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Don’t throw baby out with bathwater, warns Kennedy

Charles Kennedy has warned that the Tory-Liberal Democrat Government “should not throw the baby out with the bathwater” with its spending cuts programme.

The former LibDem leader said he did not want to become an “irritant” or someone who was “sniping from the sidelines”.

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But in a move that reveals the depth of concern within the coalition’s junior partner over the drastic cuts agenda announced in recent months, Mr Kennedy warned of the danger that the measures could do more harm than good, especially on issues such as education.

Speaking yesterday to BBC Alba after addressing fresher students in his role as rector of Glasgow University, Mr Kennedy said: “Well of course my position, as everybody knows, was that I was the one who abstained on the original coalition agreement.

“Now that it is in place we have to make a success of it, I’m not interested in being an irritant or sniping from the sidelines.

“I don’t think you can rule anything in or out at this stage as you have to see what actual figures are put in front of the House of Commons and I think you have to judge it then.”

But he added: “We have to be terribly careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater because trying to provide education services in the Highlands, or in the Borders … inescapably, that is going to cost you more per capita … than it is in the central belt or in metro- politan England.”

Last month Mr Kennedy had to deny claims that he was planning to defect to the Labour Party.

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