Working with Others: the Lib-Lab Pact, 1977-78

From March 1977 to October 1978, the Liberal Party kept Jim Callaghan’s Labour government in power through the Lib-Lab Pact. Labour ministers consulted systematically with Liberal spokespeople across a wide range of policy areas.

Arguably, the Pact restored a degree of political and economic stability to the country, but its achievements from a Liberal point of view were highly limited and it did not appear to be popular with the country at large.

Yet, in the longer term, the Pact can be seen to have paved the way for the concept of different political parties working together which led in the following decade to the LiberalSDP Alliance and may ultimately lead to coalition government at Westminster.

Twenty years on from the Pact, key participants from both sides discuss its history and impact.

Speakers: David Steel (Leader of the Liberal Party 1976-88); Tom McNally (Head of the Prime Ministers Political Office 1976-79); Michael Steed (President of the Liberal Party 1978-79, and academic psephologist). Chair: Geoff Tordoff (Chairman of the Liberal Party 1976-79).

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