Darling and Cable look to ease worries over hung parliament

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling and Liberal Democrat counterpart Vince Cable put on a united front as they tried to ease concern over the prospect of a hung parliament on the campaign trail in Yorkshire.

Mr Darling said that if next week's General Election forced parties to share power they would have to "get on with it - and I've got no problem with that".

Meanwhile Mr Cable insisted the momentum behind the Liberal Democrats' campaign was unstoppable and told a gathering of business leaders in Hull they had nothing to fear from a power-sharing Government.

Their reassurances came as the Tories warned that a hung parliament would "paralyse" the UK and David Cameron accused Nick Clegg of "holding the country to ransom" in a attempt to change the electoral system as opinion polls continued to suggest the Tories would struggle to win an outright majority.

Mr Darling visited J & C Joel drape makers in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, before meeting business leaders from the financial services industry at Leeds Building Society in the city centre.

He was quizzed about the need for better transport links to the region and said the financial sector – on which much of Leeds's success has been built – would continue to employ "significant numbers of people" despite wanting to rebalance the economy.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post afterwards, Mr Darling admitted good rail links were essential to Leeds' continued success as a financial centre and singled out jobs as the most important election issue as the economy comes out of recession but is "not out of the woods" yet.

Mr Darling insisted the election was "too close to call" but said Labour still had "everything to play for" just 10 days from polling day and with the final televised leaders' debate taking place on Thursday.

Asked about the prospect of a hung parliament, he said: "Whatever the result of the election, political parties have got to get on with it. If there's a hung parliament we've got to get on with that. I've got no problem with that."

Meanwhile questioned in Hull about whether a hung Parliament would result in "speculative attacks" on the economy by financial traders, Mr Cable said: "For the first time the main parties would be forced to work together.

"We are not as a party campaigning for a hung Parliament, we are campaigning to get the most MPs and the biggest number of votes we can. These big scare stories that it would be terrible for the country are absolute nonsense."

Mr Cable revealed what he would do on his first day of office, should the Liberal Democrats win. He said: "The new Government will have to do an awful lot of things very quickly. If I were running it, it could happen, on day one get in the heads of the big banks and get them functioning because we are not going to get a recovery otherwise.

"I would have a proper spending review linked to a defence review, because I think everyone now accepts we can't afford these big defence contracts."

Mr Cable said the Liberal Democrats would also stage a "radical simplification and overhaul" of the tax system and raise the threshold for tax to 10,000 a year.

The York-born politician later dismissed what he claimed were "disreputable" attacks on leader Nick Clegg following a surge in support for the Party in the wake of Mr Clegg's appearance in the first two televised Leaders' debates.

Asked how the Liberal Democrats are responding to the intense scrutiny that has accompanied their rise in the opinion polls, Mr Cable told the Yorkshire Post: "We don't have any fears. We are very robust, very positive and I think we can't now be stopped." Over breakfast at Hull Truck Theatre with members of Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, the deputy party leader said the main reason for his visit was to support the candidature of Denis Healy in Labour-held Hull North.