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Friday, March 12, 2010

Clegg sends a message

I am in Birmingham and about to head to the Conference hall to register and take part in some consultative sessions before the rally tonight with Nick Clegg, Shirley Williams and Paddy Ashdown.

I note from this morning's Daily Telegraph that Nick Clegg is already making it clear that the party will not be distracted from its core messages by talk of a hung Parliament:

Mr Clegg repeated the four tests he will set for Labour and the Conservatives if they are to seek his party's support in a hung Parliament.

He said whichever party had the clearer mandate from the voters would have the ''moral right'' to govern, ''either on its own or with others''.

''If a party has got more support and has got a clearer mandate from the British people than any other party, even if they don't have an absolute majority, then I think we live in a democracy, that party has got the moral right to seek to govern, either on its own or with others.

''I've been much clearer than Gordon Brown or David Cameron in saying that as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned, in terms of us exercising our influence, we will focus on the really big things that matter to us.''

Mr Clegg said the four big issues are:

:: Fairer taxes, so people do not pay tax on the first £10,000 they earn;

:: Better schools, with more one-to-one tuition and smaller class sizes;

:: Making sure that our economy is no longer ''held hostage'' by the banks;

:: Clean, fair politics in the wake of the expenses scandal, including giving people the right to sack their MPs if they have been shown to be corrupt.

He said his party was delivering a ''copper-bottomed guarantee'' that whatever happens in the election, ''the one thing you can predict is that the Liberal Democrats will deliver those four steps to a fairer Britain''.

With support for the Liberal Democrats holding steady in the polls, there is all to play for when the General Election is called.
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