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Lord Hattersley predicts Lib Dem revival

August 13, 2019 11:00 AM
By Robert Court

The Herald Newspaper in Scotland has published an interview with Lord Hattersley, a former deputy leader of the Labour Party. Roy Hattersley, a well known Derbyshire Dales resident, believes that the Liberal Democrats are likely to be the coming force in British politics under the new leadership of Jo Swinson.

"I think the Liberals are going to come on very fast," Lord Hattersley said. "I think there is that feeling in the country that Europe has been mishandled. There's probably a natural majority for staying in the European Union, and Liberals speaking out for that, even after we leave, will do them a power of good. So, I think we are going to see something of a Liberal revival."

Labour, he suggests, will suffer because their position in Europe is unclear. "One of my complaints is we have failed to adopt a serious position over the great issue of our time, perhaps the great issue of the century; where Britain's future lies. Our party doesn't have a firm position in either direction."

Lord Hattersley also admitted that he is now in favour of the introduction of proportional representation in General elections. "I wasn't for many years, but I am now on the basis that I think it's likely that from now on we'll have coalition governments. Proportional representation makes that certain and I think it would be a good thing if people went into an election expecting a coalition and voting according to the knowledge that it will be a coalition, rather than voting for one party in the mistaken belief that that one party will run the country.

(Herald Scotland, 12 August 2019)

He is surely right to expect hung parliaments to become the norm under the present system. The usual argument against a proportional system is that under PR we won't get strong (i.e. one-party) governments. The Liberal Democrats have argued for PR for years, both in the interest of fairness and for the sake of good governance which avoids extremism. Present circumstances illustrate this to perfection.