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Lib Dem Leader Claims Party Will ‘Moderate’ Labour and Tories in Coalition

Ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, addresses a party conference
Ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, addresses a party conference • Photograph: Dave Radcliffe

Appearing on the Andrew Marr show, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg committed his party to further coalitions with Labour or the Tories in the case of a hung parliament.

Clegg’s comments follow an internal poll that revealed that over half of members want the leader to strike a deal between their party and the Labour party if the 2015 General Election does not result in a majority government. The leader said that the Lib Dems were needed in government to make sure that neither Labour or the Tories would be ‘messing things up on their own all over again’ and that they would act as a moderating force.

The deputy prime minister also told Marr that the Lib Dems would have some demands if they entered a coalition, including increasing the tax-free personal allowance so that workers earning the minimum wage of £6.19 would be exempt for tax. When asked, however, he refused to list any other policies that would make-or-break any coalition deal, arguing that it would be his party that decided, as a ‘democratic party.’

Responding to concerns from the Liberal Democrat business secretary, Vince Cable, Clegg refuted claims that the Help to Buy Scheme could result in a ‘housing bubble’ similar to that which preceded a recession in the United States between 2007 and 2009. ‘We are nowhere near [a housing bubble],’ he denied, instead arguing that the UK had too few new homes and that the coalition were addressing this.

As their conference convenes in Glasgow, Clegg will be hoping that his comments console his party as members worry about the party’s actions in government, with prominent member, Lord Oakeshott, having called for the party to leave the coalition six months prior to the election and oust the leader earlier this week.

The Liberal Democrats are continuing to suffer some of their lowest poll levels in years as they continue to receive criticism for their role in the coalition government. In recent polls, they have also been overtaken by the Eurosceptic Ukip party, who are expected to do well in the European Parliament elections next year.

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