The Liberal Democrats could reject a coalition with either the Conservatives or Labour if next year’s general election produces another hung parliament, a senior party figure said Tuesday.
Speaking at the Lib Dem annual conference, party president Tim Farron said the party should make it clear that it would “walk away” from any coalition negotiations if key demands were not met.
The Liberals have served as the junior partner in Britain’s coalition government with the Conservatives since the 2010 general election.
He said the need for a majority government would be less pressing in the May 2015 election than it was in 2010 at the height of the financial crisis.
Farron rejected the idea that the Lib Dems would necessarily be more keen to form an alliance with Labour, often seen as more natural bedfellows for the centrist party than the Conservatives.
Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has stopped short of setting out potential red lines in coalition talks but indicated that higher taxes on the wealthy would be a key demand in any negotiations.
Clegg has also said he would block any attempt to take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights — a move floated last week by the Conservatives.
A YouGov poll published Friday showed the Lib Dems have slumped from 23 percent at the last election to only 6 percent, while the Conservatives took the lead for the first time since March 2012.
The poll, which following Prime Minister David Cameron’s party conference pledge of tax cuts for 30 million workers, put the Conservatives on 35 percent, with Labour on 34 percent and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) on 14 percent.