Leader wants Clegg sidelined in vote-change campaign

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PEOPLE will vote “no” in the referendum on changing the voting system if Nick Clegg becomes a “poster boy” for the campaign, Ed Miliband has warned.

The Labour leader, who supports the change to the Alternative Vote which the Deputy Prime Minister is also backing, confirmed he has warned the “yes” campaign of the dangers of Mr Clegg taking a high profile in the run-up to the May 5 referendum.

Mr Miliband told the Yorkshire Post: “I will share a platform with anyone who can help us win the referendum, but I make no secret of the fact that I don’t think we’re going to win this referendum if it becomes a referendum on Nick Clegg.

“Nick Clegg promised a new politics to people before the election – Cleggmania and all of that, which we all remember – and people feel badly let down by it because they feel he’s somebody whose broken his promises, on tuition fees and a range of other things. If Nick Clegg becomes the poster boy for the AV referendum I don’t think it’s very good news for the yes campaign.

“The main point I made to the Yes to AV campaign, because we did discuss this, was look, it’s your decision who you want to invite to share platforms with each other – make sure it’s people you think can help us with the referendum,”

Amid criticism that he has kept a low profile on the issue so far, Mr Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, said he was “going to be out there” during the referendum but warned that the bigger “priority” for him was to ensure Labour does well in May elections in Scotland, Wales and for English councils.

He and Mr Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam, support the move to AV, where voters rank candidates in order of preference, but David Cameron wants to keep the present current first-past-the-post system.