Liberal Democrat election manifesto, 1992


Changing Britain for good

Be warned: this manifesto may not be what you expect.

This manifesto does not promise good times just around the corner. It does not avoid difficult questions out of fear of unpopularity. It simply tells the truth; the truth about what Liberal Democrats believe has to be done in order for Britain to succeed.

If you want Britain to stay the same then you probably won't like this manifesto. But if you want real change, if you long for a better future for yourself, your family, your community and your country, then read on.

Britain has a clear choice at this election. We can stay much as we are, in the same old muddle, with difficult decisions postponed.

Our failure to adjust to the modern world will then become every more serious. We will lag further behind in creating and sharing wealth. More and more people will lose their jobs and homes. Our environment will go on deteriorating. Our public services, already second rate, will become even worse.

We shall fail to get the best out of the European Community, because our leaders will continue to be afraid to tell us that shared success in the Community means sharing sovereignty too.

Our system of politics will continue to foster confrontation and short-term thinking, and exclude ordinary citizens from the business of government.

This manifesto offers a different choice for Britain.

Liberal Democrats do not believe that our country's under-performance has to be accepted. Another forty years of failed government is not inevitable. Britain has many advantages:

But Britain will only succeed when its political leaders start treating voters as informed citizens with shared concerns, not as ignorant consumers to be manipulated. Now is the time for change.

That is why in this manifesto we set out a clear analysis of Britain's problems and our proposals for putting them right. Above all, Liberal Democrats will trust our fellow citizens with the truth.

So this manifesto is different from others you may read.

We are not afraid to say what needs to be said.

We are not afraid to do what needs to be done.

And we are clear that if we want to make a modern Britain, we must first change Britain.

What Liberal Democrats stand for

Liberal Democrats put people first. We aim to create a society in which all men and women can realise their full potential and shape their own successes. We believe that if we could liberate this wealth of talent we would transform our economy and create a shared society of which we should all br proud. Liberal Democrats know that this cannot be achieved without fundamental reform.

We must change our political system to give the citizen more power and the government less; our economic system to confer power on consumers and to provide employees with a share in the wealth they create; our public services to guarantee choice and dignity to each of us; and our education system to equip us better for the modern world.

Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of the things we own in private but we also know the value of what we hold in common. We believe that people are at their best as members of communities, where they care about each other and for those less fortunate than themselves. So our policies are designed to strengthen communities, tackle crime and poverty, build up the common wealth and improve the shared quality of life.

In the economic sphere we know that the free market is the best guarantee of responsiveness to choice and change. But we believe the market should be our servant not our master. So we see the role of government as crucial in making the market work properly, by creating the conditions for success, promoting competition, breaking up monopolies and spreading information. And government has to be ready to make the investments which private enterprise will not, whether in transport, education or public works.

Liberal Democrats know that we have a duty, not only to each other but to the generations which follow us, to protect the environment. We believe that this is best achieved not by making people poorer or less free but by building true environmental costs into the market so as to reward those who conserve and penalise those who pollute.

Liberal Democrats are uncompromisingly internationalist. We know that there is a limit to what Britain can achieve alone and we are committed to building in the wider world the sort of society we strive for at home, founded on mutual cooperation, political liberty and shared prosperity. We have long been committed Europeans, believing that Britain can only be secure, successful and environmentally safe if we play our full part in building a more united and democratic Europe.

Globally, Liberal Democrats will work to strengthen international cooperation. We reject outdated notions of national sovereignty, believing that they now stand in the way of common action to deal with the scourges of disease and hunger, the deterioration of the Earth's environment and the continuing dangers of the post-Cold War world.

We believe that all government, whether local, national, or increasingly European, should be bound by the rights of the individual and should be fully accountable.

Because Liberal Democrats alone understand that we shall not change Britain's future unless and until we change Britain's electoral system, we are committed to electoral and constitutional reform. We shall not rest until the government of Britain fully belongs to the citizens it is there to serve.

Britain's balance sheet

In drawing up this manifesto, we have begun from where Britain is today. Like any good auditor, we have been realistic about national achievements and failures, about opportunities and problems. The result is a balance sheet which shows our country's strengths and weaknesses.

Despite some points of promise and potential, Britain's balance sheet shows how much still needs to be done. The following pages reveal the extent to which, in the economy, in the environment, in education, and in local services, successive British governments have failed to realise the opportunities of the past decades. Although there are bright sports, the general picture is one of relative decline in relation to other advanced democracies.

