London: Cracks became apparent on Sunday in
the ranks of the Liberal Democrats over their support to the
Conservatives, after a prominent leader publicly said that he
had refused to back the deal that led to the formation of
Britain`s new coalition government.
Writing in today`s Observer, former party leader
Charles Kennedy said he could not bring himself to back Nick
Clegg in the crucial behind-closed-doors meeting of Lib Dem
MPs last Tuesday.
He said he feared the move to join a formal coalition
with the Tories could wreck forever plans for a progressive
centre-left alliance in British politics.
Other party leaders including former chief Menzies
Campbell, Paddy Ashdown and David Steel also had profound
doubts on entering into a deal with the centre-right Tories.
In the end Ashdown and Campbell voted in favour of joining the
Tory-led coalition while Steel, who could not be present at
the meeting, authorised Kennedy to express their shared views
about the dangers of the deal.
Kennedy, the Lib Dems leader from 1999 to 2006 and
still a highly popular figure, addressed the packed meeting -
laying out the concerns - about abstaining.
In his article on Sunday, he made it clear his fears that
the Lib Dems could be swallowed up by the Tories.