Lib Lab pact would have been a non-starter

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NO DOUBT Euan McColm is right when he says that many “felt that the Lib Dems should have done more to cut a coalition deal with Labour in 2010” (Comment, 24 March).

There are just two small problems with that proposition. Firstly, the 258 Labour MPs and 57 Liberal Democrats, at 315, would still have been 11 short of an absolute majority. A further deal with some combination of SNP, Plaid Cymru or the several Northern Irish parties would have been needed to achieve one.

Some may remember, in the days of the Labour-Liberal Democrat partnership at Holyrood, the complaints that the (Lib Dem) tail was wagging the (Labour) dog; had a rainbow alliance been set up at Westminster, it is certain that the dog would have been wagged by two or more tails, all pulling in different directions.

Secondly, even while Gordon Brown was desperately trying to pull together an alliance along those lines, senior Labour front-benchers, many of whom are now in the Shadow Cabinet, were publicly saying they would not go into such a Government and it was time for them to go into opposition. In other words, Labour backed away from the challenges and responsibility of government, preferring the comfort and luxury of opposition.

So I’m afraid that the cards dealt by the electorate in 2010 and the veto of the Labour party hard-hitters, such as Ed Balls, rendered a Lib Lab pact as envisaged by Euan McColm impossible.

Jane Ann Liston, Member, 
North East Fife Liberal Democrats, St Andrews