Following on from the Social Liberal Forum's open letter to Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander about the emergency budget, three prominent Liberal Democrat parliamentarians have echoed our concern on Capital Gains Tax. The FT reports that Lord Oakeshott, Malcolm Bruce and new Lib Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes also advising Nick Clegg not to capitulate. Simon Hughes told the FT that he was “trusting [the chancellor and chief secretary] will find a way of squaring the circle that colleagues in my party can sign up to and that will send a message to colleagues around the edges that they can’t suddenly change the game after the rules have been agreed”. Lord Oakeshott, Lib Dem Treasury spokesman in the Lords, urged Mr Osborne to turn a deaf ear to the “great deal of noise” from right-wing MPs, who were “trying to chip away at this agreed programme”. “Taper relief, as Vince Cable [the Lib Dem business secretary] has made clear, is an open invitation to avoidance. It is complicated and just does not work,” he said in the House of Lords debate on the Queens Speech last week. Finally Malcolm Bruce told the FT that he would “share the unease if they backed off too much and weren’t able to raise the income tax threshold.” Meanwhile, our own letter has been reported prominently in the Guardian today.
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