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Senior Liberal Democrats have warned that the party's role in public spending cuts could mean lasting political damage. There is concern within the party that the looming cuts are responsible for the party losing about a third of its support in the opinion polls since the May election.
A Populus/Times poll has shown that 75% of voters think cuts to spending are excessive and are being made too quickly. Chancellor George Osborne has defended cuts to welfare after an emergency question on the issue was raised in parliament by Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell, on Tuesday.
Two Liberal Democrat MPs became the first to rebel against the coalition government in this parliament as they voted against the rise in VAT. Bob Russell and Mike Hancock voted with Labour to oppose the increase, which has alarmed many Lib Dems who warned during the election of a Tory VAT "bombshell".
Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of attacking the "most vulnerable in society" by shadow work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper, after backbench Lib Dem MP Bob Russell asked an urgent question in parliament on the proposed welfare cuts, branding them "unethical".
05/11/2013 on Sky News
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30/09/2014 on Channel 4 News
30/09/2014 on BBC News