Ed Miliband has found his voice.
He today said “If they [Lib Dems] are in favour of new politics they should start by keeping their promises and reflecting the will of those who put them into parliament. If they are not in favour of these Tory policies they should stand up for what they believe or leave the cabinet. They can come and work with us. My door is always open.”
Could this be the end for the coalition?
In an atmosphere with heightened tension after the aggressive AV campaign, and after such heavy Lib Dem losses in the very recent elections, Miliband could have chosen the optimum time to launch an offensive in this manner. While a mass scale exodus is unlikely yet, a trickle of MPs may be enough to put possibility into the opposition of more extreme right wing policies.
Although Vince Cable has committed to remain in coalition he said:
“Some of us never had many illusions about the Conservatives, but they have emerged as ruthless, calculating and thoroughly tribal.”
Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown added: “We are bloody but unbowed. We have been here before and have always confounded the prophets of doom. But what makes this particularly hard to bear is the widespread, and in my view justified, feeling in the party that the Tories were either allowed to – or encouraged to – join a national vilification of our party leader and seem to have benefited from that.”
The next week could be a tell-tale sign for the future of the Liberal Democrats.