Laws: Clegg was preparing “very discreetly” for a hung parliament

Vince Cable’s assertion that the Liberal Democrats are not guilty of reneging on their pre-election promises as they are simply honouring their commitment to the coalition agreement, will leave many wondering whether it is worth believing anything that the Lib Dems say - while in a revealing interview in the Total Politics December magazine, former Chief Secretary David Laws exposes just how much Nick Clegg's focus was, pre-election, on a hung parliament.

Vince Cable’s assertion that the Liberal Democrats are not guilty of reneging on their pre-election promises as they are simply honouring their commitment to the coalition agreement, will leave many wondering whether it is worth believing anything that the Lib Dems say – while in a revealing interview in the Total Politics December magazine, former Chief Secretary David Laws exposes just how much Nick Clegg’s focus was, pre-election, on a hung parliament.

Laws says:

“Nick Clegg had prepared very effectively, but very discreetly, for a hung Parliament scenario.

“We had a clear view about our policy negotiating strategy and priorities, a team established in readiness to negotiate, which had worked closely together for months, and a carefully co-ordinated process for internal party consultations.”

This puts Cable’s weekend comments into an interesting context. If they were planning to enter into some form of coalition agreement all along, the level of commitment the party had to these pre-election pledges appears questionable.

This also sheds more light on another of the Lib Dems’ broken promises, their deficit reduction plan. As Left Foot Forward has previously reported, pre-election it was made clear the Liberal Democrat plan was more closely aligned with Labour than the Conservatives. Just five days before the country went to the polls, Mr Clegg – when asked by Reuters about the Conservative party’s plans – said:

“My eight-year-old ought to be able to work this out – you shouldn’t start slamming on the brakes when the economy is barely growing. If you do that you create more joblessness, you create heavier costs on the state, the deficit goes up even further and the pain with dealing with it is even greater. So it is completely irrational.”

In light of what we have learnt from Laws, that Mr Clegg was, at the same time as he made all his promises, preparing for negotiations in a hung parliament scenario, it makes the deputy prime minister appear even more disingenuous and exposes a leader whose words are less than dependable. Cable’s eagerness to get out on a technicality, meanwhile, will only serve to anger, not repair the damage to the party’s prospects that has resulted from them breaking so many of their promises.

24 Responses to “Laws: Clegg was preparing “very discreetly” for a hung parliament”

  1. Sam Knight

    Why make pledges then? RT @leftfootfwd: Laws: Clegg was preparing "very discretely" for a hung parliament: //bit.ly/djqqVF

  2. Matthew

    RT @leftfootfwd: Laws: Clegg was preparing "very discretely" for a hung parliament //bit.ly/9IGDG2

  3. Kevin Ward

    Clegg not as stupid as he looks… RT @leftfootfwd: Laws: Clegg was preparing "very discreetly" for a hung parliament: //bit.ly/djqqVF

  4. william

    So Clegg knew he was not going to win the election, but prepared for a hung parliament. Cameron hoped he was going to win,but when he had not,was quick to find a way to power.Gordon Brown knew he was going to lose the election,and when the result was a hung parliament,did not resign immediately,which would have obliged the tories to form a minority government,which might have already collapsed.Wooden spoon to Gordon Brown.

  5. Anon E Mouse

    William – Agreed. Brown was a disgrace after losing the election using any lame excuse not to do the honourable thing and just go.

    Thanks to Gordon Brown the Tories were let off the hook and able to gain a working majority by using the Lib Dem’s and that fault lies squarely with him.

    That said, as much as I am a fan of coalition governments, I don’t see Cameron as a Tory any more than Tony Blair was a Socialist.

  6. daniel vazquez

    Laws: Clegg was preparing “very discretely” for a hung parliament: If you do that you create more joblessness, y… //bit.ly/cMBk58

  7. Deborah Segalini

    William, if Cameron is not a tory, then what is he?

  8. william

    Deborah,it was not me that said he is not a tory.His alma mater has produced 19PMs, and his party makes Harriet Harman,Patricia Hewitt and others appear as innocents when it comes to getting rid of a certain election loser.HE is a Tory,because beneath it all, he was dead serious about getting into power,which was why ,conversely, he called himself ‘heir to Blair’.

