Labour heavyweights come out against Lib-Lab deal

By staff

Senior Labour figures are saying the party leadership should not do a deal with the Liberal Democrats to stay in government.

Some sort of agreement between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives looked likely yesterday until it emerged that the third party was also talking to Labour, with a new leadership and electoral reform thrown into the deal.

But some Labour heavyweights have said it would be a bad idea for the party to cling on to power, propped up by the Lib Dems and minor parties.

Former home and defence secretary John Reid said any such deal would lack stability and see Labour suffer at the next election.

He told the BBC last night that a Lib/Lab pact would be “disastrously wrong for the country and the Labour party.

“For the country, it’s inherently unstable, and it doesn’t match up from the point of view of the electorate for the two losing parties to cobble together a deal.”

Dr Reid added that the need for support from nationalist parties would mean they demanded England suffered the brunt of spending cuts and added: “From the point of view of the Labour party, if we look as if we are cocking a snook at the electorate when we have lost more MPs than at any time with the exception of 1931. they will wreak revenge on the Labour party.”

Fellow former home secretary David Blunkett also came out against doing a deal with the Lib Dems, whom he accused of behaving “like every harlot in history”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Blunkett said: “We would have to put together virtually all those who were elected in opposition, many of whom had less votes and less support than they had in 2005.

“We can have campaigns in the real world of political activity out here where people live and not lose the support of people who do want politicians to hear what they say to us and if we continue not listening then we will lose very badly at any subsequent general election.

“And that would be even worse than a situation where we have a temporary minority government in which we check what they do whilst acting responsibly in the interests of the nation.”

Sitting Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Tom Harris have also argued against any such deal.

Mr Harris, MP for Glasgow south and a former transport minister said on his blog: “The word “progressive” has now been redefined as “willing to barter away everything you campaigned for in return for the chance to be in government, albeit at the beck and call of a party that has spent its entire existence trying to wipe you off the political map.”