THE LiBERAl Democrats are “the Morrisons of our day,” one of their former ministers has said.
Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne has branded his party the political equivalent of the Yorkshire supermarket firm while questioning the conference message.
Mr Browne said the party’s positioning showed a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the current political reality and mocked the Lib Dems’ “stronger economy, fairer society” conference slogan, repeatedly used by Mr Clegg in broadcast interviews.
Voters will not be won over by a party that makes reining in others and banning things its main pitch, he told the ResPublica conference fringe.
He added: “I think we need a message, I don’t just mean in this election but for the next 10 years, about what we believe in, what do we stand for as a party.”
While Ukip and the SNP are like Aldi and Lidl, the Lib Dems are like Morrisons, he said.
“The Lib Dems are the Morrisons of our day. We have to think what are we offering the customers that goes beyond those who shop at Morrisons out of habit or because it is the nearest to their home.”
“At the moment we are heavily reliant on habit and geographic proximity.”
Mr Browne also appeared to take a swipe at Mr Clegg over his failure to appear in public with a cigarette despite being a smoker.
A large part of Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s appeal was the fact he smokes, he told the fringe.
Mr Browne was unexpectedly sacked as a Home Office minster in October last year.