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Who are the Liberal Democrats?

A new generation of ambitious politicians has finally won a share of power for their party. But the rise of this hard-headed, centre-right group will not go unchallenged

By James Crabtree   July 2010

On 4th June, BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz began with the week’s big story: the resignation of David Laws, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the treasury. “Which axeman was first for the chop?” asked host Sandi Toksvig, as panellists joked that Laws’s use of his parliamentary expenses marked the first “proper” scandal of the new government. Toksvig—a Liberal Democrat supporter herself—then asked with mock pride: “So do you think this makes the Lib Dems finally a proper political party?” The jibe brought laughter from the audience, but was, in truth, a fair question. After a 20 year struggle…

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