Lib Dems: Labour team sought to fail

THE LIBERAL Democrats last night retaliated to taunts from Lord Mandelson that the party had moved away from its progressive roots, claiming Labour never “took seriously” the prospect of forming a left-wing coalition to rival the Tories.

A Lib Dem spokesman said key Labour negotiators gave “every impression of wanting the process to fail” and were “determined to undermine any agreement”.

The barbed attack came as Lord Mandelson castigated the Liberals for abandoning their ambitions for progressive reform. He said: “They were creating so many different barriers and obstacles that perhaps…their interests lay on the Tory side...rather than on the progressive side.”

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg yesterday threw all his party’s eggs into one basket as he agreed to a formal coalition with the Tories, bringing to an end almost five days of tense negotiations after the general election.

Clegg, whose party won 57 seats at the election compared to the Tories’ 307 and Labour’s 258, has accepted the post of deputy Prime Minister in the coalition Parliament.