Clegg talks up coalition red lines

NICK Clegg yesterday set out the Liberal Democrats’ pitch for the 2015 general election by producing a long list of Conservative policies that his party had blocked – and insisting the Lib Dems had blunted the right-wing instincts of Tory ministers.

The Deputy Prime Minister told delegates at his party’s annual conference in Glasgow that sometimes compromise fails “and you just have to say no”. He then reeled off a list of 16 policies that he claims the Tories would have implemented if they had not been required to share power.

These include an inheritance tax cut, the replacement of GCSEs with O-levels and reform proposed by Lord Beecroft that would have made it easier to sack workers. He also said the Conservatives would have scrapped housing benefit for young people, relaxed childcare ratios and abolished the Human Rights Act.

Clegg said he will appeal to voters who do not want to trust the Conservatives or Labour to be in government on their own. He said he is willing to set out which of Labour’s policies the Lib Dems would block in a coalition – but “that would involve Labour producing some actual policies”.

Sources close to Clegg said it is time to move on from simply celebrating Lib Dem policies: “There are two things that voters want to know: what you achieved and what you’ve stopped the Conservatives from doing.”