Communist Party vice chair Liz Payne accused the the Liberal Democrats of "sinking in a swamp of opportunism" at the party's political committee on Wednesday (22nd of January).

"They no longer defend civil liberties and they certainly don't stand up for the rights of women in public life," declared Ms Payne, who also chairs the South West District Committee. "But they are desperate to hang on the perks of office, even though they will soon outlive their usefulness to the Tories."

She was speaking as the scandal around LibDem peer Lord Rennard intensified. He has now been suspended from his party following allegations of sexual harassment and a botched internal inquiry.

Ms Payne pointed to the absence of women from any leading positions in the LibDem party and the Cabinet. But she also broadened her attack to point out the disproportionate impact of government spending cuts on women across Britain.

"Eleven million households are living in poverty, including large numbers of low-paid women and single parents whose benefits are being slashed in real terms," she remarked.

Britain's communists condemned the raft of Parliamentary Bills currently passing through Westminster restricting rights to protest and curtailing welfare entitlements for migrant workers.

"What is the Labour Party going to do to defend the rights of trade unions and other voluntary bodies to challenge, campaign and speak out against exploitation and gross inequality?" Ms Payne asked.

The CP political committee urged Labour MPs and affiliated trade unions to defend the link between the Labour Party and the unions, including the collective voice of organised labour in deciding the party's policies and leadership.

"There is a real danger that Ed Miliband and his feeble Shadow Cabinet will throw away Labour's lead in the opinion polls. They should be defending the Welfare State and workers' rights and advocating popular policies of public ownership, taxing the rich and big business and for a massive programme of public sector housebuilding," Ms Payne insisted.

The Communist Party political committee urged a big turnout for the Women's Assembly against austerity on February 22 in London, and finalised the programme for the party's annual trade union and political cadre school at the Marx Memorial Library on March 8-9.