Huhne takes the fight to the Tories

By Ian Dunt

Chris Huhne used his conference speech today to dismantle the Conservative project from its foundations, in a fiercely hostile attack on David Cameron’s resurgent party.

The Lib Dem home affairs spokesman questioned the Conservatives’ commitment to progressive values and civil liberties, in a wide ranging speech designed to convince voters “the Tories don’t have to win”.

“Now that it’s clear beyond doubt that Labour can’t win, it’s time for us to take the gloves off with the Tories,” he said.

Mr Huhne launched a far-reaching assault on Tory claims to championing civil liberties. He highlighted their plans to remove checks on police surveillance, support for control orders and plans to roll back the Human Rights Act.

“Under a Tory government we would become the only Europeans without the right to go to our own courts to uphold the human rights accorded to every European,” he added.

“I don’t want second-class Tory justice. I want first-class fairness.”

He also highlighted Lib Dem successes in traditional policy areas associated with the Conservatives, like policing.

“What do the Conservatives stand for when they criticise Labour’s child poverty record, but admit that benefits and pensions will bear the full brunt of their cuts?” he asked.

“When they berate City bonuses, but refuse action against them? When they oppose the surveillance state, but want to make police snooping easier? When they say they are progressive, but want to shrink the means of giving people a helping hand up?

“This is policy by focus group, not principle. All things to all men, the Tories take up as many positions as the Kama Sutra.”