Forty years of failure are the result not only of misjudged policies from both Conservative and Labour Governments. Even more crucially, they are the product of an outdated political system which has consistently sacrificed the long term to the short term and abandoned principles for expediency.

The Economic Balance Sheet

Positives

Negatives

The Environmental Balance Sheet

Positives

Negatives

The Educational Balance Sheet

Positives

Negatives

The Social Balance Sheet

Positives

Negatives

Policies for the new century

It is clear from our analysis of Britain's balance sheet that Britain needs change. Here are our first steps, the key measures which we believe must be taken straight away if we are to break the cycle of Britain's decline, unlock the full scope of Britain's potential and pave the way to future success.

The first steps

Only when these key steps have been taken will government and individual alike be able to plan for the long term, instead of focusing on the short term and the next election.

The balance of this manifesto sets out the Liberal Democrat vision of the future: our long-term programme for government. The detailed costing and revenue-raising effects of our proposals are contained in a separate supplement.

1. Britain's Prosperity: Public Investment; Private Enterprise

Liberal Democrats aim to encourage a competitive and enterprising economy which is environmentally sustainable, founded on partnership and advanced skills and closely integrated with Europe.

What the economy needs is a new impetus. The Government's proposed tax cut will not achive this. Only new investment will provide the kick-start needed to escape from recession and reduce the waste of talent and energy which results from unemployment.

But Liberal Democrats also recognise Britain's long-term needs. We are committed to a free market, to free trade and to the creation of a competitive and enterprising economy. We do not believe it is government's job to run business - people do that much better. We see government's role as enabling firms and entrepreneurs to have the best possible chance. That means encouraging competition, investing in skills, involving employees in the success of their companies, nurturing small businesses, playing a positive part in the construction of the new European economy and, above all, bringing greater stability to national economic management.

Our long-term aim is to shift the burden of taxation away from the things the country needs more of - income, savings and value added - and on to the things we want less of, such as pollution and resource depletion.

Turning Britain Round

The current recession is undermining Britain's competitiveness and future success. Unemployment and business closures lead to a wastage of talent and a loss of resources. At the same time, essential investment in our country's future, in infrastructure, in education and training and in innovation, is being neglected.

Liberal Democrats will introduct an emergency programme of investment to end the slump. We will immediately put in hand a major programme of public capital investment, funded by reversing the Tory tax cuts together with a prudent increase in borrowing. This, combined with a freeze in business rates and new investment in education to increase the nation's skills, will kick-start recovery and create jobs.

We will:

Making Britain Competitive

A climate of enterprise and competition is vital if British industry and products are to compete effectively in overseas markets. Yet the current Government has concentrated instead on converting public into private monopolies.

We will:

Promoting Enterprise

Government needs to provide an immediate impetus to get the economy moving. But long-term private investment in the production of high-quality tradable goods and services is essential for long-term success. This will only be possible if we encourage a climate of investment, enterprise and partnership.

We will:

Serving Customers

Many financial institutions, and particularly some of the high-street banks, have a poor record of customer service, for individuals and businesses. It is far too common to see charges applied to accounts, or interest rates changed, without customers being fully informed, and to see new types of accounts opened without existing customers being told thatthey could benefit from them.

Banks which are responsive to their customers will be good for the economy. We will ensure that commercial borrowers are entitled to a full contract specifying the terms, conditions and duration of the services provided. We will introduce rights for customers of all financial instutions, ensuring they are fully informed when changes are made which do or might affect them.

Child Care Vouchers

Britain seriously lags behind its continental neighbours in provision for child care for working parents. This not only unfairly impedes opportunity for the people concerned. It holds back the contribution to the economy of many highly skilled workers.

We will encourage the introduction of a system of child care vounchers, provided by employers to parents with children under school age. They will be usable to pay for child care in a range of places - workplace, local authority or private nurseries,play groups or by individual qualified carers. The parent will chose, topping up the value if they wish. Child care vounchers will be deductible expenses for the employers and tax free for the parents. Self-employed people will be able to purchase vouchers and receive similar tax advantages. In due course the principle could be extended to cover child care for older children.

Creating Long-Term Prosperity

We will change the ways in which economic policy is made and implemented, to bring greater stability and a sensible framework to economic management - ending the present 'boom - bust' approach. This requires fuller integration with the European Community.

