In the run up to the June 2017 General Election Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has stated there are “no circumstances whatsoever” in which the Liberal Democrats would go into a coalition with either the Conservatives, or Labour. Farron has also said: “Britain desperately needs a decent functioning opposition and that without question is the Liberal Democrats”.
As someone with the option of voting for Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert in Cambridge I’m concerned that Tim Farron’s approach will constrain the potential influence of Julian Huppert as Cambridge’s next MP. When Cambridge sends someone to Parliament I want that person to seek to form a Government and, in a coalition to try and influence what the Government does. I don’t want to send someone who’ll be happy in opposition.
In the event of a hung Parliament I’d like to see MPs meet in the House of Commons irrespective of if a Government in place or not. I’d like to see them publicly negotiate over a programme for Government, and who would make up that Government.
During Tim Farron’s visit to Cambridge on the 27th of April 2017 I had the opportunity to speak to Julian Huppert; the transcript of our exchange is below:
Richard Taylor : So won’t Tim Farron’s plans not to go into coalition, won’t they reduce your influence in the next Parliament?
Julian Huppert : I think the key thing is that we’re fighting to actually make a difference now, so we’ll get as much influence as we can. But frankly you can’t to a deal with hard Brexit Tories under Theresa May; what she want to do is so alien to us.
Richard Taylor : You were so influential in 2010-2015 – you’re not going to have that opportunity again under Farron’s plans are you?
Julian Huppert : Well thank you. But let me just finish, but also I don’t see how you can do a deal with Labour, they’ve said they won’t do a deal with anyone either, but also frankly Jeremy Corbyn can’t do a deal with his own party. I just don’t think there’s an opportunity…
Richard Taylor : He [Farron] is leading you into opposition. Are you happy with that – going into opposition?
Julian Huppert : Well there was a poll in the Daily Star which said according to their poll there would be a LibDem majority Government. That’s what I’d most like to see; I’m not putting any money on it yet.
Minders accompanying Tim Farron said he is scheduled to make a number of trips to Cambridge during the campaign, with the next one being in about ten days time. Farron’s entourage didn’t appear too enthusiastic about the number of building sites which are on the leader’s itinerary for the next few weeks.
Cllr Susan van de Ven acted as Farron’s chauffeur. Farron sat in the front passenger seat of a silver Toyota Aygo.
A screenshot of Tim Farron appearing behind Julian Huppert has proved popular on Twitter:
— Richard Taylor (@RTaylorUK) April 27, 2017