Keir Starmer: Labour on course to win next general election
Britain will be stuck with the “wokest” government in history if Labour and the Liberal Democrats form a “coalition of catastrophe”, senior Tories have warned.
They fear that if Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey agree to share power it would be the “end of the Britain we know and love”.
The Lib Dems went into the last election with pledges to “stop Brexit”, legalise the sale of cannabis, scrap the present electoral system and give the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds. It is claimed they are now “even more Left-wing than Labour”.
Conservatives are horrified at the thought of Sir Ed and his top lieutenants securing Cabinet positions.
One former minister said they feared “Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion would be given the green light to wreak havoc on British streets”.
Tories already uneasy with plans to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions will worry even tougher measures to clamp down on cars would be in the pipeline.
A top concern about a coalition is that democracy as it has been known for generations could be “destroyed” with the first-past-the-post voting system replaced with proportional representation.
Critics say this would result in hung parliaments after each election, triggering political and economic instability.
The Lib Dems demanded a referendum on changing the voting system as the price of going into power with the Conservatives in 2010. Nearly 70 percent of voters rejected the proposals in 2011.
Exclusive polling by Omnisis shows just 17 percent want Sir Ed to follow in the footsteps of Sir Nick Clegg and become deputy prime minister. Forty-six per cent did not want him in the job.
Sir Ed became energy secretary in 2012 in David Cameron’s Tory-led coalition when fellow Lib Dem Chris Huhne was prosecuted for arranging for his wife to take his speeding points.
During his three-year stint in the job he granted planning consent for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant – which has been hit with soaring costs. It would not be the first time Labour and the Lib Dems have formed a coalition.
They shared power in Wales from 2000 to 2003, with the Lib Dems holding the education portfolio from 2016 to 2021. Thoughts of a repeat brought a warning from Welsh Secretary David Davies.
“What we got for it were longer waiting lists and the worst education in the UK as judged by the OECD,” he said.
“A Labour-Lib Dem partnership would be a coalition of chaos with both of them devising policies such as holding referendums on rejoining the EU or changing the voting system.”
There is strong suspicion in Tory circles that Labour and the Lib Dems have struck a “grubby” non-aggression pact.
Of the 25 most winnable Lib Dem seats identified by the Election Polling website, just two are held by Labour.
Sir Keir refused to rule out a coalition deal on more than seven occasions in the wake of this month’s local election results, which saw both parties make gains.
Former education minister Andrea Jenkyns said: “An electoral pact between Labour and the Lib Dems would spell a coalition of catastrophe that would change the face of Britain beyond all recognition.”
And Dudley North Tory MP Marco Longhi said it would be a “disaster for the country”. He warned: “It would be the wokest government in British history and do long-term damage to the nation.” And he added: “Introducing proportional representation would sever the direct link between voters and MPs that is at the heart of our democracy.”
But there is also unease within Labour at suggestions PR may be the price of a post-election pact.
A senior figure within the party said: “In Scotland, Labour went into coalition with the Lib Dems. They introduced PR in local government and it killed us.”
But last week Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told Andrew Marr on LBC he now backed PR because it would “empower” communities.
The former health secretary said it should be “considered as part of a radical package to make the country work better for all people in all places”.
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