Wednesday, 29 September 2010

John Leech MP told me he abstained from coalition agreement

Jonathan Calder at Liberal England is puzzled as to why John Leech MP for Manchester Withington declared at a Labour conference fringe that he abstained from the vote on the coalition agreement.
In a moment of blogger fail I missed a chance to break some exclusive news. I can reveal that John Leech did tell me and LibDemKitty at the Liberal Democrat conference that he did abstain from this vote.
I suspect John Leech was happy for this news to be gently discovered, after all the Lib Dem MP's already know who abstained. Now bearing in mind that I had a little to drink and cannot remember the full details of what John Leech said to me that evening. I do remember that even though he supports the coalition agreement he couldn't vote for it. He gave me the impression that he was being pragmatic, after all he is the MP for the South of Manchester a seat won of Labour. I believe that in his heart of hearts he just could not do it. John Leech understands why as he wrote on his blog but he does also understand his electorate. An electorate that has a large labour vote (Labour had 44.7% and Liberal Democrats 40.5% this year). His seat is at risk as it is a seat where he is fighting Labour (although I suspect his vote is pure Lib Dem and some soft Tories which should keep him in).
John does agrees with the coalition given the circumstances, but he does understand that he will have a fight on his hands to keep his seat.
John Leech has done well to keep his seat this time round and indeed increase his majority. I do remember during the election some from Labour claiming they will win this seat back after all in 2005 John Leech only had a majority of 667.
John Leech certainly won't have a problem with any future coalition with Labour, after all he did say "The door is not shut on the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties working together.  Labour need to re-think the mistakes they made over the last thirteen years and get out of this immature opposition mentality that they appear to be so comfortable in now". (perhaps possible with Ed Miliband at the Labour helm given his speech at Labour conference).
So in summary, perhaps John Leech should of told his electorate first but it is now history. I do think he should let his electorate know now he has revealed this information through the local press or on his web site.

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