David Cameron PM & Nick Clegg Deputy PM outside 10 Downing Street

 

The Liberal Party of Sri Lanka extends its warmest congratulations to the British Liberal Democrats on their entry into government at Westminster. The Liberal Party of Britain was historically the party of gradual but continuous reform in Britain, expanding freedoms and promoting social justice, but without disruptive excesses. We believe it is ideally placed to take up again this historic role in the United Kingdom, in partnership with a Conservative Party that has a refreshingly modern outlook. 

The Liberal Party, and then the Liberal Democrats, after they coalesced with the Social Democratic segments of the Labour Party, have always received fewer seats in the British Parliament than their support warranted, because of Britain’s archaic electoral system. We in Sri Lanka have now escaped from that system. Though the current system we use has problems, there is universal agreement that a return to a winner takes all system would be inappropriate.  Parliament must be representative of the country as a whole, including minority concerns of whatever sort. 

We are glad therefore that the Liberal Democrats have secured a commitment to electoral reform. At the same time, given the problems Britain is facing, we appreciate the positive spirit in which the party entered into negotiations with both the Conservative and the Labour parties, while giving preference to those who represented a larger segment of the voting public. 

Britain now, after a long time, has a government for which a majority of its people have voted. This should enable the strong decisions that need to be taken. At the same time we believe that the Liberal commitment to social justice will ensure that the innate sensitivities of many Conservative politicians will triumph over attempts to promote doctrinaire solutions. 

In congratulating the new members of the Cabinet, we note in particular that an old and trusted friend of this country is the new Defence Minister. We hope too that the new Foreign Minister will work together with his Sri Lankan counterpart in a spirit of mutual trust based on their shared values. We take this opportunity also to congratulate the new Home Secretary, Teresa May, and to wish her well for the challenging tasks ahead. 

Above all however we congratulate the Liberal Democratic Ministers in the Cabinet, and in office, and all Members of Parliament from the party. They belong to a great tradition in British politics, and in world political thought. We look forward to their successful fulfillment of the trust the electorate has placed in them, in finally ensuring a change in the exclusionary system that Britain has suffered from for so long.   

 Rajiva Wijesinha, MP 

(Chairman, Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats) 

International Secretary, Sri Lanka Liberal Party

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