With just two days to go until the General Election and polls pointing to a hung parliament, chancellor George Osborne told City A.M. he remains confident in the Tories’ ability to secure an outright majority.
“Look, we’re only 23 seats away from a majority,” Osborne said in an interview in west London yesterday. “I am confident we can get there.
“People will see that voting Conservative is the sensible approach for our economic future.”
But last night the Lib Dems called the Tory 23-seat strategy a “con.”
“David Cameron doesn’t need 23 seats to win a majority, he needs 323 seats and he knows he can’t do it,” deputy PM Nick Clegg said, adding: “Everybody knows that no one is going to win this election outright, even if David Cameron and Ed Miliband won’t admit it publicly.”
Clegg accused the Conservatives of “communicating a big, fat fib,” while Cameron hit back at Clegg’s “increasingly desperate” tactics.
Earlier yesterday, Lib Dem peer and close Clegg adviser Lord Scriven alleged Cameron had already conceded he will not win a majority, tweeting: “So Cameron has taken to lying on Tory maj [majority]. Nick Clegg told me that Cameron privately admitted to him that the Tories won’t win a majority.”
The Conservatives said Scriven’s claims were “100 per cent untrue.”
At the same time, business secretary Vince Cable appeared to lay the groundwork for another coalition with either the Tories or Labour, saying the Lib Dems would demand a minimum of 24 ministerial positions in any future coalition.
“There is no way we would accept a weaker role than the one we have had in terms of policy or the number of ministerial jobs,” Cable told the Financial Times.
For the past five years, the Lib Dems have had seven ministers in the House of Lords and 17 in the House of Commons.
Cable added it would “present serious problems” if the Conservatives offered the Lib Dems fewer seats in the next cabinet.
Meanwhile, new reports emerged that top Labour officials are considering a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The BBC reported that senior Labour party members are hoping that even if it fell short of a majority, such a coalition would have collectively more seats than the Conservatives alone
The Tories rebuked the suggested coalition: “This confirms that if you vote Liberal Democrat, you’ll get an SNP-led Ed Miliband government.”
“This ‘minority coalition’ would be propped up by the SNP,” they added.
Visit our General Election poll tracker to see how the polls changed in the build-up to election day.