Our key changes are:

Changing the Economy for Good

Liberal Democrats recognise that if we are to improve Britain's disappointing economic performance we have to change the governmental system which produces it. Our proposals for electoral and constitutional reform are a prerequisite for better economic performance.

Proportional representation will produce greater stability in government, ending the economic disruption caused by sudden sharp swings in government policies before and after elections. Home rule and decentralisation will ensure that economic power and prosperity is spread through Britain. Integration within Europe will create the framework for long-term economic strength. Freedom of information legislation and open government will improve competition and encourage informed debate. A written constitution will ensure that politicians can no longer ignore long-term priorities for short-term expediency and political advantage.

2. Britain's Environment: Environmental Protection and Conservation

Liberal Democrats are determined to ensure that Britain changes its way so that it becomes a leader, not a laggard, in facing the environmental challenge. Polluters will pay and conservers will be rewarded. Taxation will be gradually shifted from the things we want more of - income, savings and value added - to the things we want less of: pollution and resource depletion.

The accelerating destruction of the environment is one of the most serious challenges we face today. Its symptoms are becoming clearer every year, from global warming to holes in the ozone layer to poisoned rivers and polluted air at home. They threaten not just our ability to enjoy our towns and countryside but our health and our children's future. Liberal Democrats aim to cut pollution and clean up the local environment.

We aim to build a society that does not create wealth at the expense of the environment. Our economy currently functions unsustainably, producing unacceptable levels of pollution and rates of resource depletion. We will create new incentives to follow environmentally sensitive strategies and behaviour.

Protecting our heritage

Conserving and enhancing the physical environment, countryside and townscape alike, is of crucial importance to everyone's quality of life.

Liberal Democrats will:

Air Pollution Index

Air pollution threatens the health of millions of people - particularly children, elderly people and anyone with a respiratory problem such as asthma. Government monitoring stations measure levels of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides or low-level ozone but fail to publicise them widely. When levels exceed World Health Organisation guidelines, the result is described as 'good' - in other countries it would be called 'poor'.

We will increase the number of monitoring stations, ensuring that all major urban areas are covered. We will publish a regular air pollution index and encourage newspapers and TV and radio weather forecasts to use it. This will increase public consciousness of the pollution issue and prove of real benefit to the health of vulnerable people.

Controlling Pollution

We will need market mechanisms, where feasible, to reduce pollution by ensuring that environmental costs and benefits are fed into the economy. Direct controls will still be needed in some cases.

We will:

Conserving Energy

Without an effective energy policy, government cannot have an effective environmental policy. Britain's national energy strategy must be set within an overall European framework, with the aim of reducing pollution, improving energy efficiency and boosting the use of renewables.

We will

Water District Discount

According to the Government, water bills will rise by 50% within the next few years. For many households (in, for example, Wales), water bills are now higher than bills for all local government services put together. Since 1989 nearly a million summonses have been issued to people who could not pay their water bills.

At present water companies have a Bulk Supply Discount for commercial customers - a 'wholesale price' for their water. Liberal Democrats will alter the licensing conditions for water companies to extend this to groups of domestic consumers who live on large estates and in sheltered housing complexes. This District Discount will keep down bills for elderly people and many low-income inner-city residents living on large estates.

Making Transport Clean and Efficient

By expanding the provision and quality of public transport and reducing society's dependence on the private car, we will improve travel efficiency and protect the environment. We will achieve this by:

Building a Sustainable Economy

Liberal Democrats aim to build an economy which is not only competitive and enterprising but also environmentally sustainable, leaving future generations a wealth inheritance - of knowledge, technology, capital and environmental assets - at least as great as that inherited by the current generation.

Our proposals are:

Reviving Rural Communities

Our policy for the countryside aims both to protect Britain's natural environment and to recreate success in one of Britain's greatest industries, agriculture. The farming industry is passing through a period of profound change; most farmers recognise that the industry must achieve a better balance with the market and the environment. We will help this transition by:

Britain's Skills: Excellence for All

Britain's citizens are our greatest asset. Liberal Democrats will invest in people to enable every individual to fulfil their potential, and, in so doing, build the nation's economic and social strength. We aim to create a first-class education system for all, not just by providing adequate public funding, but also through reforms which increase choice and opportunities for each citizen.

