THE BLOG

Joining Together to Defeat the 'Bedroom Tax' Should Just Be the Start for Labour and the Lib Dems

08/09/2014 01:07 BST | Updated 07/11/2014 10:59 GMT

As a Social Liberal and a centre-left Liberal Democrat I was, of course, delighted last week when Labour and the Liberal Democrats came together to support Lib Dem MP Andrew George's Bill against the so-called bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax isn't quite dead yet, but it looks to be needing life support and only the most ardent Cameroons would seek to provide shock treatment to try and save it now.

However allegedly laudable the policy's original aims-or those of its drafters-the plain fact is, it was an ill thought through and needlessly harsh piece of legislation.

Plenty of people warned it'd cause harm and distress to many vulnerable people and, indeed, that you can't penalise people for not moving into a one-bedroom property when there's not one in their area for them to move into.

Or, at least in morally good conscience, you shouldn't be able to do so.

To be blunt my Party's ministers and MPs should never have backed this move but I welcome that they have assessed the evidence and listened to our Party's annual conference and have now recognised that it's an unworkable policy and should be rolled back.

I was at the Lib Dem Conference where the matter was debated and proudly voted for the Bedroom Tax to be reviewed (I'd have obviously voted for it to be abolished entirely had that been an option given to delegates.)

That review having been held and, indeed, having reported we now see the results.

Only the Tories continue to defend what has always been indefensible.

The Lib Dem hierarchy's change on this matter is interesting on a number of fronts, not least because it was a new point of agreement with the Labour Party.

It was an all-too-rare case of Labour and the Liberal Democrats coming together to defeat the Conservatives.

But, with polls continuing to point to another potential hung Parliament after next year's General Election - which could see both of the major parties seeking to form a majority Government by holding talks with the Lib Dems - it's certainly more than a little interesting to see the red and yellow teams working together in this way.

I think we may see more of these two parties working together before polling day in May next year.

Though no Coalition of usually warring political parties is ever perfect, many Lib Dem members certainly believe that we have more in common with Labour-in terms of principles and values-than we do with the Tories.

Of course many Labour members tell me their Party would never work with the Lib Dems again.

But, you know, it's funny how times can change.

Where there's a will there's a way.

It's not a certainty by any means - and my Party has to fight what is sure to be an extremely tough election and retain a sizeable number of MPs before it could even be considered-but don't rule out a centre-left, progressive Coalition of Labour and the Lib Dems emerging out of the fog of the election results.

Far stranger things have happened.