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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 17:47 GMT
Defecting MP's statement in full
Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Paul Marsden has announced his defection from Labour to the Liberal Democrats.

Here is his statement in full:

This has been a tough decision. There's been a lot of agonising over many months.

Like more and more people in this country, I have lost confidence in the Labour government.

I've had enough of their obsession with control freakery and spin instead of policies which will really improve people's lives.

I'm sick and tired of giving the government the benefit of the doubt.

Labour's let people down but there is an effective alternative.

Having thought about this over many months, I am convinced that the Liberal Democrats stand for honest and credible policies which can change this country for the better.

The values which I find most important in politics are tolerance and integrity.

Genuine democracy

I have experienced enough Labour intolerance in recent weeks to last a lifetime.

I want to belong to a party which encourages debate and practises genuine internal democracy.

Tony Blair is behaving in an increasingly arrogant and presidential manner.

His party believes in threats and intimidation to crush internal dissent.

I have also been increasingly concerned that Labour has failed to deliver on its promises to the British people about improving schools, hospitals, pensions and the transport system.

I have found it harder and harder to look constituents in the eye and tell them that I think the government will improve our public services.

Whilst I fought for improvements in my own local hospital, many patients are still not getting vital treatment quickly enough.

This is not the fault of the doctors and nurses, but of successive Tory and Labour governments who have failed to provide enough money.

I am tired of the culture of spin. I find it increasingly hard to convince my constituents that public services are improving when they are not.

Fairer taxes?

Now it appears that the government is prepared to increase taxes to tackle the problem, but it did not say that at the General Election.

Having ruled out increasing the fairest tax - income tax - Labour will have to resort to less fair taxes.

The Liberal Democrats had the honesty and courage in the election campaign to point out that you cannot get something for nothing.

Their proposal for a new 50p rate of income tax on earnings above 100,000 a year is the fairest way to find the resources which are so urgently needed.

The emergency measures which Labour has drawn up to combat terrorism go well beyond what is necessary to meet the current threat and have grave implications for human rights and civil liberties.

Gratitude

The Liberal Democrats have mounted a principled and effective campaign to restrict the scope of this legislation.

I am grateful to the Lib Dems for the warm welcome which they are giving me.

I look forward to becoming an active member of my new party in Parliament and outside, and to continuing to serve my constituents in Shrewsbury and Atcham to the best of my ability.

See also:

10 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Labour MP defects to Lib Dems
05 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Colleagues 'attacked' me, says MP
22 Oct 01 | UK Politics
From disaffection to defection
09 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Lib Dems 'would welcome Marsden'
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