"The Labour Party will probably lose its fourth General Election in a row, thus opening the way for a resurgence of Liberal strength in Great Britain," Mark Bonham-Carter, a leader of the British Liberal Party, predicted yesterday.
Bonham-Carter told a Gov 112 audience that "the increasingly affluent society in the United Kingdom does not want a Party connected with socialism and the labor unions" and asserted that the necessary "re-alignment of parties after the next election" will force Labour to the extreme left and leave a vacuum for the Liberal Party.
"The present Liberal Party is in a very weak position because of the British electoral system," Bonham-Carter claimed. He said that the Liberal Party is committed to election reform because "the present system does not provide government by majority."
Election of 1951
As an example, he pointed to the General Election of 1951, in which the Tories had 500,000 fewer votes than the Labour Party, but still won control of the Government.
Although the Liberals are not in power, Bonham-Carter said, many of their policies, particularly those concerning the Common Market and disarmament, have been taken over by the Conservative and Labour Parties.
In the last Parliamentary election," he said, "I urged British acceptance of the Common Market and lost my seat in a rural district to a Conservative claiming that the Market would be the ruin of the farmer."
"Today," Bonham-Carter noted, "the MacMillan government is leading Great Britain into the Common Market," a step the Liberals have urged "for some time."
"All political parties everywhere are in favor of disarmament," Bonham-Carter asserted. He said that the Liberals are willing to contribute conventional forces to Western defense, but that they "don't want nuclear arms for Great Britain."
"The Liberal Party wants to see negotiations on Berlin, provided Western access rights are guaranteed," Bonham-Carter said.