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Labour running scared of the Liberal Democrats

December 10, 2004 1:59 PM

Cabinet Minister Peter Hain has predicted that disillusioned Labour voters will defect to the Liberal Democrats at the General Election. Speaking to The Birmingham Post, Peter Hain, Leader of the House of Commons, revealed his fears that former Labour supporters who opposed the war in Iraq could back the Lib Dems at the next General Election.

He said the loss of votes to Charles Kennedy's party, which opposed the Iraq war, was "the most dangerous thing" threatening Labour's majority. The comments followed an analysis by academics at Strathclyde University of voting patterns across the country. Mr Hain said the predicted swing to the Liberal Democrats would cost his party seats.

Mr. Hain was reluctant to be drawn on the reasons why former Labour supporters might defect but said "Iraq is an issue. There might be others. If you have been in power for nearly eight years then it is bound to happen. It is the lot of Government that you become less and less popular."

In the four most recent by-elections, former Labour voters have switched to the Lib Dems, who took 2 of the seats and came close in the others, while the Tories were pushed right down to third place.