Nick Clegg says Lib Dem-Labour coalition possible

Nick Clegg Nick Clegg said he would insist any government with Labour did not break the bank

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Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has talked openly about the prospect of a coalition with Labour after the next general election.

He told a BBC documentary that Labour had "changed" and was realising it might have to share power with others.

The deputy prime minister also said the Conservatives needed to re-engage with "mainstream" voters.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was not "interested" in discussing the possibility of a coalition.

Mr Clegg's comments came in a BBC Radio 4 programme - Nick Clegg: The Liberal Who Came To Power - to be broadcast on Monday evening.

'Theme tunes'

He said: "I think they've changed. I think there's nothing like the prospect of reality in an election to get politicians to think again and the Labour Party, which is a party unused to sharing power with others, is realising that it might have to."

But he warned that Labour would have to change its attitude to public spending, saying: "There is just no doubt in my mind that if there were a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, we the Liberal Democrats would absolutely insist that government would not break the bank."

Labour leader, Ed Miliband, told ITV's Daybreak programme he is "not interested in backroom deals"

The Lib Dems have been in government with the Conservatives for almost four years, with the two parties' leaderships becoming more openly critical of each other in recent months.

In his interview, Mr Clegg said: "I think the Conservative Party has changed quite dramatically since we entered into coalition with them.

"They've become much more ideological. They've returned much more to a lot of their familiar theme tunes...

"I think it would be best for everybody if the Conservative Party were to rediscover a talent for actually talking to mainstream voters about mainstream concerns."

It is not the first time Mr Clegg had talked about a possible deal with Labour but his comments could cause tension in the current coalition.

Baroness Williams Baroness Williams said Nick Clegg had failed to consult experienced Lib Dems

Baroness Williams said Nick Clegg had failed to consult experienced Lib Dems

Speaking on ITV's Daybreak, Mr Miliband would not be drawn on the subject of a possible coalition after the next general election, set for 2015.

He said: "I'm interested in how do we work for for a majority Labour government? How do we change this country? And that's where absolute 100% of my focus and the focus of my party is."

Pushed further about a possible coalition, he said: "What I say is, let's not get into that. Let's get into the people, looking at the options. I want a majority Labour government. That's what I'm going to work for.

"And I don't think the parties, in advance of elections, should be engaging in this. I think what they should be engaging in is how are we going to change the country? What are we offering the country? And that's what I'm interested in."

Senior Lib Dem figures Jeremy Browne and Baroness Williams expressed criticism of Mr Clegg's leadership.

Mr Browne, a former minister in the Home Office and Foreign Office, said he was uneasy about pitching the Lib Dems as a party that split the difference between Labour and the Conservatives.

Baroness Williams, the party's former leader in the Lords, said Mr Clegg had not made sufficient use of more experienced colleagues, and she criticised the quality of some of those around him.

Nick Clegg: The Liberal Who Came To Power will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 20:00 GMT on Monday 17 February


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  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Hated by one side for enabling the nasty Tories to carry out their evil vindictive policies.
    Hated by the other side for liberal pinko attitude holding back the Tories from implementing their policies.

    Never was a country so divided by hate!

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    What a truly horrific prospect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Career politicians!, Clegg just wants to stay in some sort of power. Miliband will change his mind iat the drop of a hat. Cameron needs to pull his finger out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Just as Brown had lost all credibility & had to be removed, if at the next election Labour do form a coalition with the LibDems, Milliband should insist Clegg & several others are removed for exactly the same reasons.

    In facilitating so many devisive Tory policies, Clegg & his top cronies have all credibility with Labour supporters, so his dreams of retaining deputy leadership are just pathetic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Hung parliaments are the exception not the rule in British elections. They also require the 3rd party to win a substantial number of seats, something that is unlikely to happen as the Lib Dems will get decimated in 2015.
    Nick Clegg is now a political irrelevance who gambled his party on the coalition and lost. Goodbye Nick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    He will be any body little helper .Give him the deputy P.M S job and u turns on any and everything guaranteed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Hedging your bets already then Nick! You won't have enough seats next time to influence anything anyway

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    oh dear lord please no, how dare anyone suggest such a dreadful thing. I find the thought of my neighbour feeding her children to her west highland terrier a lot less offensive than Clegg and Milliband in a coalition setup.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    The man is an idiot.
    His party is full of idiots.
    'nuff said.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    I don't know why everybody is so anti Clegg, its not like anybody else in Westminster is doing a great job either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Good grief, talk about clutching at straws. Well he has to I guess. Am damn sure Cameron won't want to work with him again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    This is a cynical attempt by Clegg to remain in power.

    Ed Miliband is right. Labour should be aiming for a Labour majority, its the country that decides who runs it not the politicians.

    The Lib Dems have shown themselves as weak and of very little influence (even when they are in power).

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Clegg and the Liberals lost their credibility when they formed the coalition and then rolled over and let the Conservatives do whatever they wanted. he didn't seem to understand the power of his position.The Tories could not have ruled without his and the Liberals consent. People voted Liberal because they wanted a change NOT the Tories. The Liberals will spend another 100 years out of power now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Who is going to vote for you Clegg?

    Certainly not the hundreds of thousands of students who you stabbed in the back by trebling tuition fees. Certainly not their parents and partners.

    Coalition? You'll be lucky if your MPs retain their deposits.

    Lib Dems RIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    It has been shown that "first past the post" systems work towards a two-party situation. This is partly the result, apparently promiscuous alliances. Minimal satisfaction for all.

    The electoral system needs intelligent attention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    I'm more interested in knowing why last weeks by-election had so many votes for labour. Are the voting majority so short sighted as to forget what happened last time they were in government?

    Rinse & repeat, rinse and repeat.

    This country will never be great unless major changes happen. Labour, conservatives & lib-dems cannot and will not provide this.

    When will we learn??!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    Slimy politician trying to cling to power

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    If Liebour are in charge, just watch the economy crumble more than it is now. Taxes will rise - they always do under them - they'll spend more than they take in tax (also as usual) and the country will be on its knees at the end of their first term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    This is about the Liberal Party and his own future, NOT the country's
    Politics before nation and our children's future
    Stinks of everything that got us into this big mess
    Spin by career politicians who are lost in their ivory towers, far away in lala land, far away from the real world that the majority of us live in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    144 Denis leeds

    Looking after number one seems predominantly to be a "socialist" stance, at least in as much as the left wing spite and envy party of UK politics could ever be described as socialist.


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