LIBERAL Democrat activists caused a major embarrassment for the party leadership when the spring conference voted almost unanimously against the UK coalition’s bedroom tax.
Only one delegate raised a hand in opposition to the call for the policy to be reconsidered.
And although several MPs and MSPs were present in the hall, not one spoke in defence of the measure, which cuts housing benefit if people have a spare room.
Edinburgh councillor Paul Edie said: “I wonder if that is because it indefensible.”
He told delegates: “Edinburgh has some 23,000 council houses, but only 5500 are one-bedroomed flats.
“If this change takes effect, we simply will not be able to downsize the number of tenants to meet the demand. We have only 500 single-bedroom dwellings coming up each year.”
He said people had been told they should take in a lodger to fill their spare room.
But he demanded: “Why should someone share their private space with a stranger?
“I’ve lost count of the number of speeches this weekend that have chanted the mantra that we Liberal Democrats are all about building a free and fair society. This change is not fair it must be stopped.
I did not enter politics to make poor people more destitute.”