NICK CLEGG has urged Liberal Democrat supporters not to sit on their hands in the face of opinion polls suggesting his party will suffer losses in today’s local and European polls.
The Deputy Prime Minister was in Leeds yesterday making his final election campaign stops, including meeting staff and pupils at The Grammar School at Leeds.
With opinion polls showing the Lib Dems likely to lose seats, some activists fear their supporters may stay at home believing they can do little to affect the outcome.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post. the Deputy Prime Minister said: “At a local level, I think everybody friend or foe alike acknowledges Liberal Demcrat councillors, Liberal Democrat campaigners work extraordinarly hard, much harder than other parties.
“We have a fantastic record where we are in control in local government. Where we are in majority control we are the only party that has delivered council tax freezes everywhere.
“I think we really can be relied upon to deliver value for money for local taxpayers and to protect local services.”
Mr Clegg said the Lib Dems had shown the “courage of our convictions” in its pro-Europe campaign and criticised the other major parties for not having the “guts” to challenge the UK Independence Party.
“I would say to anyone wondering whether to vote or not please do get out and vote. These are important elections and if you are worried about the effects of turning our backs on the outside world which is advocated by Ukip then please vote.”
The Coalition has been buoyed by data showing the economic recovery is gaining momentum but so far it has failed to impact on the Lib Dems’ opinion poll ratings.
Mr Clegg said: “I think we need to keep explaining to people over and over again that there wouldn’t be an economic recovery now if the Liberal Democrats had not had the courage to step up to the plate and create a Government and do the difficult things we have had to.
“I think it’s largely due to our resilience that the economic recovery is now taking root but more importantly than that what kind of economic recovery.
“I’ve got absolutely no doubt having been in Government with them for four years that if the Conservatives had been left to their own devices it would have disproportionately helped the people at the top and not the many people in the middle and the bottom.”
He added: “We have got a year after these elections to explain to people over and over again that’s what we are about and I think where we are able to do so and in constituencies where we have enough people to go out and knock on doors and explain our side of the story people are responding to our message.”
In an interview with Prospect magazine published today Mr Clegg admits to wanting the job of Prime Minister but admits that is not going to be an “instant prospect”.
And he warns Ed Miliband he would find it difficult to go into coalition with Labour.
“I just don’t see any evidence that Labour understand what it is to be a post-2008 progressive.
“They cannot expect to be in government without… understanding that [it] can no longer be about the governance of extravagance in public spending.
“And that would be my central challenge. I really would not be confident at all of entering into coalition with a Labour Party that doesn’t understand that breaking the bank is a deeply regressive thing do to.”
He says the Coalition has exploded the “myth” that Britain can only be governed by one party.
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