Liberal Democrats start from the belief that every individual, whatever their age, sex, background or ability, possesses a unique potential and a valuable contribution to offer society. Our target is excellence for all. This requires more relevant courses, higher standards and improved provision. Excellence also has a cost. We will guarantee that Liberal Democrats will increase investment in education by £2 billion in the first year, even though this will require an extra penny in the pound on income tax. Our priorities for investment are pre-school education, education and training for 16-19 year olds, and adult education.

Aiming High: Raising Standards

Our aim is simple - to give Britain a world-class education system, in which high quality is key, by the year 200.

We will:

Putting Education at the Heart of the Community

Liberal Democrats pioneered Local Management of Schools. Now we aim to increase further the day-to-day independence of schools and colleges within a democratically accountable framework of local education authorities. This includes:

Opening Schools to the Community

Schools should be seen as a valuable resource, not just for their pupils but for the communities around them. Access to their libraries, computers, meeting rooms, sports halls, playing fields and swimming pools could make a big contribution to community life.

We will encourage all schools to open up these facilities to local people in the evenings, at weekends and in school holidays. Some of our proposed expansion of adult education will be organised in this way. Local authorities - particularly community councils where they exist - will help to provide the administrative support needed to manage such open access.

Educating the Individual

Liberal Democrats will ensure that every individual can receive high-quality education and training throughout their life from before school to retirement. But the current system places too little emphasis on vocational achievements.

We will:

Opening the Doors to Higher Education

Britain's higher education system still provides excellent standards of education, but does so for too few people. Liberal Democrats aim to increase both participation and flexibility in studying for degrees, because not all students want to follow traditional three-year courses.

We will:

4. Britain's People: Healthier, Safer and Better Housed

Liberal Democrats will invest in local services to enable communities to thrive. Our aim is to ensure that individuals of all backgrounds and means can live free of the fear of sickness, poverty and crime.

The steps we outline in this paper are necessary to create a fair, democratic and prosperous society, in which individuals are able to make their voice heard and develop their talents and skills to the full. But we believe that people can realise their potential best not as isolated individuals, but as members of thriving and responsible communities. We will invest in the network of community services - health, housing, crime prevention, social security, arts ans sports - to improve quality, choice and opportunity for everyone.

Guaranteeing High-Quality Health Care

Liberal Democrats remain steadfastly committed to the original aims of the NHS: to enable everyone to live free of the fear of illness, injury and disability; to provide health care free at the point of delivery and regardless of ability to pay. The Government's 'reforms' mean that patients are made to follow the money; under our proposals, money will follow the patients. We especially oppose the two-tier Health Service which the Government is creating.

Our priorities are:

Providing Good Housing

Decent, affordable and safe housing is vital to personal happiness and family life. We will encourage home ownership, but we recognise that the housing market has been distored by mortgage tax relief, and we believe that choice in housing means providing more rented accommodation in both public and private sectors.

We will:

Home Energy Efficiency Discount

Saving energy in the home makes good environmental sense, and will save money on electricity and gas bills. We will make houses which meet high standards of energy efficiency exempt from the first £1000 of stamp duty when they are sold. Their energy standard will be assessed by an energy audit carried out by the local authority's energy efficiency unit.

If a home does not meet the minimum standard, the owner will be able to claim back all money spent within the first year after purchase on raising it to that level through, for example, home insulation, up to the amount of stamp duty they paid when they bought the property (up to a maximum of £1000). This will help to cut pollution and save energy and give a valuable boost to the housing market.

Protecting the Community

Over the past ten years recorded crime has risen faster than at any time in our history. Meanwhile, prison conditions have deteriorated and the public has lost confidence in the criminal justice system. Liberal Democrats will reverse this trend by:

Ensuring a Decent Income for All

The tax and social security systems are long overdue for reform. Our objectives are to simplify and integrate the two systems, to mount a determined assault on poverty and dependence, and to protect our citizens from want.

