Criticism of the Liberal Democrats is growing as the party has agreed to stand aside in two constituencies fielding ex-Conservative Remain MPs, but have so far refused to stand aside for Labour, even where their standing will cause a split in the vote against the Tories.
The Lib Dems have stood down in Beaconsfield against the former Conservative Dominic Grieve and in Broxtowe against the former Tory Change UK leader Anna Soubry.
The decision to stand aside for the two MPs, both pro-Remain, is coming under increasing criticism as the Liberal Democrats have refused to stand aside for Labour, with leader Jo Swinson having refused to work with Jeremy Corbyn in the event of a hung parliament.
The Lib Dems position on Grieve has come under particular criticism with the ex-Tory having once said that “corruption in parts of the Pakistani community is ‘endemic’”, the party standing accused of putting Brexit before any efforts to effectively fight the Conservative Party, with whom Grieve and Soubry remain ideologically aligned.
Dominic Grieve has gone on record to state that he is “Conservative to [his] fingertips”
Given that five ex-Tories already make up the 21 of the Liberal Democrat MPs, its not hard to wonder if they’re courting two more.
The actions by the Liberal Democrats only enforces the belief that the party has shifted ideologically to the right under Jo Swinson and now sees stopping Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and a socialist government as being just as important as their campaign to remain in the European Union.
Ex-Tories Sarah Wollaston, Phillip Lee, Sam Gyimah, Heidi Allen and Antoinette Sandbach have all joined the party after either being sacked by Boris Johnson or resigning from the Conservative Party, with the appointment of Lee having caused several resignations from the party over his position on LGBT rights.
The Lib Dem swing to the right is seen as orchestrated from the top, leader Jo Swinson’s voting record and admiration of Margaret Thatcher being an issue of some comment for the party.
Swinson has regularly voted in line with Conservative Party policy, voting for austerity, voting against raising benefits, voting against higher benefits for those unable to work through disability and voting against guaranteeing jobs for young people. She voted to raise VAT, increase the income tax threshold and for increases to tuition fees. She voted to end financial support for young people in training and against slowing the rise in the cost of train fares.
Seemingly a fan of the bankers and corporatism, the Lib Dem leader voted against taxing banker’s bonuses, against stricter regulations on the gambling industry, voted for reducing corporation tax and voted to privatise Royal Mail.
Between 2010 and 2015 Jo Swinson voted more in-line with the Tory Party whip than either Michael Gove or Jeremy Hunt.
But perhaps no of this is surprising given Jo Swinson’s desire to see a statue of Margaret Thatcher erected and complete dismissal of any criticism of her position.
Swinson seemingly has little interest in the devastation brought by Thatcher to working-class communities across the country and instead thinks that opposition to such a statue of the wicked witch has a “whiff of misogyny” and that opponents are “pretty sexist”.
“She had long-term vision about our country’s future.”Jo Swinson on Margaret Thatcher
With the Brexit Party pledging to not stand in constituencies with an existing Conservative MP, Boris Johnson has a free run at 317 seats, meaning that the Liberal Democrat position on blocking Labour’s efforts to defeat the Tory government is both bizarre and increasingly untenable.
It is time for the Lib Dems to put aside their personality cults, delusions and right-wing bias and realise that they must back the only alternative to a Boris Johnson-led hard-right government and back Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.