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Simon Hughes: Radicals and progressives alive and well in Lib Dems

January 15, 2011 12:06 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons, speaking at a CentreForum sponsored debate at the Fabian conference today said:

"Liberal Democrat supporters should resist the blandishments of the Labour leader and his Labour colleagues.

"In Oldham East and Saddleworth this week Labour held a seat that has always been Labour with no bigger share of the vote in opposition than they won when Labour was in government. Liberal Democrats in government increased our share of the vote from that which we won last year when we were in opposition.

"Last May, the electorate walked away from Labour and Labour walked away from government. Liberal Democrats took up the challenge - and decided that Liberal Democrats in government would achieve far more towards a liberal Britain by joining and making more progressive the government rather than stepping back and allowing Britain to be run again by the Conservative Party on its own. We are content to be judged by our results after five years in office. But we are determined to fight for the important Liberal changes which Britain needs. We are determined to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor; to take poorer people and families out of tax; to require the better off to pay a larger contribution; to build a green economy driven by long term security not short term greed; and to give youngsters a more equal start before and during school and better opportunities to obtain the apprenticeships, the skills and training or the academic qualifications they will need in later life.

"Radicals and progressives are alive and well in the Liberal Democrats and alive and well in the new Coalition Government. As in any coalition we will not achieve all of our objectives all of the time. But we have already made much progress and we will make much more progress. The immediate tasks of progressives in Labour and elsewhere in British politics is to campaign to win the referendum for more powers for Wales in March and for a fairer voting system across Britain in May. It is time for progressives in Labour to make sure that the old guard do not set the agenda and determine the result."