We will work towards the eventual creation of a new 'Citizen's Income', payable to all irrespective of sex or status. For pensioners, the Citizen's Income will be well above the present pension, and for everyone else it will be about £12.80 a week (at present prices). Unpaid work will at last be recognised as valuable. Women caring in the home, for example, will receive an independent income from the state for the first time. The Citizen's Income will be buttressed by a single benefit for those in need, unifying income support and family credit, with supplements for people with disabilities and for child-care support. These reforms will ensure that every citizen is guaranteed a decent minimum income, whether or not they are in employment. Our immediate priorities, which will act as steps towards the Citizen's Income, include:

A Citizen's Pension

At present many people do not receive the full basic state pension. If they have not paid enough tax because they have not earned enough during their working lives, people have to rely on means-tested benefits when they retire. Women in particular are badly affected, because they tend to have the lowest paid jobs and to spend several years looking after children.

Liberal Democrats believe that a pension should be a right for everyone. We will ensure that the basic state pension is paid as of right and end means testing for our poorest senior citizens.

We will introduce Housing Cost Relief, weighted towards those in need and available to house buyers and renters. People holding mortgages will have the choice of moving to housing cost relief or continuing to receive mortgage interest tax relief.

Widening Horizons: Investing in the Arts

The arts benefit us in two ways. First, access to the arts is intrinsic to a high quality of life. Second, the cultural sector - the arts, crafts, design, and audiovisual industries - make as great a net contribution to the economy as does the oil industry.

We will:

Encouraging a Fit, Active and Healthy Society

Sport is important for the economic, social and health benefits which it can bring and for its ability to enhance community identity.

Liberal Democrats will:

Guaranteeing Equal Opportunities

A forward-looking society places an equal value on the contribution of all its citizens - and benefits from the participation of all. Yet in today's Britain many groups of individuals are systematically discriminated against by a society which fails to recognise their right to equality of opportunity.

Liberal Democrats will:

5. Britain's Partners: European Partnership for the New Century

Liberal Democrats will take decisive steps towards a fully integrated, federal and democratic European Community. We believe that by sharing sovereignty and pooling power, Britain and its partners will be better able to achieve common goals for the economy, the environment, society and security than by acting alone. Our aim is to create a citizens' Europe in which power lies as close to the citizen as possible.

Making Britain's European Presidency Work

Very few of the proposals that we have set out in the preceding sections will be successful unless Britain is prepared to work in partnership within the Community. Following Maastricht, yet again Britain risks being left behind while the rest of Europe moves on.

Liberal Democrats want Britain to play a full role in creating a dynamic and democratic Europe. We will use Britain's six-month tenure of the Presidency of the Community's Council of Ministers to make a start on the real tasks that lie ahead: building a prosperous and integrated economy; correcting the democratic deficit, making Europe work for its citizens, not its institutions; widening the Community's membership; and helping to create a peaceful and stable new world order. We cannot expect Britain to influence the direction the Community takes in the next decade unless it is a full and enthusiastic member.

Our vision of the new Europe is of a federal community, where power is exercised at the lowest level consistent with good government. For us, federalism means decentralisation: passing powers down more than passing them up. The creation of Scottish, Welsh and English regional Parliaments therefore goes hand in hand with the promotion of more European cooperation and partnership, ensuring access to power for individuals and their communities right across Europe.

Building a Citizen's Europe

January 1993 will bring the single market. Economic and monetary union will follow by the end of the decade. Yet the Community is still too much an organisation for businessmen and bureaucrats instead of citizens and communities. We want to mould Europe's future in the interests of Europe's people.

Our priorities are:

Creating a New Democracy in Europe

The Communitiy's structure gives far too much weight to the Council of Ministers at the expense of the European Parliament, and, most importantly, of the individual citizen. Further moves to European union, and enlargement, must depend on the institutions of the EC becoming truly democratic.

We will:

Further moves to European Union, and enlargement, must depend on the institutions of the European Community becoming truly democratic.

Sharing Security; Working for Peace

The Gulf War and its aftermath have shown the crucial need for stronger and more effective world institutions capable of upholding international law and enforcing respect for human rights. Britain must ensure that the Community plays a pivotal role in the construction of a new security order in Europe, following the democratisation of Eastern and Central Europe. New initiatives for disarmament and for sharing security burdens will enable further reductions in levels of armaments to be made without endangering security. On the global stage, a stronger United Nations will be needed to underpin cooperation in tackling the world's problems.

We will:

Developing Global Prosperity

A secure, democratic and peaceful world can never be created while so much of the globe remains so desperately poor. Britain must play its part in developing prosperity, protecting the world environment, eradicating poverty, famine and disease, and promoting human rights and international cooperation.

