Prompted by the awkward squad at 38 Degrees, I e-mailed loads of Labour MPs about whether they could form some kind of progressive alliance, to exclude Cameron and Co. Most of them just sent me an automated reply but Maria Eagle actually sent me a considered response in which she suggests the whole thing was a stitch-up from the outset.
I'm hearing today that some Labour MPs are a barrier to forming a progressive coalition. Now is the time for cooperation. I urge you to put the country's interest first, not tribal party political differences. Fair votes and protecting the interests of ordinary working people are worth it.It is time to move away from the outmoded adversarial approach, party political dogma and vested interests and towards consensus. Live long and prosper, Xorg
Thank you for your email regarding the result of the General Election, and the possibility of a "progressive alliance". The Labour Party was willing to discuss such a "progressive alliance" constructively with the Liberal Democrats in order to ensure the economic recovery and prevent a 'double dip' recession, and to protect front-line services from swingeing Tory cuts. However, it quickly became clear that the Liberal Democrats were not serious about reaching an agreement because of the quite unreasonable demands they were making. Indeed it seems that their decision to open negotiations with Labour was nothing but a ploy to increase their leverage and secure further concessions in the negotiations they were conducting with the Tories. During the election campaign Clegg said he would work with the party that had the strongest support, which the polls clearly suggested would be the Tories. Furthermore, once the result of the election was known, Clegg again indicated his preference for an agreement with the Tories. In fact as you can see in the article linked to below, very early in his leadership of the Liberal Democrats (February 2008) it became clear that Nick Clegg had a preference for working with the David Cameron's Tories. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-513240/Lib-Con-pact-Clegg-offers-prop-Tory-government-Cameron-agrees-power-share-deal.html I am deeply alarmed by the prospect of the Tories being in government and I wish it could have been prevented. However, the Liberal Democrats have quite deliberately chosen to form a governing coalition with the Tories. The Liberal Democrats are responsible for that decision and they alone. I fear it may be the first of many unpalatable decisions for which they have to accept responsibility, as it sadly becomes clear a vote Lib Dems is as good as a vote for the Tories. Maria Eagle MP Lab. Garston and Halewood
Update: I just had a reply from Maria's sister Angela in which she makes the same points and adds:
The Parliamentary arithmetic meant that it was for the Liberal Democrats to determine the shape of the new government and they have sadly chosen to team up with the Tories. I expect you share my disappointment at this turn of events, disappointment that no doubt turns to bitterness for those who actually voted Liberal Democrat in the expectation of progressive politics.
Angela Eagle MP
[She won't remember me but way back when, in the first Blair parliament, I was one of the civil servants 'advising' Angela Eagle. Small world!]