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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Lib Dems issue an apology to Harriet Harman

In a slightly tongue-in-cheek way the Liberal Democrats have launched a strong and stinging rebuke to the Labour leader Harriet Harman. Over the last five years of Coalition government the Lib Dems were on the receiving end of a string of attacks from Labour, most of involving personal abuse and mainly from Harriet Harman who used to shadow Nick Clegg when he was Deputy Prime Minister.

Following Harriet Harman's interview with Andrew Neil, on the BBC at the weekend, she surprised a lot of pundits and more importantly her own colleagues by announcing Labour will be supporting George Osborne changes to tax credits. Changes which the Lib Dems blocked in coalition. Changes which according to the IFS will leave 13 million families worse off and as many as 3.7m lowest income families £1,400 a year worse off.

Ms Harman also committed Labour to supporting stopping child tax credits after the second child, a measure that was also blocked by the Lib Dems in coalition. The move on child tax credits is regardless of whether a third child is the result of a rape. Tory proposal is that the mother will have to prove to the DWP that she was raped to get any financial help. Progressives in other parties have slammed Labour for agreeing to support such a move and the former DPP and now Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer has described the proposal as "abhorrent".

In their 'apology' to Harriet Harman the Liberal Democrats recognise that Labour members calling them "traitors", "quislings" and "lower than vermin" was not "criticism" of them as a "party that was too right wing". The Liberal Demcrats acknowledge that having blocked for five years the policies which George Osborne is now bringing forward, and now Labour appear to support, Labour's hostility to them as party was because they "didn't go nearly far enough and should have done more to deliver a good, hard kicking to the poor, the young and the disabled".

The 'apology' in full: