Lib Dem “shield” for Conservatives

The Liberal Democrats have become a 'human shield' for the Tories and are taking 'all of the flak' for the coalition government, according to Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.

The Liberal Democrats have become a 'human shield' for the Tories and are taking 'all of the flak' for the coalition government, according to Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.

Despite the drubbing suffered by his party at the polls last week, and policy differences on the NHS between the coalition parties, he emphasised that the Lib Dems are in partnership in government with the Conservatives 'in the long term'. But Mr Lamb, the chief parliamentary adviser to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, also said that his party has no underlying preference for the Tories over Labour.

He told BBC Two's Daily Politics programme: 'In a sense we have become a bit of a human shield in the coalition. We have taken all the flak for some of the positions that have been taken by this government. Whether that's inevitably the case for the junior partner I don't know... but we are in this for the long term.'

Asked if the Lib Dems would rather be in coalition with Labour, he replied: 'We are an independent party, and we don't regard ourselves in any sense as an adjunct to either the Conservative Party or the Labour Party. That's the answer to your question. There is no preference for either side.'


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The North Norfolk MP was speaking before a Commons debate on NHS reforms, and stressed that 'there have to be substantial changes and we'll make sure it's delivered'. He offered to quit the government last month in a conversation with Mr Clegg on the subject.

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