Wednesday, 23rd May 2007
To Members of the Welsh Liberal Democrat National Executive
We, members of the Brecon & Radnorshire Liberal Democrat Constituency Association, would ask you to consider our views set out below and take cognisance of them when deliberating this evening.
Given our lack of electoral progress in the National Assembly over the eight years since the Assembly was established and the difficult election we have just fought:
1 We would not wish the Welsh Liberal Democrat Members of the Assembly to enter into a coalition with any other political grouping at this time;
2 We would not wish the Welsh Liberal Democrat Members of the Assembly to contemplate entering a coalition with Conservative Members of the Assembly under any circumstances;
3 We would remind you that it was the previous Labour Administration that failed the people of Wales by pursuing policies that have severely damaged most of the public services in Wales, none more so than the National Health Service in Wales. We do not believe that any public service, especially the National Health Service, can ever be safe in hands of the Conservative Party;
4 We would draw your attention to the current issue of The Political Quarterly and an article in it by Vernon Bogdanor. He has this tale to relate about the possibility of coalition with the Conservative Party:
“After the 1951 election, the victorious Churchill offered Clement Davies, the Liberal leader, a seat in the Cabinet. Davies, after reporting the offer to the Liberal Executive, left the room to facilitate free discussion. The vote was eleven to one against accepting... Davies himself agreed that this was the right decision, feeling he would become the object of disdain in a Conservative Cabinet... Even more important, had Davies accepted the offer, the Liberal Party would have almost certainly been destroyed as an independent force."
A loose arrangement with Labour in return for significant progress on our policies – maybe; formal coalition with Labour - only if there is absolutely no alternative; formal coalition with Plaid and Conservatives – NEVER!