Ashdown: We don’t know how this will play out

By staff

The fate of the Liberal Democrats following the coalition agreement is still uncertain, a former party leader has admitted.

Paddy Ashdown refused to criticise the decision to enter government with the Conservatives while appearing on the Today programme, but he admitted the future was unclear.

“We do not yet know how this will play out,” he said.

“If the Liberal Democrats had not gone into coalition the consequences for the party would have been worse, the risk for our party would have been greater, the benefit for our country would have been fantastically diminished.”

Speaking about any doubts he had about the coalition, Lord Ashdown said: “If I did they lasted about an hour.

“I thought this was the right thing – I backed it right from the start.

“Nick had the right judgement on this and I support him fully and energetically.”

Former leader Charles Kennedy has admitted serious doubts about the coalition. Analysts are keeping a close eye on Menzies Campbell, who is thought to be deeply uncomfortable with some aspects of the coalition agreement.