This will include:

6. Britain's Democracy: Electoral and Constitutional Reform

Liberal Democrats, alone in British politics, recognise that unless we change Britain's system of government, we cannot change Britain's future. Without constitutional reform, we will not achieve our other objectives.

We believe in citizenship, not subjecthood - in the ability of all individuals to exercise power over the institutions that govern their lives. The creation of a modernised democracy therefore lies at the heart of our proposals.

We recognise too that Britain's success in the next century will depend not just on changing what we do, but in changing the way in which we do it. However worthy its intentions, and however able its personnel, no government will be able to put Britain right unless and until it has modernised our constitution.

Fair Voting for an Effective Parliament

Our current 'winner takes all' system of voting has many faults. It is unfair, unstable and divisive. Government by minority is usually bad government: in no truly democratic country could a disaster like the poll tax have been pushed through in defiance of public opinion, wasting billions of pounds and causing misery to millions of people. Our top priority is therefore the introduction of fair votes for all elections at all levels of government.

Fair votes will make every elector's vote count. It will increase citizens' control over their elected representatives, by abolishing safe seats. It will eradicate the power of the extremist minority in political parties. It will lead to a better choice of candidates and ensure that more women and candidates from minority ethnic communities are elected. Above all, it will reduce tit-for-tat politics and introduce much greater stability into government, allowing individuals and businesses alike to plan for their future with confidence.

We will:

Bringing Power to the People

Our system of government is far too centralised, and fails to make effective use of the talents and skills available across the country. We believe that political power is best exercised at the most local level possible, consistent with good government.

We will:

Strengthening Local Government

The current Government's approach to local government finance - most notably through the poll tax fiasco - has been to destroy the independence of local authorities by reducing their powers to raise and spend revenue. The Liberal Democrats approach is exactly the opposite: we aim to take power away from Westminster and Whitehall, giving new powers to stronger, more independent and more democratic local councils - elected by fair votes.

We will:

Consulting Local Citizens

Local Democrats want local councils to be as responsive and accountable to their local citizens as possible. We will introduce across the country an initative pioneered by Liberal Democrat-run councils such as South Somerset and Richmond.

We will require every council to conduct an annual survey of all its residents to gauge their views on the quality of local services. A summary of the results of the survey, compared to the previous year's findings, will be published with the annual demand for local income tax, so that every resident is able to tell what their council is achieving with the money they pay.

Ensuring Citizens' Rights and Opportunities

No citizen is truly free unless all are. Individual citizens and minority communities themselves need protection against the power of the state and against discrimination and unfair treatment. Citizens must have rights of access to information about decisions taken by public authorities in their name.

We will:

Working for Peace: Northern Ireland

Liberal Democrats reject simplistic solutions for Northern Ireland. We aim to confront the legitimate fears and aspirations of both communities. We accept that both the Unionist and Nationalist traditions are valid and legitimate; that Northern Ireland should remain a part of the UK until the free consent of the majority of its people is given to change; that the Republic of Ireland has a legitimate interest in the future of Northern Ireland; and that a partnership in government which allows both communities to participate is the only practical way in which to make progress.

Together with the Alliance Party, our sister party and the only non-sectarian political party in Northern Ireland, we believe that mutual respect, shared responsibilities and decentralised government are the only basis for a lasting solution to the troubles of Northern Ireland. We will work together to:

Our Pledge

What has been set out in these pages is a programme that could change Britain for good.

We could become a country of citizens, not subjects, striving for excellence rather than settling for second best. We could be economically prosperous, environmentally responsible and educated to our full potential. But the obstacle to national success is the British system of government itself. Until that outdated charade is swept away, Britain's decline will continue, whatever government may be in power.

That is why Liberal Democrats are putting constitutional change at the heart of our election campaign. The reform of our outdated and undemocratic voting system in particular is the change which will make other reforms possible and is the key to a successful future.

Because we believe in stable democratic government supported by a majority of the British people, we shall not only campaign wholeheartedly for fair votes in the coming weeks, we also make a pledge for the period after the election. Our aim will be the creation of stable government for a whole Parliament and a more democratic basis for future elections. Liberal Democrats will neither support nor participate in a government which turns its back on reform. Any minority government which tries to play games with the constitution in order to cling to power, promoting instability and dodging the moral challenge of democracy, will have to contend with us.

That is our pledge.


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Last Modified: Monday, 22-Oct-2012 14:00:32 BST