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Indeed, I shall get on to defending the Government's record, but before I do it is highly desirable to say something about the Labour party.
In putting down this motion, the Labour party has shown scant regard for the other parties in the House. I have read that there is a close relationship between the Labour leader and the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown), but when push came to shove there was no prior consultation about the motion, just the arrogant certainty that the Liberal Democrats—that refuge for the flotsam and jetsam of political life—will meekly follow Labour into the Lobby. No doubt that contemptuous assumption is well founded, but Liberal Democrats need to understand how much they are taken for granted and how little they are regarded by those by whom they sit.