The Liberal Democrats are needed now more than ever

Lib Dem MEPs on stage at the Liberal Democrats conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

Lib Dem MEPs on stage at the Liberal Democrats conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Readers respond to Andrew Adonis' call for the Lib Dems to disband and to join the Labour Party.

Andrew Adonis asks whether the Liberal Democrats now have a reason to exist. The answer is plain: now more than ever.

It may pain him to acknowledge the fact, but the Lib Dems (and Liberal Party before them) have been constant in their support of the European project since it began, through periods when his own party were the sceptics to the present, when Labour has been taken over by a Euro-doubtful hard left.

The arrogance of his claim that "if the majority of social democrats were where they belong, in the Labour Party, we would have a more equal two-party system" beggars belief. If the majority of social democrats were where they belong, in the Liberal Democrats, we'd have a more plausible pro-EU opposition to Johnson. It's hardly the Lib Dems' fault the Tories demolished Labour's red wall.

Roger Hughes


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No, Andrew Adonis (TNE #175), the Lib Dems should not disband and join Labour.

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I loathe the Tories but I live in a rural area where Labour has always been an irrelevance. I joined the Liberals in 1979 and all through the nightmare of the Thatcher years we gained more council seats at each election, eventually won control of the council and took the parliamentary seat in 1997. Lib Dems can beat the Tories in areas like this, Labour can't.

As for joining Labour, I wouldn't want to be a member of a party that allows members of the Socialist Workers Party not only to join but to control it; or of a party whose leadership ignored a party conference vote to campaign for a second referendum on Brexit; or for a party controlled by Len McCluskey, Seumas Milne and their sock puppets Corbyn, Long-Bailey or whoever succeeds him.

Like Andrew Adonis, I hope Keir Starmer wins the Labour leadership but I am not holding my breath.

Richard Palmer


You might have expected Labour's catastrophic failure to prompt a little humility, but no. Instead Andrew Adonis is calling for the Lib Dems to be disbanded.

Inconvenient fact: while Labour's vote collapsed, the Lib Dems' increased by three times more than the Tories'. But because of our undemocratic electoral system, the Lib Dems actually ended up with fewer MPs.

The Lib Dems have more than 2,500 local councillors in England and Wales. Does Andrew Adonis want them to be forced to join the Labour or Conservative parties too? And to hell with those who voted for them?

Oh and by the way, does he want the Greens disbanded as well, and what about other Remain parties like Plaid and the SNP?

If this is the best Labour can do, they're going to be in the wilderness for a very long time.

John Withington

London NW1

The election was resoundingly lost not by the Lib Dems but by a spiteful and incompetent Labour party which ran full-on campaigns against us in all Lib-Con marginals, apparently more interested in preventing defectors like Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger from beating the Tories than actually winning the election. They also ran a concerted social media campaign against Jo Swinson herself.

Labour only win when the Lib Dems take some seats off the Tories which they cannot. A smart Labour Party would have sought to maximise this effect. Instead, they left their heartlands undefended and eschewed targeting other than to stymie Lib Dem success. This was a recipe for total disaster.

Ludovic Tolhurst-Cleaver

Trafford Lib Dems

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