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Nick Clegg: The Liberal Democrats are the continuity choice at the election

15 March 2015

2:52 PM

15 March 2015

2:52 PM

The Liberal Democrats sense an opportunity in all this speculation about who the Tories and Labour would do deals with in the event of a hung parliament. They believe that they can position themselves as the responsible party that will keep the country in the centre ground in contrast to the other smaller parties. Today, in his speech to the party’s spring conference, Clegg ruled out joining any coalition that involved the SNP or Ukip. He also tried to use the moment to reinforce voters’ worries about either main party governing on their own. He argued that the Tories would cut needlessly—‘Cows moo. Dogs bark. And Tories cut. It’s in their DNA’—and derided the pledge card that Labour unveiled yesterday as a credit card on which they would rack up more borrowing. Strikingly, and in a move which will unnerve some Lib Dem Ministers, he presented the party as the continuity choice at the next election, accusing the Tories of being the ones veering off the road to recovery. As Clegg put it,‘David Cameron, George Osborne, you can’t have it both ways. You cannot say that this Government has done the right thing and then in the next breath call for a drastic change of course. Either we are doing the right thing or we aren’t. If we are then why won’t you stick with it?’ Clegg also used the speech to claim that the Liberal Democrats will do better than the polls predict. Certainly, at the top of the party there seems to be a genuine sense that they can retain more than half their says—though, it is a sign of the party’s problems that this would be considered a better than expected result. But even with only thirty seats, the Liberal Democrats could be absolutely key in a hung parliament. So, it is too early to write them–or Clegg–off yet.


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