Like many Lib Dems, I’ve been saddened by our party leadership’s silence over the last few days, with seemingly nothing to say about the current scandals at News International and the closure of the News Of The World. For me, if there was ever a good time to make it clear that Government policy, Conservative Party policy and Liberal Democrat policy are three separate things, it’s now.
I also think that is a time when we can use our presence in Government – and the fact that we’ve not been enmeshed in the Murdoch octopus – to make a real difference, and start demanding that David Cameron sever his, and his party’s, ties with News International. I was planning a post on these lines last night, and thought that I might write it in the morning, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that Jason O’Mahony had clearly been reading my mind and has come up with this speech for Nick Clegg:
It is my belief, and the belief of the Liberal Democrats, that News International is not fit to win control of this organisation, and it is a political decision that we will oppose. I have spoken to the prime minister and been very clear with him that this is a red line issue for us. If the culture secretary takes the political decision, and it is a political decision, to approve the takeover, I will lead this party out of government, and we will vote against the government in any subsequent motion of confidence.
Let me be clear: I do not want to bring this government down. This is a good government, led by a man I believe has good instincts and intentions. Believe me: no one will suffer more than the Liberal Democrats if there is an early election. But being in government for the Liberal Democrats means making decisions that are hard and right, and it is right that News International be prevented from expanding its malicious influence further into the media of our country.
Go read the whole thing.