vision for post-pandemic Britain?

  • marcstevens 8th Jun '20 - 4:42pm

    Peter Martin I agree with much of what you say on the direction of this party. There was even one member on here saying recently that the Lib Dems should only appeal to a very narrow platform of middle class voters, hardly representative of the population at large. Charles Kennedy was even going to set up a centre left liberal party but sadly passed away before it came to fruition. I would quite happily have joined it; there must be other people like me utterly disillusioned at the current state of the party. A lot of us on the social liberal wing are out on a limb here where so many members queue up to defend policies like the bedroom tax, abolition of the AWB, Sure Start, decimation of the Careers Service etc. The 400 plus of us who signed a letter calling for Nick Clegg to resign did not get anywhere, backed as he was by the party hierarchy. Fortunately I take some comfort from the fact that he and most of the Orange Booker MPs like Laws, Brown, Alexander etc lost their seats. I can but hope that one of the two front running women becomes the next Leader as the current temporary leader espouses free markets and more privatisation and symbolises the worst excesses of austerity the coalition stood for.

  • Anthony Acton 10th Jun '20 - 4:33pm

    Now Brexit is done the only way the LibDems are going to get any traction with the electorate (over and above not being either of the others) is to identify the party with ONE particular policy. Paddy Ashdown majored on education and soon had the party polling as best of the three on that policy area. It does of course have to be a policy area (like education or housing for example) which is a real issue in the minds of the voters, unlike say constitutional reform which is not.

  • I have been a member for nearly 40 years including standing unsuccessfully as a candidate at all levels of government in Scotland in the 80’s and 90’s. I offer the following observations on the way forward. Firstly, the aim of any political party should be to gain power in order to implement its policies. Secondly, we should stop identifying ourselves as either anti Labour or anti Tory.To do so antagonises large number of people who we need to join us to build up a meaningful core support. Instead we should devote our efforts to establishing distinctive Liberal Democrat policies. We should also recognise that for the recognisable future coalition politics is the only way forward for us as a party. That requires a more conciliatory and cooperative approach and an end to the current adversarial dare I say macho approach. To put it another way, fewer red lines and more emphasis on direction of travel where it is clear to others where our policies are leading to. In the event of obtaining a genuinely proportional electoral system; my only red line by the way; coalition government becomes the norm and we should be emphasising this at every opportunity.BTW I was drafting the above comments before reading Marcstevens above with whose views I totally disagree

  • David Raw, above, describes the party as “Stuck in the mushy slightly right of middle”. Which, as I understand it, describes the politics of the majority of people in England, if not the rest of Britain. It ought to be a good place to be.

    Perhaps rather than worry about the position, it would be better to look at why the position isn’t working. Does the party communicate this position well enough? Perhaps if it exuded a bit more quiet competence and a little less hysterical shrieking about a few fringe issues then it would do better overall.

  • @ Dan Martin, “Perhaps if it exuded a bit more quiet competence and a little less hysterical shrieking about a few fringe issues then it would do better overall”. That would certainly be a bit of improvement, Dan.

    And maybe that’s why Scotland seems to be heading off in a different direction. The Downing Street Press Conference also epitomise it…..a string of very second rate Cabinet Ministers nobody has ever heard of – (where’s Boris when we don’t need him ?) – “straining every sinew”, and, “keeping it under review”…….. and ten million people in a queue waiting for NHS attention.

  • marcstevens 10th Jun '20 - 7:32pm

    Well I totally disagree with yours as well. If you look at the facts, coaltion with the tories virtually destroyed the party and that’s why the DUP didn’t exactly enter into one. The MPs who so vigorously championed those policies above more enthusiastically than the tories lost their seats so how the electorate voted speaks volumes.

  • I don’t,Marcstevens, defend every decision taken by the Coalition but I do think we did the right thing to join not just in the perceived national interest at the time but as the only feasible means of getting some of our policies implemented. Ironically and arguably, we only got this opportunity as a result of our misguided policy based on sentimental and populist reasons to make the pledge on tuition fees. On top of that we were outmanoeuvred by the Tories to accept their proposal that AV was a suitable alternative for the referendum electoral reform. Rightly in my opinion, the voters saw no significant difference to what we had already. In the subsequent election based on first pass the post we were between a rock and a hard place and suffered the inevitable consequences.
    We will never know of course what outcome will have occurred under an STV system.
    As to for example the bedroom tax saga, a classic case of adversarial politics getting in the way of necessary reform. There were different rules for private and public housing tenants which made no sense but neither did a policy of stopping money from one group who had no way of making up the shortfall apart from moving to a lower rented property. At least we learned from our mistakes and were quick off the mark with our attack on the dementia tax. It is just a great pity that the social security bill remains so grossly inflated

  • James Fowler 12th Jun '20 - 10:35pm

    Good for Wera for putting her flag firmly in the ground, but she certainly won’t get my vote. Labour isn’t ready, doesn’t want and doesn’t really need an alliance, even assuming we are and do. Starmer’s job is to get back some of those northern semi-urban seats lost last time and to hang on to everything else he’s got. What role the LDs might play in that God knows. Ideologically the ‘Red wall’ profile is generally highly socially conservative and instrumentally we’re largely irrelevant – too few votes. Our job is to hold our own ‘dirty dozen’ and take a few more relatively wealthy socially liberal seats – mostly down south. If turfing Boris out is the objective then we and Labour need to face in quite different directions on social issues. We might tacitly imply that we could probably do more business with Starmer than Johnson, but nothing more than that.

