Election 2015

Election 2015: Vote for stability, says Clegg

Nick Clegg helps make bread at the Lovingly Artisan Sourdough Bakery in Kendal, Lake District. Image copyright PA
Image caption Nick Clegg stopped off in Kendal to make bread during his whistle-stop tour of battleground seats

Voters face "the biggest political decision of their lives" on 7 May, Nick Clegg claimed as he continues his 1,000 mile campaign tour.

The Liberal Democrat leader argued that while his party could provide stability, Labour and the Conservatives were in danger of "sleepwalking" towards a "messy" minority government.

Mr Clegg says he will not share power with either the SNP or UKIP.

Polls suggest the Lib Dems will lose some of the 57 seats they won in 2010.

Mr Clegg, who is on the last leg of his "two-day dash" from Land's End to John O'Groats, said David Cameron and Ed Miliband refused to admit that neither of them would win an outright majority.

Confident

He contrasted that position with his own, which is to walk away from government if he cannot get the right deal for his party.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Nick Clegg will complete his marathon trip in Caithness later on Wednesday

"You should never, in politics or life, want to cling on to power for power's sake," he said.

"We want to do what we think is right for the country. We put the country before our party before - it was the brave thing to do, it was the right thing to do - and we would do it again.

"That contrasts with the attitude of David Cameron and Ed Miliband who are still seeking to claim that they are going to win a majority when they know they are not and are in real danger of sleepwalking towards a messy, unstable, minority government which is basically held captive by the extremes on right and left.

"That is not what our country needs."

Red lines

Mr Clegg said he was confident his party would hold enough seats to make it a key player in any negotiations after polling day.

"I'm really confident that we are going to do much better than all the endless pessimists have predicted. Much better," he said.

"If you want a stronger economy and a fairer society - if you want a party that won't cut as much as the Conservatives and would borrow less than Labour - then the Liberal Democrats are the only party to provide that stability.

"That's what I think a lot of people in the latter stages of this campaign are looking for."

Mr Clegg has marked out his campaign with a series of "red lines" - non negotiable Lib Dem deal breakers in any post election coalition.

Majority preference

These include a pledge to raise education funding in England from £49bn to £55.3bn over the next Parliament and a "stability Budget" within the first 50 days that would set out detailed tax and welfare plans to balance the books.

Mr Clegg also wants £8bn in extra annual funding for the NHS.

He says his "very strong preference" is for the Lib Dems to form a majority coalition rather than to enter into an alliance that faces daily struggles to get legislation through the House of Commons.

"I have certainly made it quite clear that I am not going to enter into any pacts, deals or arrangements which would in practice mean that a government is on a life support system which can be switched off by Nigel Farage or Alex Salmond," he added.


Image copyright Getty Images

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