Unite tries to stoke Lib Dem rebellion

Charles Kennedy argues with Nick Clegg on the campaign trail. The former leader couldn't support the coalition agreement.
Charles Kennedy argues with Nick Clegg on the campaign trail. The former leader couldn't support the coalition agreement.

By Ian Dunt

Unite has called on Liberal Democrats with "a social conscience" to tear up their membership cards in protest at the coalition's cuts agenda.

The union, which is still embroiled in a bitter and protracted industrial dispute with British Airways, said the Conservatives were relying on the Lib Dems to give their regressive economic agenda legitimacy.

Joint leader Derek Simpson said: "Under the ConDems, working people will suffer the most, no matter what Nick Clegg says about the cuts being progressive.


"Liberal Democrat members with a social conscience should tear up their membership cards and join Labour to save the shame of being associated with this ruthless right-wing agenda.

"The public did not vote for early and deep public spending cuts, as both Labour and the Lib Dems in the general election campaign opposed severe and immediate austerity measures, warning that the consequence may be a double-dip recession."

It is the latest salvo from the unions in the build up to the emergency Budget next Tuesday, which will finally lay out detailed plans for cuts and possible tax rises.

Public sector groups, unions and Labour have all fired off against the government agenda.

On the government side, minister after minister has emerged to say that things are worse than previously thought, in a carefully coordinated political exercise laying the groundwork for the next week's Budget.

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