Clegg’s paternity offer to save Scottish seats

Clegg aboard his battle bus after visiting Watford yesterday. Picture: PA

Clegg aboard his battle bus after visiting Watford yesterday. Picture: PA

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NICK Clegg will today pin his hopes on a new “dads revolution” to help save his party’s 11 Scottish seats in Westminster and bring back voters across the UK.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s battle bus will visit the key marginal of East Dunbartonshire where equalities minister Jo Swinson is defending a slim majority with a new policy to triple paternity leave.

He also arrives in Scotland with a warning that the Tories and SNP have formed “an unholy alliance”.

His visit coincides with the party’s election broadcast based on safety instructions for crossing the road and linking it to their economic record.

It will warn voters to “look right then left and then cross” highlighting Labour and SNP plans to borrow more and Tory plans to slash taxes.

Campaign co-ordinator Lord Ashdown said: “Our message to the country is clear, if you want both a stronger economy and funding for vital public services protected, you need Liberal Democrats in government.

“Only the Liberal Democrats will do both. We will balance the budget by 2018, keeping the economy on track and protect public services by giving the NHS the £8 billion it needs – with £800 million for health services in Scotland.”

Ahead of his visit to the East Dunbartonshire seat which was a Labour target and now could be swept up in the SNP surge, Mr Clegg said: “There’s always a danger that you get a bit of an unholy alliance between the Tories and the SNP, because the SNP want to talk up the threat of a Tory Britain and the Tories want to talk up the threat of an SNP Britain. So they are both very convenient bogeymen for each other.”

On his new policy to increase paternity by an extra month as well as offering a new shared parental leave for parents, he will say: “To build a fairer society, the Liberal Democrats want to tear down the barriers that stop people reaching their full potential. For too long, mums have been told their place is at home with their child, while dads return to work. “I want parents to choose for themselves how to balance work and family.”

Ms Swinson said that shared parental leave which allows parents to swap time off after their child is born was her “proudest achievement” in government.

She said: “Now I’m calling for a dad revolution. Liberal Democrats want to triple paternity leave, to encourage new dads to spend more time with their child in those vital early weeks and months after birth. Most fathers want to spend more time with their new baby – and we know it makes a positive difference for children when they do.”

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