  9. jennifer roberts

    RT @leftfootfwd: Laws: Clegg was preparing "very discreetly" for a hung parliament: //bit.ly/djqqVF reports Rosanna Singler

  10. Trakgalvis

    Laws: Clegg was preparing "very discreetly" for a hung parliament //tinyurl.com/35tlqav

  11. firefly

    It would have been a bit stupid if they hadn’t prepared for a hung parliament, given that it was widely anticipated beforehand. And the Lib Dems clearly stated their four policy priorities to the public before the election, so anyone complaining about policy choices clearly didn’t do enough research into who they were voting for.

    But don’t let that get in the way of a good bitch about the Lib Dems, we know it’s your favourite pastime right now.

  12. DAVID ROBERT WARREN

    RT @leftfootfwd: Laws: Clegg was preparing "very discreetly" for a hung parliament //bit.ly/9IGDG2

  13. mike

    With laws article in the Telegraph today he really is in the wrong Party

    but then again he got his wish

    The Lib Dems went Blue just like him

    Why didnt we push for a byelection over his expenses

  14. dan

    see tory boy “anti socialist” mouse is back

  15. william

    Mike, the answer to your question is,the leadership of our party did not have the stomach for another fight they felt they might lose.Pathetic,really.

  16. blogs of the world

    David Laws has revealed that Nick Clegg was discreetly preparing for a hung parliament, wh… //reduce.li/fqwz2k #foot

  17. Tracy

    This just shows how prepared the Lib Dems were. They had to be prepared of a hung parliament scenarios, especially since the polls were pointing very strongly to that particular outcome.

    I don’t think this shows them to be “even more disingenuous”, but merely prepared. Which is more than Labour were. That was one of Labours problems – they didn’t prepare for hung parliament talks – they thought naively that they could just walk another election. Even the Conservatives were prepared with compromises for a coalition situation – I don’t see you calling them disingenuous for their compromises.

    This Illustrates how prepared and professional the Lib Dems could be.

    But just look at Labour. 6 months down the line and they still have no alternative policies to the government. What a sorry state we would be in if we had a coalition with them!

  18. Mr. Sensible

    William and Mr Mouse, for Brown to resign and let a Tory minority government collapse might have been very politically expedient, but not the best thing to do in my view.

    The convention is that the current prime minister has the first go at forming a government, and stays until an alternative government can be found.

    With a bit of luck Lib Dems might soon recognize the price they are paying for being in this coalition.

    The waters are getting more muddied with regard to what happened on the Lib Dem side in those 5 days.

    And Tracy, Labour have no policies? Not sure about that one. It would seem their message is beginning to get through.

  19. Hugh

    As an intelligent man (if a flawed leader) Gordon Brown could no doubt see the danger of the Conservatives seizing their own Commons majority by the autumn if they started off as a minority government. So, he tried to bring the Lib Dems on board. It’s not his fault this failed but rather that of the strange collection of individuals (supposedly) on the centre-left led by John Reid, David Blunkett and Andy Burnham who, seemingly for a variety of different reasons, decided that the country was best left to Cameron and Osborne.

  20. Chris

    @mousey & william MA(Cantab)

    Your hindsight is 20:20 but at the time things weren’t so clear cut. Firstly, the were the constitutional niceties of not leaving the country without a government or putting the queen in the position of choosing. Secondly, who predicted what a bunch of unprincipled sell-outs the liberals would turn out to be? Even beaker thought that the liberals wouldn’t be able to enter a full coalition with the tories but the social liberals have just rolled over and let the barbarians through the gates. Clegg went from Keynes to Hayek over a weekend.

  21. blogs of the world

    David Laws has revealed that Nick Clegg was discreetly preparing for a hung parliament, wh… //reduce.li/bue1c9 #laws

  22. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – beaker?

  23. Chris

    @mouse

    Danny Alexander – beaker from the muppets //bit.ly/gUTeH8

  24. It is the winter of lib dem discontent | Left Foot Forward

    […] however, risk making Mr Cable look disingenuous, deceitful even. As Left Foot Forward reported last week, the party were actively planning for a hung parliament. So to say he signed the pledge […]

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