The Liberal Democrats in Harrogate: Wilson warns against pacts

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Paddy Ashdown's post-election speech advocating co-operation between political parties may have been a mistake, Des Wilson, the Liberal Democrats' election campaign director, said last night.

'We forget sometimes that what matters is not what we're trying to say but what others think they hear. Maybe the proposition was open to misunderstanding,' he told a conference rally.

Some co-operation on specific issues should always be possible, but party leaders should 'resist the siren calls for so-called political realignment', he said. 'It's a destructive waste of time.'