Nick Clegg Says Tory Welfare Cuts Are Red Line For Lib Dems

Nick Clegg confused

Nick Clegg has said the Conservative policy of cutting welfare by £12bn over two years is a ‘red line’ for him in coalition negotiations. He made the comments during the first of a series of leaders’ interviews by the BBC’s Evan Davis.

The Liberal Democrat policy on welfare is to cut the bill by £20bn over five years. Clegg said there was a “big difference” between this policy of cutting slowly and what the Conservatives were proposing. He claimed the Tory plan was a “departure” from the current coalition strategy of cutting the budget.

Mr Clegg said: “In exactly the same way that I could never countenance recommending to the Liberal Democrats entering into a coalition with the Labour party that isn’t serious about balancing the books.”

He continued: “I would not recommend to the Lib Dems that we go into coalition with the Conservatives if they insist on a plan which is a marked departure from what we’ve done in this coalition.”

Unless the current polls move significantly it is unlikely either Labour or the Conservatives will get a majority. If the Lib Dems can hang on to some of their MPs the party could still hold the balence of power and decide which party leader gets the keys to Number 10.