Lib-Dems dash hope of pact
Sunday 03 January 1999
He has been told by the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party that the only policy area he can discuss with ministers is European security and defence.
Senior Liberal Democrat MPs were asked before Christmas to come up with policy areas that could be discussed with Labour ministers in the joint cabinet committee of ministers and Labour MPs.
But they concluded that the Liberal Democrats should not discuss policies such as education, health and transport with Labour ministers but continue to oppose the Government in these areas in Parliament.
The resignation of Peter Mandelson, the Trade Secretary, who was in favour of closer co-operation with the Liberal Democrats, has prompted a backlash by Lib-Dem MPs who believe they were being "pushed too far" into joint policy-making. Many members of the Cabinet also privately hope that the departure of Mr Mandelson will mean that the Prime Minister will scrap his pact with Mr Ashdown. Their views are being echoed in the Liberal Democrats who fear that "cosying up to the Government" will mean the end to the party's identity and make it more difficult to oppose Labour at the next election.
Norman Baker, Lib-Dem MP for Lewes, said last night: "John Prescott is saying that we should concentrate on material substance which is what many Liberal Democrat MPs have been saying all along. Liberal Democrat MPs believe that Mr Mandelson was trying to force the pace of co-operation."
Senior Liberal Democrat party sources say Mr Ashdown has agreed that future areas of co-operation must receive the full backing of his MPs.
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Edgar Froese dead: Tangerine Dream founder dies aged 70
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...