Today Tim Farron has written to Harriet Harman, calling on Labour to stand with the Liberal Democrats in opposing Tory welfare cuts.
His letter comes a day after 184 Labour MPs abstained on the Government's Welfare Bill, which includes £12bn worth of ideological cuts, which the Liberal Democrats opposed in Coalition, and continue to oppose now. A copy of Tim's letter is below.
The Conservative Government last night brought forward plans for £12bn of cuts to welfare that will directly impact millions of people across the country including the poorest families in our constituencies.
The Conservatives do not need to make these cuts, especially at the same time as giving tax breaks to millionaires.
The people who will be hit by these changes need someone to give them a voice in Parliament and fight their corner, and last night Labour failed to stand up for them.
You have said that you do not want to oppose absolutely every saving that the Government suggests, but these cuts will hurt the poorest in our communities.
Cuts to employment support allowance, lowering the benefit cap and slashing tax credits for those in low paid work are not policies that any progressive should support.
Labour claim to be a party who believes in social justice. If that is true, then they must join with the Liberal Democrats in voting against these cruel and excessive cuts.
We are consistent in our opposition. In Government we blocked these measures and in opposition we are voting against them.
I am disappointed by Labour’s confusion over this Bill. To give in to the narrative that the answer to our country’s needs is to pit the poorest in the country against one another is shameful.
Labour must join us in providing opposition to this Government’s plans. Your economic credibility cannot be built by simply backing Tory plans that hit the working poor.
The Liberal Democrats will stand up for families, whether they are hard-working or just desperate to be hard-working. We will not let the Conservatives, by their choices, or your party’s failure to oppose these plans unpick our welfare system.
Tim Farron MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats