Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has launched a direct appeal to Labour supporters, demanding they back his party or face more than 20 years of Conservative majority rule.
In his keynote speech at the Lib Dem party conference in Brighton, Farron also warned that businesses were “funding their own funeral” by backing the Conservatives in the aftermath of the UK's Brexit vote.
Farron said that uncertainty since June's referendum, compounded by the likelihood of departure from the Single Market meant the Lib Dems have become “the free market, free trade, pro-business party” because of their avowedly pro-EU stance.
Farron also argued his party will be better able to win Conservative seats than Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party at the next election, meaning it represents the only option for those seeking to prevent a second consecutive Tory majority.
In a direct appeal to Labour backers left disaffected by Corbyn's leadership, Farron heaped praise on former Labour leader Tony Blair, adding: “To people who support Labour who look at the last election result and say, can I really take the risk of backing the Liberal Democrats? Let me be blunt with you: The risk is for you to do nothing.”
Arguing that Labour has “left the stage” as an opposition, the Lib Dem leader also said he would raise taxes to fund the NHS and social care.
“If the only way to fund a health service that meets the needs of everyone, is to raise taxes, Liberal Democrats will raise taxes,” he said.