“If you consider yourself to be a liberal person then there is only one party in Britain left for you”

Nick Clegg’s former speech writer Phil Reilly writes for The Independent:

As we waited for the Sheffield Hallam result, all of a sudden a huge roar went round the room. The BBC had just confirmed one of the big scalps of the night – Vince Cable had been defeated in Twickenham.

But he hadn’t been beaten by the Labour candidate. These Labour footsoldiers were cheering like a football crowd at the most left-wing member of the government, a man who fought the Conservatives every day in coalition, losing his seat to a Conservative.

They were cheering a result which signalled that the Tories were on course for a majority when a few hours earlier it still looked possible that Ed Miliband could be Prime Minister…

I understand tribalism. I’m a lifelong Lib Dem and West Ham United fan. I was almost literally born on to the campaign trail. My dad was a Liberal-SDP alliance candidate in Newham in 1983, when I was just a few months old, and I spent the election campaign being pushed around the tower blocks of East London in my buggy.

Maybe that is why I have always believed that the cause of liberalism is best served with a distinctive liberal party championing it.

I get that some people believe they can make Britain more liberal by trying to shift one of the two big parties from the inside. I respect that belief. After all, until 2010 they were the only two parties that could form a government.

But I believe the events of this summer should have settled the question. There is only one liberal party in Britain today – the Liberal Democrats – and Britain needs a liberal voice, right here, right now.

You can join the Liberal Democrats here.


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