Tag Archives: Lib Dems
The Liberal Democrats’ reputation as custodians of British liberty received a mauling on Sunday when two of their most prominent campaigners against secret courts resigned from the party, and the leadership was told by its conference for the second time in six months to seek urgent changes to the government’s justice and secrecy bill.
The overwhelming vote at the party’s spring conference in Brighton puts fresh pressure on the leadership to seek new safeguards in the bill when it returns to the Lords next month.
Nick Clegg was involved in angry public exchanges with conference delegates on Saturday, and on Sunday made no reference to the defeat or resignations, in his own conference speech. But the tense atmosphere exploded again when a prominent activist, Jo Shaw, resigned from the party at the end of her conference speech, accusing Clegg of a betrayal of liberal values and employing the same shoddy realpoliitik as the Blair government.
The survey also showed that many of the party’s supporters are split between those who tend towards Labour and those inclined to back the Conservatives.
Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer who commissioned the poll, said it showed the “dilemma” that the Lib Dems face in trying to hold their 57 seats at the next general election.
The Liberal Democrats have slumped to their lowest-ever poll rating in the wake of allegations that their former chief executive Lord Rennard sexually harassed female party activists.
For the first time in its monthly polls for The Independent, ComRes puts Nick Clegg’s party in fourth place behind the UK Independence Party. The Liberal Democrats are on just eight per cent, down two points on last month, while Ukip is on nine per cent (down one point).
The survey, taken between Friday and Sunday when the Rennard controversy dominated the headlines, suggests it has damaged the Liberal Democrats. It is a setback for Mr Clegg in the run-up to Thursday’s Eastleigh by-election caused by the resignation of Chris Huhne, the former minister who has admitted perverting the course of justice and awaits sentencing.