'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday, 25 June 2012

We've extended the hand of friendship to one half of Labour...

Yes, it's true.

Tim Farron has written to Lord Adonis, Chairman of Progress, inviting Progress to attend Lib Dem conference in May. The text of the letter is at the bottom of this post.

It will be interesting to see Andrew Adonis' reply - given that, while he is often seen as an 'honest broker' between Labour and the Lib Dems, having been selected as a Lib Dem PPC in 1994, his review of David Laws '22 Days in May' was a less than flattering review of the party. For example here is his conclusion...

'As for the future, Laws does not rule out a Lib-Con electoral pact for the next election. While he describes this as "highly unlikely", he stresses that "it will take many years to deliver on the programme and the aspirations which the coalition has set out so far". "This is a coalition formed in the tough times of fiscal retrenchment, one which has the potential to be a partnership for the good times, too," he writes. Behold a marriage of true minds'

Perhaps no great surprise that Andrew is less than enamoured with the David Laws wing of the party, especially given David's pronouncements over the weekend. But it will be interesting to see how he responds to the overtures from the wing of the party more ideologically in tune with himself...

And I wonder how Ed Miliband will respond. Will he see it as the hand of friendship - or an attack on Labour? After all, it only takes one evening of Glee Club to convert many folk for life

Here's Tim's letter

Dear Andrew,

On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, I would like to invite Progress and its members to attend Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Brighton.

I have noted the moves from the GMB and others within the Labour Party to sideline Progress and force its members out of the party. This is a great shame. I do not mean to patronise you or your members by suggesting your response should be to join the Liberal Democrats. I know that you very much consider yourselves a part of the Labour movement. But you are modern, progressive reformers and you deserve to be a part of the political debate in this country. In the Liberal Democrats we pride ourselves not only on being a modern, progressive reforming party, but also as an open democratic one that never shies away from debate. We are also a party that is prepared to work with others for the good of the country.

Whether it is the economy, political reform, climate change, health, education or any of the other major issues facing us as a country, we will be debating them at our conference. You and your members are welcome to join us and I’m sure the debate will be all the richer for it.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Farron


  1. You do realise Laws and Adonis have worked together in the past to push free schools and academies, right?

  2. Oh yes. But reading that review of 22 Days makes you wonder where did all the love go. & after David's pronouncements this week, I wonder if they're not even further apart ideologically. Of course Adonis may be Blairite enough to actually agree with David :-) I would never dismiss that idea.