Sir: I was nothing less than astonished by your article "Ashdown under fire from his own MPs" (12 July), which claimed that members of the parliamentary party believed the party was being squeezed. After our quite extraordinary successes in local elections over the past few years, we overtook the Tories this spring both in terms of councils run and councillors elected. This support, reflected also in our dramatic by-election wins since 1992, is deep rooted and strengthened by the popularity of Lib Dems wherever we are in power.
Against the backcloth of the Tory and Labour leaderships desperately trying to smooth over their vast internal divisions and marginalise their own dissenters, we Liberal Democrats take great pride in our strength of purpose and resolve. As the other two parties search for a new identity, we have held our ground and consolidated our position.
We relish the prospect of presenting an honest, modern and costed manifesto to the British people at the next election. Our party is united and independent, our policies are clear and we will continue to grow stronger and more successful where it matters - in the ballot box.
MP for North Devon (Lib Dem)
House of Commons
The writer is Liberal Democrat Campaigns spokesman.