Lib Dems “not the party of change, but the party of changing its mind” says Caroline Lucas

5 May 2010

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MEP today condemned Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg for reneging on his "absolute precondition" of making electoral reform a centrepiece of any hung parliament deal.

Only a week ago, Clegg gave his assurance to an electorate crying out for the kind of change that will rejuvenate the political process. Electoral reform would be "a first step which any government of any composition needs to introduce to start restoring public trust in the political system ... Electoral reform is an absolute precondition for renewal in this country."[1]

The Greens say this commitment to progressive reform of British democracy led in part to the poll boost that has seen the Lib Dems regularly placed higher than a moribund Labour Party.

Now, with what the Greens say is "breathtaking disregard for the voters who have been calling for an honest approach to politics," Mr Clegg "has allowed himself to be swayed by the promise of power and has backtracked on his pledge to stay tough in the event of a Lib Dem-Conservative government.

Speaking on Monday 4 May to the Financial Times, Clegg said: "I've never talked about preconditions. What I've said is it's unavoidable. Of course it's a vital element to the renewal of politics that we need in broad terms. That's all I've said."[2]

The party of change - or of changing its mind?

Responding to what the Greens see as Nick Clegg's "astonishing flip-flop," Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MEP said: "The Liberal Democrats have made a huge noise about being the party of change but when it comes down to it all they really are is the party of changing their minds."

"It's common knowledge that the Tories don't want electoral reform. Any coalition negotiations that don't set out electoral reform as a deal breaker will lead to five more years of the same old system and it's the voters who will suffer," added Lucas, who has been tipped by pollsters YouGov and ICM to win the Brighton Pavilion seat in tomorrow's election.

"Green Party MPs will not compromise on the issues that are essential to giving every voter a voice, whatever their party of preference," concluded Ms Lucas.

Green Party members have been consistent advocates of wide-ranging electoral and constitutional reform for years and it is again a central element of this year's election manifesto.[3]


[1] Press Association report as published in the Independent newspaper on Monday 26 April 2010

[2] As reported by the Financial Times in their interview with Nick Clegg on Monday 4 May 2010

[3] The Green Party is committed to introducing PR for parliamentary elections. The Greens would also introduce fixed parliamentary terms and a fully elected House of Lords.


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