MP Laws tells Lib Dem peer to stop "throwing pebbles” at Nick Clegg
Westcountry Liberal Democrat MP David Laws has urged a leading critic of Nick Clegg to stop "throwing pebbles" and "share the load" in winning votes.
In an intervention before the party's conference, Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott has indicated the party should consider ditching their leader before the 2015 general election and warned the contest could be "disastrous" for the party unless it severs ties with the Conservatives months before going to the polls.
But Yeovil MP Mr Laws, a key adviser to Mr Clegg, warned few people were paying attention to the "noises off".
Mr Laws told the Western Morning News: "Matthew Oakeshott is a very bright and able person, but I think the vast majority of the party think this is not the time for people to be throwing pebbles at the leader.
"What Matthew and everybody should be doing is supporting the leader, and carrying their share of the load in taking our message out to the country and I think recognising most of the best things that this Government has done is a consequence of the Liberal Democrats being there in the coalition, and Nick Clegg sitting around the Cabinet table, ensuring policies like the increase in the tax-free allowance, the protection of annual pensioner benefits, the Pupil Premium that has helped schools across the country.
"All of those things have been done because of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. The over-whelming majority of Liberal Democrat supporters understand that, think Nick Clegg has been doing a fantastic job as leader and Deputy Prime Minister and frankly I don't think people are paying an awful lot of attention to these noises off, and they wish every single member of the Liberal Democrats was focusing on our opponents."
Mr Laws, who is drafting the 2015 Lib Dem manifesto, also put the kibosh on a super "mansion tax" proposed by Lib Dem president Tim Farron.
Mr Farron said yesterday it would hit the very richest even harder than the levy on homes worth more than £2 million which is already being championed by Lib-Dems.
He told the WMN: "Personally I don't think that's necessary. Under the mansion tax proposal, because you're paying 1% on any value above £2 million it's only on the amount of the value above £2 million. So if you have a property worth two million and one pound you will pay the 1% on the £1. But if you've got a £10 million house or a £50 million house you will be paying 1% on very large sums. It's a lot of money and a highly progressive policy. I don't think we need to go further than that because it's already a very significant way of raising money from people who have very large amounts of assets."
Full interview in tomorrow's newspaper