Labour party being ‘timid and cautious’ allows Lib Dems to lead on big issues, Scottish MP Alistair Carmichael claims

The Labour party’s “timid and cautious” approach has allowed the Lib Dems to lead on big issues, Scottish MP Alistair Carmichael has claimed.

The Lib Dem MP pointed to his party first proposing expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits, which was last month raised 35 per cent until the end of March 2028.

And Mr Carmichael suggested Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour party was too quiet on issues like migration.

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The Orkney and Shetland MP also claimed new SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn lacked the “subtlety” required for Prime Minister’s Questions.

Alistair Carmichael accused the Labour party of being "timid" on issues.Alistair Carmichael accused the Labour party of being "timid" on issues.
Alistair Carmichael accused the Labour party of being "timid" on issues.

Speaking about Labour, Mr Carmichael suggested the party was scared of upsetting certain newspapers. He said: “The caution of the Keir Starmer approach to politics offers an opportunity to the Lib Dems to occupy space that the Labour party would probably occupy otherwise, but chooses not to.

“The idea of a windfall tax, Labour came onto it eventually, but only after we had gone out there and made the case.

"On some of the home affairs agenda, issues around safe and legal routes, need for economic migration, the Labour party is pretty timid on a lot of that. It looks like they are still cowed by the Daily Mail and Daily Express.”

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to call for a windfall tax, and have been more supportive of migration – something the Labour party has had to reassess its view over since accepting the Brexit vote.

Turning to the state of the SNP, Mr Carmichael criticised Mr Flynn’s approach at PMQs, and suggested predecessor Ian Blackford had been forced out.

Mr Blackford stood down earlier this month after what some in the party regard as a coup, prompting a string of resignations from the SNP front bench.

Mr Carmichael said: “Stephen Flynn lacks some of the political subtlety that Blackford had. He will speak very well to the nationalist base, but I think if you are not part of that nationalist base, he will just look and sound like another angry nationalist.

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“Already the PMQs appearances look a bit like a single transferable rant. If you’re going to lead a major political party, you have to do more than talk to your political base, and I see nothing about the team now running the SNP in London that makes me think they are going to do that.”

The Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson said there were new-found rifts within the Westminster group, and it was clear Mr Blackford “jumped before he was pushed”.

He said: “It’s pretty clear that there are quite deep divisions within the SNP, some of it is tactical, some of it is strategic. If you compare the SNP today with the SNP of 2015, which had a phenomenal message and group discipline, you see a very different party today.”

Pointing to SNP MPs who had moved to the backbenches since Mr Flynn’s appointment, Mr Carmichael claimed the new Westminster party leader could face dissent from within his party.

He said: "MPs like Pete Wishart, Chris Law, Stewart McDonald. If your tent isn’t big enough to accommodate them, you wonder just how many others there may be still inside the tent, but quietly unhappy. How long before they become noisily happily?”



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