The 2010 election left the Liberal Democrats holding the balance of power. They agreed a coalition government with the Conservative Party, and for the first time in 65 years Liberal ministers sat on the government benches in Parliament. The coalition provided stable government until 2015, and enabled the Liberal Democrats to put many of the policies on which they had fought the election into practice. But there were also disappointments, particularly over constitutional reform, and many Liberal Democrat achievements were not visible to the public. The 2015 election at the end of the coalition was a catastrophe, costing the party two-thirds of its vote and four-fifths of its MPs.
Michael Meadowcroft was Liberal MP for Leeds West from 1983 to 1987, confounding sceptics to win a solidly inner-city seat by using the community politics approach which he had helped to develop over the preceding fifteen years. He was the main, indeed very nearly the only, philosopher of applied Liberalism within the old Liberal Party […]
Bill Rodgers – one of the Gang of Four who founded the SDP, and now (as Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank) the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords – was born in Liverpool on 28 October 1928 and named William Thomas Rodgers. His father was employed for forty years by the […]
As the byelection car cavalcade drove slowly through a council estate in Warrington, Shirley Williams, microphone in hand, was drumming up support for SDP candidate Roy Jenkins. Standing precariously on the front seat, her head and shoulders poking through the sun-roof, Williams was in her element. As she passed a broken-down car, its grease-stained owner […]
Review of Ken Clarke, Kind of Blue: A political memoir (Macmillan, 2016); David Cameron, For the Record (William Collins, 2019); Oliver Letwin, Hearts and Minds: The battle for the Conservative Party from Thatcher to the present (Biteback Publishing, 2017).
Review of Edward Fieldhouse, Jane Green, Geoffrey Evans, Jonathan Mellon, Christopher Prosser, Hermann Schmitt, and Cees van der Eijk, Electoral Shocks: The volatile voter in a turbulent world (OUP, 2020).
National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE
Launch of Partnership & Politics in a Divided Decade, by husband-and-wife team Vince Cable and Rachel Smith.
This new book tells the inside story of Vince Cable’s political career during the turbulent decade of the 2010s. The book covers Vince’s time as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the Liberal Democrat – Conservative coalition government, from 2010 to 2015. Having lost his seat in the calamitous 2015 election, Vince returned to Parliament in 2017, and six weeks later was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats. The book includes his time as party leader and the Liberal Democrats’ role in the attempts to force a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal. Chair/interviewer: Anne Perkins, journalist and historian.
The 2015 election decisively ended the Liberal Democrats’ participation in government. Did what the party achieved in coalition between 2010 and 2015 justify the damage? Could the party have managed coalition better? The meeting marks the publication of the autumn Journal of Liberal History, a special issue on the policy record of the coalition.
Speakers: David Laws (Minister for Schools, 2012-15), Chris Huhne (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, 2010-12), Akash Paun (Institute for Government).
Chair: Jo Swinson (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Poster Affairs, 2012-15).