Ed Davey Says Lib Dems Would Work With Other Parties To Replace “Indecent” Tory Government
Sir Ed Davey said he would be willing to work with other parties in Parliament to remove the Tory government after the next election (Alamy)
Exclusive: The leader of the Liberal Democrats has said he is open to working with other parties to form an alternative government at the next election if it meant forcing the Tories from office.
In an exclusive interview with PoliticsHome’s podcast The Rundown this week, Sir Ed Davey said he wanted to win enough seats at an election to help build a Parliament where “different parties put their ideas together” and replace what he called this “indecent government”.
While he said there had been no formal discussions with Labour about an election pact or a coalition, he said it was simply “rational behaviour” for both parties to put their resources where they have the best chance of winning.
PoliticsHome has previously reported that Labour is “soft-pedalling” the campaign to win Tiverton & Honiton in next month’s by-election, in an apparent attempt to give the Lib Dems a better chance of victory over the Tories.
There have been suggestions this strategy could be replicated in seats up and down the UK at the next general election, with one party stepping back in targeted seats to maximise the chances of unseating the Conservatives.
Davey told PoliticsHome his party does intend to “take on Labour in areas where we can think we can beat them. If you're a business that's what you go for, where you think your biggest market is".
But, he added: "If you’re an individual you go where you think you can be more successful, it's just rational.”
Ahead of a potential general election in 2024, Davey said the “key thing for me” is to make sure his party has enough MPs to influence who is in Number 10, but wouldn’t put a ceiling on his ambition given recent by-election successes in Chesham and North Shropshire, and a strong performance in the South at May's local elections. “So we can move away from this, frankly indecent government, that's got no moral authority, that's got no plan for our country,” Davey said.
“And replace it with a parliament where maybe different parties put their ideas together and we work for the national interest, rather than from an interest which seems to be how do we keep Boris Johnson in Number 10, which I think is proving increasingly obviously against the national interest.”
Davey, who was a member of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government of 2010-15, said it wasn’t necessary to go into another formal deal with a party to wield the power to make meaningful change.
“You can exercise power and influence, in my experience, in a whole series of ways in Parliament,” he added.
“And if no party has an overall majority you can exercise influence in many, many ways."
- Listen to the full interview with Sir Ed Davey on The Rundown from PoliticsHome, out Friday morning wherever you get your podcasts.
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