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Cabinet Minister, Andrew Adonis, argues that Labour and Liberal Democrats are natural coalition allies

Photo Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis was once actively courted by the Conservatives because of his commitment to education reform but the former Liberal Democrat uses a column for The Independent to woo LibDem voters and to argue that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are natural allies...

Throughout history Labour and the Liberals have been natural allies: "Philosophically it is a nonsense to pretend that the Lib Dems – or the "Social and Liberal Democrats" to give the party its original name – are equidistant between left and right, or Labour and Tory. The Liberal party of Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George fought the Tories relentlessly to introduce democracy and social rights. Keynes and Beveridge – Liberals both – produced the rationale and the blueprint for the modern welfare state enacted by Attlee's Labour government after 1945."

Today, Labour and the LibDems have very few fundamental differences: "Apart from the issue of proportional representation for elections to the Commons, where the Lib Dems have an obvious vested interest, and Iraq (a bitter disagreement but now largely behind us), the Lib Dems have not set out fundamental differences of principle with New Labour. The Lib Dems have supported our investment in the public services, radical constitutional reform, equal rights, fair taxation, environmental protection and positive engagement in Europe."

Labour and the Liberal Democrats must unite against the Conservatives: "Over the past week we have stood together against the reckless Tory plan to cut £6bn from public services and reverse the NI increase. We both oppose David Cameron's inheritance tax cuts for the rich. We both pledge credibly to invest in the high-tech economy and protect and improve education, health, support for children and pensioners, and public transport. Neither of us will disengage from Europe. We both want to see a fully elected second chamber and a referendum of voting reform for the Commons. Over recent months I have engaged closely with Norman Baker, the Lib Dem transport spokesman, on plans for high speed rail between London and Scotland – a transformational policy for future prosperity and national cohesion. The Tories refused to engage, even though they claim to support high-speed rail."

With a hung parliament possible, Mr Adonis is making it clear to Liberal Democrats that Labour is on their side. He does not need to persuade Clegg. He is encouraging the natural political inclinations of Lib Dem supporters in a way that would make it very hard for Mr Clegg to support a minority Conservative government. Read the full article.

Tim Montgomerie