To stick to policies included in Coalition agreement
6th May 2011: The fissures between the coalition partners have deepened with Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes hinting the party will seek concessions on issues such as NHS reform and immigration in reaction to the Conservative conduct of campaign against electoral reform.
Soon after former party leader Lord Ashdown blamed Prime Minister David Cameron for "breach of faith" in allowing a largely Conservative-funded No campaign targeting Nick Clegg personally, Hughes said the coalition Government would live through the staining experience of the Alternative Vote referendum.
But, in future the party would in all probability remain faithful to policies included in the previous year’s Coalition Agreement.
He made it clear that anything not in conformity with the agreement would become a policy only if Lib Dems agreed to it.
Lord Ashdown too was of the view the coalition would continue. But he was also of the belief the temperament of the campaign would eventually bring about a change in the atmosphere of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat partnership.
Lord Ashdown, in an interview with The Times, only recently said: "You cannot fund a deeply vicious campaign to destroy the personality of your partner, who has been unmoved in his brave support of the coalition, without there being consequences. When it comes to the bonhomie of the Downing Street rose garden, it’s never again glad confident morn."
Hughes, meanwhile, told the BBC the No camp had carried out a "fundamentally fallacious campaign". It was likely to have an effect on the manner in which the coalition partners behaved in the Government.
He asserted the effect on the coalition is it will reduce trust in the Tory party among their members and amongst colleagues. The coalition is a five-year deal. That won’t change, because that is in the national interest. They did a deal and they will keep to that deal.
But it would mean, from now on, they were very clear that they would keep to what the coalition has agreed in the Coalition Agreement – that other stuff would not be allowed in as policy unless their party has agreed to it.