  • marcstevens: The DUP didn’t enter into a coalition because it didn’t need to. Neither the DUP nor its supporters give a Castlemaine about what happens outside their own backyard (the DUP doesn’t even stand anywhere else), so the DUP had no interest whatever in getting into government. Its Parliamentary votes were there to be bought, in exchange for a bung, and for that there was no reason to have a seat in the Cabinet.
    So comparisons between our experience with the Tories and that of the DUP are invalid. It’s apples & oranges. That’s not to say there weren’t major mistakes made in coalition — there were, it’s just that the DUP is irrelevant.

  • Jane Ann Liston 13th Jun '20 - 12:21am

    It seems somehow appropriate to equate the DUP with oranges!

  • Peter Martin 13th Jun '20 - 3:32am

    @ Alex,

    “the DUP doesn’t even stand anywhere else”

    They don’t. Neither does the SDLP or Alliance Party. For essentially the same reason the Lib Dems don’t stand candidates outside Gt Britain.

    Neither the DUP nor its supporters give a Castlemaine about what happens outside their own backyard

    I would say the average person in Northern Ireland has a much better understanding of what goes on in GB than the other way around. They are quite justified in thinking that most people on the mainland, including Lib Dem supporters, don’t much care what happens even inside their own backyard.

    @ Julie,

    Good point about the oranges!

  • Peter Martin 13th Jun '20 - 3:34am

    Sorry I meant @ Jane !

  • Daniel Walker 13th Jun '20 - 7:22am

    @Peter Martin “They don’t. Neither does the SDLP or Alliance Party. For essentially the same reason the Lib Dems don’t stand candidates outside Gt Britain.

    Different situations. The SDLP and Alliance parties have a more-or-less official alliance with Labour and the LibDems – in the case of the Alliance, both APNI and LD parties permit dual membership. The DUP has no such agreement with GB parties. (The UUP used to, but not currently; The Tories stand candidates in NI.)

  • Peter Martin 13th Jun '20 - 10:28am

    @ Daniel,

    I don’t know quite how it works with the Lib Dems and Alliance but there’s no official alliance between Labour and the SDLP. Up until 1987 there was a Northern Irish Labour Party. The problem for any party operating in Northern Ireland is that they have to have a policy on the border. If its one way or the other they’ll lose half their support base and at the same time cause problems for the wider UK based party. It’s easier to just keep out of it, as much as possible, and leave it to the local parties. One way or another that’s what has happened with all three major UK parties.

    So I wouldn’t want to criticise any of the Northern Irish parties or any GB parties for not wanting to formalise relationships. It took a court case to allow NI residents to be accepted as members of the Labour Party. The current party policy is not to support any member wanting to stand for election under the Labour name in NI. Although some members have recently done their own thing.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Party_in_Northern_Ireland

  • Richard Underhill 13th Jun '20 - 11:27am

    NewsHound | Sun 7th June 2020 – 9:07 am
    Please have a look at the photographs in Paddy Ashdown’s memoirs, he is chatting up Tony Blair when John Major turns up. Paddy did not get a seat in Tony Blair’s cabinet. At the time he denied wanting one, offering Ming Campbell as an alternative, an exceptionally able Scottish barrister.
    Paddy’s policy was to vote with Labour where we agreed with them and against where we did not, which we might wish to repeat in the future if Labour are in government without us. In 2015 he wanted a coalition with Labour and told a Guardian-Observer fringe meeting at federal conference how he had telephoned Tony Blair, but got Cherie, who passed on a message about Gordon Brown, to which Tony Blair said “Leave it to me”.
    Gordon Brown resigned as PM. In the absence of an alternative Labour leader a coalition with the Tories was inevitable and mathematically secure.
    It seemed to me that we could not do a deal with Gordon Brown and could not do a deal without him. At the first Queen’s Speech a vote of confidence would have needed all the Labour MPs to be loyal (!!) plus the support of all the Social Democrat and Labour MPs and maybe one Green, although the Greens had been carving large numbers of votes from Labour in seats won by Tories and by Labour.
    I was working in a target seat in Kent, the last one to maintain its status, finishing second.
    There was also the experience of the Progressive Democrats in Ireland, needing two cabinet members in coalition with Charles Haughey’s Fianna Fail.
    There WAS consultation with other Liberal parties about experiences in coalition, generally the smaller party suffers in the following general election, which the PDs did.

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  • User AvatarJohn Littler 10th Jul - 6:20pm
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  • User AvatarJLittler 10th Jul - 6:06pm
    When Clegg took the big FB job, he was perfectly entitled to do the best for him and his family and it was not up...