Harriet Harman launches massive attack on Liberal Democrats
Harriet Harman's response to the Budget was remarkable for the ferocity with which she went for the Liberal Democrats. The plain text does not capture the anger and loathing she demonstrated for the junior partners in the Coalition but here it is:
"This reckless Tory Budget would not be possible without the Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems denounced early cuts; now they are backing them.
They denounced VAT increases; now they are voting for them.
How could they support everything they fought against?
How could they let down everyone who voted for them?
How could they let the Tories so exploit them?
Do they not see that they are just a fig leaf?
The Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary is just the Chancellor’s fig leaf.
The Deputy Prime Minister is just the Prime Minister’s fig leaf.
The Lib Dems’ leaders have sacrificed everything they ever stood for to ride in ministerial cars and to ride on the coat tails of the Tory Government.
Twenty-two Liberal Democrat ministerial jobs have been bought at the cost of tens of thousands of other people’s.
The Liberal Democrats used to stand up for people’s jobs, but now they only stand up for their own.
Look at the Business Secretary, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable).
The House has noticed his remarkable transformation in the past few weeks from national treasure to Treasury poodle.
They have no mandate for this Budget; this Budget has no legitimacy.
Even if the Lib Dems will not speak up for jobs, we will.
Even if they will not fight for fairness, we will, and even if they will not protest against Tory broken promises, we will."
There is no sign - yet - in the polls that the Liberal Democrats are suffering for being part of the Coalition but I expect Labour's number one aim - once a leader is chosen - to significantly erode Liberal Democrat support in Scotland, Wales (where there are elections next year) and in northern cities.
If the LibDems start retreating badly in left leaning parts of the country I expect Clegg/Hughes/Cable will look for an early opportunity to break free. Once, of course, they have electoral reform in the bag.