UK

Election 2015: Winning is in Lib Dems' DNA - Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg Image copyright PA
Image caption Nick Clegg said his party would fight "tooth and nail" to get elected

Nick Clegg has disputed predictions in the polls that the Liberal Democrats will be largely wiped out at the election and insisted that winning was in his party's DNA.

A party source said they expected the Lib Dems to hold onto around 30 MPs and hold the balance of power after 7 May.

The party won 57 seats in the 2010 election but polls suggest they have seen a slump in popularity since.

Visiting Eastleigh in Hampshire Mr Clegg said: "We will win again."

Mr Clegg and the party's election strategists have insisted the poor national opinion poll ratings, which have seen the party stuck around the 8% mark, are not reflected in the data gathered by canvassers and internal polling.

'Hear our message'

He told supporters in the seat of Eastleigh, which was held by the Lib Dems following a 2013 by-election triggered by the resignation of Chris Huhne, that "we are going to win up and down the country".

"Because in effect what we are doing is running a campaign of not just one Eastleigh by-election but 60 Eastleigh by-elections - north, south, east, west, campaigning with exactly the same vigour that led to that famous victory," he said.

"In the final week of this campaign two million voters will hear our message on Facebook, on YouTube and on social media.

"So we are fighting a campaign like we have never fought a campaign before. Sixty by-elections up and down the country.

"We will campaign like no other party knows how to campaign again. We will serve our local community better than any other party does again. We will speak to more voters than any other party again. Winning here is in our DNA," he added.

Key priorities

Lib Dems

Main pledges

  • Balance the budget fairly through a mixture of cuts and taxes on higher earners
  • Increase tax-free allowance to £12,500
  • Guarantee education funding from nursery to 19 with an extra £2.5bn and qualified teachers in every class
  • Invest £8bn in the NHS. Equal care for mental & physical health
  • Five new laws to protect nature and fight climate change

In a thinly veiled swipe at his coalition partner David Cameron Mr Clegg also told reporters that he's not a cricket fan, adding: "It's a perilous thing to pretend you're a fan of a sport when you're not."

When asked if a seat count in the thirties was realistic, a party source said: "Oh yes. There are lots of marginal seats. There's a marginal outcome in 40 seats for us and if we won every one of those marginal contests we would get to 40-odd."

Over the weekend Mr Clegg said his party will not prop up any government "held hostage" by the SNP or UKIP, should there be a hung Parliament.

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