Election 2015: ‘Long road ahead’ to clinch another coalition

NICK Clegg has warned voters that coalition discussions following tomorrow’s election could take longer than 2010 as he claimed only the Liberal Democrats could prevent a second poll before Christmas.

Nick Clegg speaks at a rally of Lib Dem supporters in Sheffield

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted there would be less pressure to form a Government quickly this time round as he prepared for the last day of the election campaign with the polls still pointing to a hung parliament.

Ed Miliband is today expected to pay a last visit of the campaign to key marginal constituencies in Yorkshire which remain too close to call.

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And David Cameron will tell voters they will make “their most important decision for a generation” when they go to the polls tomorrow.

Nick Clegg speaks at a rally of Lib Dem supporters in Sheffield

Mr Clegg addressed a rally of Lib Dem supporters at the Norfolk Arms pub on the outskirts of Sheffield last night at the halfway mark of two-day trip the length of the country culminating today at John O’Groats.

Asked about the timescale of post-election discussions, he told The Yorkshire Post: “I think it will take a bit longer because last time there was the pressure of the economic firestorm, a real sense of impending catastrophe, we could have been Greece. The fact we aren’t is in large part because we formed a government quickly and then took action to rescue the economy.

“I think this time, thankfully, whilst of course there is some pressure to provide clarity as quickly as possible, I think it’s important actually to take the time to get it right. I think it would be a mistake to rush it and get it wrong.”

The Liberal Democrats had earlier suggested that Labour or Conservative minority administrations would have to offer unpalatable “sweeteners” to the DUP, SNP or Ukip to maintain their support which would make them vulnerable to collapse, triggering a second election this year.

Mr Clegg insisted the Lib Dems’ own “red lines” in areas such as public sector pay and NHS funding would not pose the same risk to a coalition involving his party.

He said: “Of course parties will ask things of each other in the case of a hung parliament, what I am saying is that what the DUP and the Ukip will ask of the Conservatives if they insist on having an unstable minority government will be things that are very bad for the country.”

Mr Miliband last night tried to neutralise one of the main attacks on his party by insisting he did not expect a Labour government to borrow more than the Conservatives over the next parliament.

He will today claim Labour has momentum going into election day, contrasting the party’s campaigning in seats it needs to gain with the Conservatives’ focus on constituencies they want to hold. He said: “With just a few hours until polls open, we are more determined than ever to set out the choice facing working people.

“We know that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed. That’s the message thousands of Labour activists have taken out to millions of voters and it’s the message we’ll be sending out to the doorsteps of Britain today.”

The Prime Minister will focus on voters considering backing the Lib Dems or Ukip.

He said: “Tomorrow, the British people make their most important decision for a generation: me as your Prime Minister continuing the plan that’s put the country on the right track. Or risking it all with Ed Miliband, held to ransom by Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond and the SNP.”