A Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords has called for his party to leave the coalition in order to avoid electoral meltdown. The Sun reports that Lord Oakeshott believes the Liberals should walk out of government “straight after” next month’s European Elections.
Oakeshott is a close friend and ally of the Business Secretary Vince Cable. He pointed out that the Liberal Democrats have traditionally relied on a protest vote, or “piss off vote” as he referred to it. However in recent years this vote has gone to UKIP.
As a result the Liberal Democrats have lost huge amounts of support. They polled 23 percent in the 2010 general election but are only around 9 percent today. A recent survey also showed that amongst students their support has dropped from 50 percent to 6.
Lord Oakeshott, said: “We must give ourselves a year to get our own message firmly across.
“I don’t think the country is going to listen to us properly if we’re still in Government. It’s not in the country’s interest for our distinctive message not to be heard.”
Sir Malcolm Bruce MP was quick to distance the mainstream of the Liberal Democrats from his colleague’s views, saying: “Lord Oakeshott doesn’t speak for anyone but himself.” Vince Cable also pointed out that he did not agree with the peer.
Oakeshott is known as a loose cannon, last year he called for Nick Clegg to be removed as party leader. The peer pointed out that Clegg’s poll rating are as bad as Michael Foots were when he led the Labour Party. Eventually Foot scored one of the worst results ever for Labour against Margaret Thatcher in the 1983 general election.