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.

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