Could Labour and the Lib Dems work together and find common ground if the opportunity for a ‘progressive coalition’ were to present itself at the next general election? That was the subject up for discussion at the Fabian’s Society Fringe at Liverpool Town Hall on Monday. The answer appears to be a resounding no if the tribal atmosphere and bickering panel is anything to go by – but at least they got them in the same room, which is a start.
Islington’s Lib -Dem slayer Emily Thornberry MP joined Labour’s Ben Bradshaw, Lib Dem MP John Leech and Centre Forum’s Chris Nicholson for a lively debate chaired by Iain Dale.
Opening the debate, Ms Thornberry put forward her position that the Lib Dems will be wiped out at the next election, having misled their voters over policy prior to the election and proceeded to jump into bed with the Tories without hesitation. She also got the opportunity to try out her favourite Lib Dem jokes in-the style-of-Sarah-Teather (trending worldwide at #sarahteatherjokes).
Why did the Lib Dem cross the road? To find another fence to sit on. What do you get if you cross David Cameron with Nick Clegg. David Cameron. We could go on…
Meanwhile, Leech did little to endear himself to a Labour-supporting audience, declaring that Thornberry was “typical of everything that’s wrong with Labour” , and that coalition politics is here to stay now so Labour had better “grow up” and ditch its “authoritarian attitude.” What a charmer.