political

Cable: anti-Corbyn Labour MPs and Lib Dems should work together

Vince Cable. Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/bisgovuk/4668788281/ - some rights reserved

The Liberal Democrats and Labour MPs opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership will have to “work together” to create an “effective opposition” to the Government, Sir Vince Cable has said.

In some of the strongest indicators yet that a form of ‘Lib-Lab pact’ could be achieved, the former Liberal Democrat Business Secretary said he was already “happily engaged” with people in the Labour party “trying to create common ground”…

He said that “practical cooperation” with elements of the Labour party was possible and that the issue would come to the fore in the wake of the EU referendum campaign. [The Independent]

The reference to the European referendum is notable because it was cross-party cooperation on the pro-European side the last referendum on the issue back in the 1970s which helped pave the way to the creation of the SDP and subsequent Alliance with the Liberal Party.

Possibilities of co-operation between Labour and the Liberal Democrats is something I will look at in more detail in the next edition of Liberal Democrat Newswire, out on Tuesday. You can sign up for it here:

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20 comments
Alex Hegenbarth
Alex Hegenbarth

The only reason this is being contemplated is because both parties were thumped during the election - if Labour were in power now they wouldn't give this a second thought. We shouldn't be looking for quick-fixes out of desperation but concentrate on rebuilding our own, distinctive voice so then we can regain our position as one of the leading forces in British politics.

George Bingham Davis
George Bingham Davis

Surely there should be a respectable distance per say between the parties, but a united front against the tories? If that makes sense....

Chris Thomas
Chris Thomas

I agree with Vince but practically I can't see it working.

Sue Sutherland
Sue Sutherland

Will this be discussed at the Spring Conference? Shouldn't the members decide whether we want closer alliance with Labour Blairites? I am still hoping that we are going to become a consultative party and that doesn't mean just telling the members what has been decided.

MarkPack
MarkPack moderator

@Sue Sutherland Nothing has been decided - this is Vince Cable expressing his own personal views, just as any party member should be free to I would have thought. Part of being a democratic party in a meaningful way surely means members talking about their own views and being free to try to persuade others to agree with them?

Sue Sutherland
Sue Sutherland

Vince says he is happily engaged trying to find common ground with people in the Labour Party so it looked to me as if he was already taking steps without the party being consulted first. I agree that members are free to persuade others to agree with them but this looks like early negotiations with another party which is a completely different situation. IMO we have an opportunity now to change the way the party operates to reflect our Liberal values while we are in the doldrums of parliamentary politics. If we miss that opportunity now I fear it will be gone for ever.

Sue Sutherland
Sue Sutherland

This is about trying to engage with Labour Party members, surely a totally different situation from expressing a personal view within our party? Also Vince being one of our leading members it looks as if he is acting on behalf of the party.

Jayne Phoenix
Jayne Phoenix

i wondered how long it would be before someone from high office came out with this. It does pain me to think of it, but I agree that when it comes to numbers of votes in the commons, in order to stop the tories we should sing from the same hymn sheet but only where our views are aligned with theirs. Any talk of mergers with their party isn't a path I would want to go down.

Steve Goddard
Steve Goddard

I'd always agree with a general consensus and unified approach from the progressive left but presently i'd keep clear of Labour while they sort themselves out. I think there is much more division and splits to come before they settle and the hard left element may pose problems if consensus is what is required for a united front.

Elizabeth Grant
Elizabeth Grant

I agree with David Quayle and David Pollard. I worry that we are looking like a feral cat finding any home that will feed us. Fighting back does not mean building dubious alliances. There is much about Corbyn I like and always have (grew up in Islington and family there until fairly recently). The disaffected Labour people are essentially Blairites and to the right of their party - that doesn't make them centrist or natural allies to us rather they are hopefully history but have yet to realise this and are in their death throws!

David Quayle
David Quayle

It's time now to forge forward with a clear Liberal Democrat agenda - we're in a rebuilding phase and can't be lumped together with any other party. Cooperate on specific issues, yes but no further

Paul Robert Tighe-Dyer
Paul Robert Tighe-Dyer

I fear if lib-lab happens our liberal voices would be crushed again as it did when the coalition government happened. Can't we just stand as lib dems on our own !

David Pollard
David Pollard

This is a bit too soon. Everything Corbyn has done so far (as distinct from what the papers have said he has done) is in line with LibDem policy. If he swings to the left, then that is the time to move. Until then we need to remember that opposition to the Tories is the priority.

Graham Tapper
Graham Tapper

You mean like the Lib-Lab Pact of the 70s, Vince Cable? Well, that worked well, didn't it?

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