Futile gesture of no help at all

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I READ with no surprise at all the news of our MP’s vote in the recent debate. Mr. Stephen Lloyd stood for election as a Liberal Democrat and issued a number of campaign promises, including the one on the funding of education, in the sure and certain knowledge he would never be called upon to fulfil those promises nor have to deal with the financial consequences.

The Liberal Democrats were never going to be called upon to form a government.

Events took an unexpected turn and the Lib Dems found themselves, by virtue of more promises, made to the Conservative party this time, in the unlikely position of being part of the government.

Accordingly the Lib Dem party became part of the decision- making process rather than being in peripheral opposition.

This all on the basis of the agreement by the Lib Dems to support the largest elected group in parliament in order to form a stable government and therefore to govern this country.

So Mr Lloyd (pictured) by virtue of a set of happy chances, finds himself not only elected as a Member of Parliament but also part of the ruling coalition, a great and rather unexpected privilege.

I believe that with such a privilege come many responsibilities - not the least being the honouring of the agreement to support the government of which he has become a part.

He is a member of a great national institution, a party, one part of which has historically been both in government and in effective opposition and is more than capable of dealing with the harsh realities and uncomfortable truths which now confront our Government, the Coalition.

In my opinion he has, far from taking a stand on principle, reverted to being in ineffective opposition to distance himself from the unpopular decision which had to be taken, a slap in the face of the party to which he owes not only a promise of support but his opportunity to really influence government policy.

I feel Mr Lloyd has failed to honour the trust put in him by both his own party, the larger party to whom they have pledged, albeit conditional, support, the electorate of this country and this constituency.

A feeble attempt to justify this position by citing a campaign promise is somewhat disingenuous. He is not alone of course.

I should add I believe that the charging of tuition fees to students is fundamentally wrong.

Education should be free, fully funded by government and universally available. It is after all our only serious investment in the future of our country. This aim was not in any way assisted by the Mr Lloyd’s futile gesture.

R WHITEMAN

Hydney Street