MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
What a hoo hah! Coming back from party conference Harrogate got a message that ‘a senior official of the Liberal Democrats’ had given a briefing to the effect that Ming’s five tests for Gordon Brown were a prelude to consummating a marriage.
The five tests – to respect civil liberties, to make sure that our foreign policy is made in Britain (not Washington), to be really committed to tackling climate change, to devolve real power to people and local communities and to break the poverty trap – are for Gordon’s first few months as Prime Minister. They will be the measure of whether there is any change from the status quo of Blair (for all whose policies, let us remember, Brown acted as the paymaster).
These tests aren’t about what happens after an election. They aren’t a hung Parliament wish list. And they aren’t the start of some public courting. (After all, at least in my book, if you are about to go courting – you normally start saying nice things about the object of your fancy!). And as Ed Davey (Ming’s Chief of Staff) pointed out – any suggestions to the contrary were unauthorised and – more importantly – wrong.
The Lib Dems are still as keen as mustard on PR. PR makes voting fairer. It’s not about what it does or doesn’t do to parties – it’s about what it does to the public – it means that we would have a voting system that fairly reflects the way people vote. The Parliament we end up with should reflect the votes the public cast – and our current system doesn’t do that.
We will be fighting all elections, as always, to get the most Lib Dem votes we can so that we can have the most Lib Dem elected representatives and therefore – the most Lib Dem influence and the most Lib Dem policies that we can! End of story.