Lib Dems drop hint of future Labour link-up
A Westcountry Liberal Democrat MP has hinted his party is prepared "to work with other parties" in a coalition Government after the next election – paving the way for a tie-up with Labour.
In an interview, Dan Rogerson, Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, raised the prospect of "the same situation as last time" – namely a repeat of the 2010 hung parliament that saw a deal struck with the Conservatives.
Labour currently leads in the polls, but with the next election still more than two years away the opposition would struggle to secure a majority if the deficit was clawed back.
Mr Rogerson's comments came as relations between the Tories and the Lib Dems reached a new low as Lib Dem ministers broke collective responsibility by voting against the Government over re-drawing parliamentary boundaries.
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Meanwhile, David Laws, Lib Dem MP for Yeovil, has begun work on authoring the party's manifesto for the 2015 vote.
Speaking to the BBC's Daily Politics, Mr Rogerson said: "We had a series of things in our manifesto about raising the income tax threshold, and some of these constitutional reform issues that we have been talking about as well.
"We've been doing things to deliver what we have said we meant to do. I am not in politics just to talk about things but to try and get things done, so the only way to get things done is to be in Government so of course we want to stay in Government. Having said that, of course, we are not likely to be in a position of a majority Liberal Democrat Government after this election, so if we are in the same situation as last time, we will have to work with other parties."
Westcountry peer Lord Paddy Ashdown is thought to have initially urged Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to forge a coalition with Labour in 2010, but senior members of the party agreed the numbers did not stack up.
In an interview earlier this week on the Lib Dem manifesto, Mr Laws acknowledged the real prospect of another coalition. "It's quite possible that there still won't be a single party majority after the next general election," he said.
"The public have a generally sceptical view of political promises, unless they can see very clearly how they are going to be paid for.
"The demands on us to have a really rigorous set of manifesto policies with a very clear sense of what our priorities will be, will be greater than ever before."