2012: MORE CUTS. 2014: FEWER CUTS. Will the real David Laws please stand up?

Liberal Democrats MPs really will say anything to get elected.

Liberal Democrats MPs really will say anything to get elected

With the General Election looming, many Liberal Democrat MPs are understandably trying to distance themselves from the toxic coalition in the hope that it may help them hold on to their parliamentary seat next May.

In fact, it looks like some may be willing to say anything to disassociate themselves from Cameron and Osborne, including flatly contradicting things they’ve said in the very recent past.

Cue David Laws, Liberal Democrat MP for Yeovil and former deputy to chancellor George Osborne.

According to David Laws, speaking today, the chancellor’s spending plans are a ‘political suicide note’. As Laws put it:

“This will be seen to be a very extreme and very right-wing suicide note because all those people who care about the education service, about the police, about the armed forces … will see that the plans they have put forward are hugely damaging and dangerous.”

David Laws

We couldn’t agree more.

Yet this flatly contradicts words which came out of the mouth of the very same David Laws a mere two years ago.

In a 2012 interview with the Telegraph, Laws boldly outflanked the Tories on the right by arguing that the share of the economy accounted for by the public sector ought to be cut back to 35 per cent.

Public sector spending has hovered at around 40 per cent for decades, but jumped to 49 per cent in 2010-11 on the back of a rise in welfare outgoings triggered by the global financial crisis.

But for Laws, speaking in 2012, this was unacceptable; he wanted further swingeing cuts more drastic even than those planned by George Osborne. As Laws mused:

“The implication of the state spending 40 per cent of national income is that there is likely to be too much resource misallocation and too much waste and inefficiency.”

David Laws 2

So why the sudden change of heart?

We would certainly never dream of suggesting that Liberal Democrats MPs will say anything to get elected.

James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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