Nick Clegg’s decisions in government are damaging the party’s image, the former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has said in a scathing film to be aired on the BBC.
In the five minute film Mr Kennedy outlines what he sees as the party’s key difficulties in government – their failure to prevent a rise in tuition fees, the AV referendum defeat, electoral decline in Scotland and England, David Laws’s resignation, Chris Huhne’s indiscretions and the UK riots
“In the words of the song ‘If I could turn back time’”, he says, “Well, in the Lib Dems we can’t. We’ve had twelve months of real grind in government and with it policy splits at the top, electoral setbacks – some of them very severe – the loss of the AV referendum, and more recently and disturbingly the riots on the streets.”
He fails to mention a single Liberal Democrat achievement in government, before concluding, “Although I take the view that former leaders should be seen occasionally and not heard too often, if I did have one wee word of advice for Nick Clegg, it would be this: at the moment there is a sense that we are trying to fight on too many fronts at the same time.”
The film suggests that the Liberal Democrats would have been better off now if they had not formed a coalition with the Conservatives and implies that Nick Clegg has made too many empty promises, which has damaged the party’s image.
Mr Kennedy failed to make an appearance at the Lib Dem party conference earlier this month despite being booked to attend a number of events. His aides cite a family illness as the reason for his non-attendance, but the film clearly shows his dissatisfaction with the party and with Nick Clegg.
Meanwhile at the conference last month, president of the Lib Dems, Tim Farron, attacked the Conservatives in his speech while remaining supportive of the current leadership.