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"No relation to Pickles" says Cllr David Kendall

September 19, 2009 10:42 PM
Cllr David Kendall, speaking from the Lib Dem Conference in Bournemouth

Cllr David Kendall, speaking from the Lib Dem Conference in Bournemouth

Speaking from the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth, Parliamentary Spokesman Cllr David Kendall has laughed off Eric Pickles statement that liberal democracy is "part of the Conservative family", saying that there is no family tie to the Conservative Party.

Mr Pickles, clearly still rattled that the Brentwood Liberal Democrats took two county council seats from the Conservatives in June, made the assertion on the eve of the conference. Current party leader Nick Clegg MP and former leader Charles Kennedy MP both made reference to the statement in their speeches, both barely able to contain their laughter.

Cllr Kendall said:

"Clearly, Eric Pickles is again airbrushing history by trying to assert that his party is liberal and progressive."

"It was his party that opposed social welfare in 1909 and the creation of the NHS forty years later. They opposed placing sanctions on racist South Africa under Margaret Thatcher and appeased ethnic cleansing in Bosnia under John Major. He also highlighted the Tories' opposition to 42 days' detention - but forgets to say his party refused to back Lib Dem moves to reduce that to 14 days.

"He says the Tories opposed ID Cards. But their former Leader Michael Howard tried to introduce ID Cards long ago.

"I do agree that we need fresh, strong leadership, but this won't come from Eric and David Cameron who are more interested in publicity stunts. By contrast, Vince Cable MP outlined fresh thinking on where tens of billions of pounds of public spending cuts can be made, including difficult decisions on pensions and family tax credits. AS Nick Clegg put it, Mr Cameron's ideas are as revolutionary as increasing the price of MPs' lunches."

At the next election, Liberal Democrats will work unashamedly to persuade Labour voters that the only strong progressive force in British politics is now the Liberal Democrats.

Equally, we will work to persuade Conservative voters that theirs is now a shallow husk of a party that wouldn't know a belief if it got up and hit them on the nose. All this talk about being progressive, and caring about the environment is just a sham. They'll say anything to anyone.The Tories are not a progressive party no matter how many times they repeat the word. The evidence to the contrary is clear.