Lib Dem MP calls for “moderate Labour” to break away or work with Lib Dems

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael says,

Decades ago my predecessor as MP for Orkney and Shetland, Jo Grimond, spoke about political realignment. It has been a long time coming. There have been many false dawns but finally that moment has arrived. Jeremy Corbyn has rendered Labour an historical curiosity. Will Labour moderates seize the moment?

Liberal Democrats, Greens, the Women’s Equality Party and others who wanted a progressive modern Britain without attaching themselves to any individual party took the first tentative steps in the Richmond Park by-election – and to some effect. Now we need moderate mainstream Labour politicians to do their part, by breaking away completely or working with us informally.

Will they work with Liberal Democrats to maintain the most vital aspects of our relationship with Europe, notably our membership of the single market? Will they recognise that we need a successful economy to give our underfunded schools and hospitals the investment they need? And will they abandon the class-based, divisive politics of yesterday to represent all of Britain?

There are many moderate Labour figures who share our vision of a positive alternative to this divisive Brexit government. They also want to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

The stakes have never been higher. Our United Kingdom may rely on it. Surely that must be more important than tribal party loyalties that are already dead, and may soon be buried?

The reference to “or working with us informally” is a wise one because the lesson from past attempts at realignment is that formal deals are rarely as effective as a broader range of less formal but more potent co-operation.

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