Today Lib Dem MPs voted in support of the government's welfare reforms. As a result, from April, thousands of seriously sick and disabled people will lose support. As a result, severely disabled children will never be able to live their lives independently and with dignity. As a result, cancer patients and other people with long term, serious and degenerative conditions, in some cases terminal, will be expected to go through stressful work capability assessments. As a result, policy made by Lib Dem conference, just last September, is no longer worth the paper it is written on and the same applies to our party's constitution. As a result, we will see, up and down the country, human misery and human suffering by incredibly vulnerable people on a truly devastating scale. We will see deaths and we will see suicides because of the way Lib Dem MPs voted tonight and because of their failure to get the government to make it's policies ones which were humane instead of ones which were aimed first and foremost at balancing the books on the backs of those too weak to fight back.
As far as I am concerned, this means war. I will be doing all in my power to get this debated and condemned at our spring conference in Gateshead. And I will do all I can to make sure that our MPs, who betrayed the party, betrayed our principles and betrayed tens of thousands of vulnerable people, will have time to reflect on the suffering they have just caused.
Before the vote took place I wrote this email to Jenny Willott MP, the party's disability spokesperson:
I am writing to you as a fellow member of the Liberal Democrats and as the original author of the Liberal Youth motion on ESA at our autumn confence last September.
I was listening to your speech today in the House of Commons prior to the vote on the Lords' amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill and I will make no secret of the fact that I was bitterly disappointed by what you said. I personally feel that you have completely missed, not only the spirit and the letter of the policy made only four months ago, but also what I imagine most Liberal Democrat members would consider fundamental liberal values on support and protection on the vulnerable.
At time of writing, the vote on the Bill has not yet taken place but, from your speech, I can already see that my fears about the vote are almost certain to be proved correct.
As such I intend to submit an emergency motion to spring conference and to ask and encourage every conference rep I know to question and hold both you and all our other MPs to account for your voting record on the Welfare Reform Bill. However, before I do so I would very much like to be sure that the emergency motion I intend to submit is accurate and that I am not misjudging you or your speech due to potential lack of information on my part. As such I would very much appreciate it if you might find time in your, no doubt busy, schedule to discuss this issue with me.
Yours sincerely,It is deeply depressing to see my worst fears confirmed. I am filled with rage at this. It is utterly, utterly disgusting what our MPs (and peers) have done and I will do all I can to make sure that this issue is brought well and truly to the eyes of the membership, the media and the public at our spring conference.
George W. Potter
I swear, if it takes me my whole life, I will not rest until there has been a reckoning on this. From now on, it's war to the hilt for the liberal principles, policies and values that our party leadership seems to have thrown in the rubbish bin along with their integrity.