Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, says there are certain matters his party will not compromise on if it enters a coalition following the General Election.
Labour and the Conservatives have been placed neck-and-neck by most recent opinion polls, suggesting a hung parliament is very likely on 7 May.
If that is the case, the Liberal Democrats may well join forces with either party, just as they did with the Conservatives in 2010. Clegg says he would hold initial talks with the party with the most seats.
But while he would compromise on some things, such as the holding of and EU referendum, other Lib Dem policies would be a “red line” when it comes to post-election negotiations.
One of these is a demand for public sector wages to rise with inflation for two years from 2016, and then by more than inflation once the deficit has been sorted. The Lib Dems announced this new policy last month.
"Liberal Democrats will not enter a coalition with a party not prepared to back pay rises for people working in the public sector,” Clegg is expected to say. "They have paid more than their fair share, and now enough is enough.”
During the first two years of the coalition government, pay was frozen. This was followed by one per cent rises.
Under a Conservative government, this “restraining” of public sector pay would continue, while the Labour party says it will “prioritise those on lower incomes”.
Other matters Clegg won't budge on are a £12,500 personal allowance, an emergency stability budget, and £8m extra for the NHS.
He has also said there will be no agreement with a government supported by either the SNP or Ukip.
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