Coffee House

Lib Dem manifesto horsetrading begins

2 April 2014

6:09 PM

2 April 2014

6:09 PM

After Tim Farron set out a new position for the Lib Dems on the ‘bedroom tax’ this morning, Labour wants to try to humiliate the party by staging a vote on the policy in the Commons. It was approved long ago, but this lunchtime Labour sources were saying that they would put pressure on the Lib Dems by finding a mechanism to force a vote on the bedroom tax. This is always exciting for the Labour party as they can dig out some lines about flip flops and broken promises, but the chances are that an Opposition Day debate would either be ignored by Lib Dem MPs, or a mollifying amendment tabled by the government which allows the Coalition parties to walk through the same lobbies.

But the timing of Farron’s intervention on the bedroom tax is interesting because I understand that in the next few days David Laws is going to sit down and work out the key themes and messages of the Lib Dem manifesto.


Farron, who told the Centre for Social Justice this morning that ‘the bedroom tax causes huge social problems and distorts the market – we as a party cannot support this’, may well be trying to encourage his party to consider taking this position on this particular cut to housing benefit. He has not, as some believe, changed Lib Dem policy on the bedroom tax as the party’s commitment to confusing and labyrinthine democracy makes that impossible, but he could be staking out a position ahead of the manifesto negotiations. Encouraging a debate now about the cut could create some cover for those Lib Dem MPs who have had to send out many letters to constituents defending the policy.

The party leadership isn’t slapping Farron down, either. A senior Lib Dem source tells me:

‘The party has expressed its view on this policy, but this is the government policy, we’re in a coalition and you can’t do everything you want. The basis of our manifesto is party policy that we set at conference.’


So it sounds as though the party could well go into the 2015 election with a rather different stance on the policy officially known as the ‘Size Criteria for People Renting in the Social Rented Sector’. Either way, it’s a sign that the manifesto horsetrading is really starting to begin in this party.

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Show comments
  • Peter Stroud

    One thing is certain: never trust the LibDems in coalition. They are the whore of the political scene. They will jump into bed with any party: providing the price is right.

  • swatnan

    The only way to shut Farron up is to give him a Govt job; I think every Lib Dem has had a Ministerial posting apart from him. Even S Hughes has been shut up and thankfully we see less of him in the Media.

    • Makroon

      Ha-ha, the bloke is all mouth and no trousers, what job could you possibly give him ? Another Sarah Teather waiting to happen.

  • Wessex Man

    “Tax free rental paid to all boyfriends, Mum and Dads, Grannies and Sisters of all Lib/dum and Labour MPs.”

    now for the rest of ou zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Doesn’t really matter, does it? Not as if they are going to get any votes.

  • anyfool

    The supposed bedroom tax or spare room subsidy is a small detail of the welfare bill, it is blown out of all proportion to its effects.
    That anyone thinks that this will help the Lib Dems or even Labour at the next election is simply delusional.
    It now looks like the Lib Dems are vying with Labour to stiff the Tories about a measure they helped to implement.
    It is all pointless for the Lib Dems, they will not be part of any government so their position on any matter is pointless.
    As I type this Clegg is lying and losing his credibility and unless he can come up with something in the debate with Farage he will be putting another nail in the Lib Dem coffin

    • Mynydd

      Call it what you want, bedroom tax or spare room subsidy doesn’t matter, it’s the effects of it that matters. Force an old dear to move from a house she has called home for 40 years, not only will she be upset, but also her children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends. If you think these will vote Conservative or Lib Dem then you are simply delusional.

      • anyfool

        Actually very few are forced to move, also the elderly are exempt as are the truly disabled.
        Any evictions if any will be down to the tenant not cooperating with the housing department or Labour councils not carrying out grant applications for political posturing reasons.

        • Mynydd

          If few are forced to move, what’s the purpose of it?

          • anyfool

            Because you cannot keep spending what you have not got.
            Why is this simple fact struggling to get through to otherwise normal people.
            You and your kind realise this, but you have no other purpose in life but to push your childish theology, regardless of the damage you do to the really vulnerable, while spouting nonsense about caring.

      • Ooh!MePurse!

        It depends how much commonsense they have. If they cared that much they would give the old dear the money to make up the shortfall. Unless they are on benefits in which case they were never going to vote Conservative anyway. Or vote at all.

  • MirthaTidville

    Reassuring to see this odious lot back into their usual fantasy policies mode. It reminds one that they have`nt changed a jot. It also serves to remind the electorate just how much that they arn`t worth voting for..

  • Alexsandr

    why do we care what any of the limp dems say. they will be history in 2015. good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • crackenthorp

      and i would to hear what they say about you

  • Ulysses Returns

    You write of a ‘bedroom tax’ Isabel. I am unaware of any such tax and do not believe anyone in this country has ever paid one. Please do not do the odious Eddies’ work for them here please.

    • crackenthorp

      yes you are aware but you have got your head in the sand and cannot accept that your beloved party are WRONG

      • Alexsandr

        why should hardworking people pay for other people to live in accommodation too big for them?

        • crackenthorp

          because there is very little single accommodation for people to move to

      • Colonel Mustard

        What stone have you slithered out from under?

        • crackenthorp

          the stone that you vacated but tories know all about slithering

          • Colonel Mustard

            Answer the question insect-boy.

            • crackenthorp

              if you cannot read then it is not my fault, take a deep breath and read all the comments properly before you make yourself look stupid as usual

    • 2trueblue

      Ah, but it has a nice sound bite to it and we know that Liebore know of nothing else. For them it is all about the narrative and the sound bite, never mind the reality.