LABOUR members should be consulted at a recall conference before the party enters into a coalition with Liberal Democrats, party democracy campaigners urged yesterday amid fearmongering from the right-wing press.
Following days of Tory attacks over the legitimacy of a minority Labour government dependent on the support of Scottish nationalist MPs, yesterday’s Times screeched that leader Ed Miliband was “set to hold talks with union bosses within 48 hours of the polls closing.”
In fact, the basis for this claim was merely that Labour’s executive would meet to discuss potential arrangements in an emergency post-election meeting.
The paper implied that trade unions would prefer a deal with the SNP or a minority government to a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
But Campaign for Labour Party Democracy assistant secretary Jon Lansman said consulting the party structures outside of Parliament would be essential in keeping members on side.
“Our members have a right to be consulted,” he told the Star.
“It’s vital that the executive has a say, and I would argue that we should go further. If they really wanted they could hold a recall conference — the notice could go out on the Friday, and it could be held the following Saturday.”
And he warned an agreement with the Liberal Democrats would alienate much of Labour’s support and spark bitter opposition from party members.
“I think there’ll be enormous concerns about working with the Lib Dems after what they did following the last election,” he said.
“We’re also involved in a real battle with them in all of the urban seats they hold.”
Earlier this week Conservative Home editor Paul Goodman called for Tory members to be balloted before entering another coalition.