Tories are ‘pale Ukip imitation’, says Nick Clegg

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NICK Clegg has said the Conservatives have “mutated into a pale imitation” of Nigel Farage’s Ukip, as he claimed the Liberal Democrats were now the main party that cared about the “integrity” of the Union.

Mr Clegg suggested his party’s coalition partners had abandoned the Unionist cause and that David Cameron led what was now effectively an English nationalist party chasing votes from supporters of Mr Farage south of the border.

Nick Clegg at Westerton Nursery in Bearsden. Picture: John Devlin

Nick Clegg at Westerton Nursery in Bearsden. Picture: John Devlin

The Deputy Prime Minister stated that Mr Cameron has “given up even pretending to seek a mandate as Prime Minister for the whole of the United Kingdom” and had the same “red line” as Ukip in wanting an in-out vote on EU membership.

He also said the SNP was on “manoeuvres” and would stoke up any “smidgen of grievance that they can muster” to force a second referendum at Westminster if the party make sweeping gains in tomorrow’s election.

The Deputy Prime Minister launched the scathing attacks on the Conservatives and SNP as he visited a nursery in Bearsden, outside Glasgow, with East Dunbartonshire candidate Jo Swinson and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie.

Mr Clegg insisted that there was no prospect of any pacts between the Lib Dems and the SNP in the event of a hung parliament and said that the SNP was different to other parties because it wanted to “break up the Union”.

One party wants to break up one union we believe in, the European Union, the other party wants to break up another union we believe in, the United Kingdom

Nick Clegg

He said that there was “no meeting point” for the Lib Dems with parties such as the SNP and Ukip as he stated that he would never make deals with them.

Mr Clegg said: “One party wants to break up one union we believe in, the European Union, the other party wants to break up another union we believe in, the United Kingdom.”

The Deputy Prime Minister attacked the party he was in coalition with for five years that had worked closely with in last year’s referendum campaign.

He argued that voting for the Lib Dems is the “best way” to ensure the next government would be one for the whole of the UK, saying: “The Conservative Party is now not even pretending to be a party for the whole UK, the Conservative Party has basically mutated into an English party chasing Ukip votes in southern England.

Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson and Willie Rennie at Westerton Nursery, Bearsden. Picture: John Devlin

Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson and Willie Rennie at Westerton Nursery, Bearsden. Picture: John Devlin

“It has got barely any representation in Scotland and is behaving in this election campaign as something tantamount to an English Conservative Party.

“David Cameron, I think, has given up even pretending to seek a mandate as Prime Minister for the whole of the United Kingdom, yet 20 per cent of the Liberal Democrat party is north of the border.

“We really care about what happens in Scotland and care about the integrity of the United Kingdom in a way that certainly the Conservatives don’t any more.

“Every vote for Jo (Swinson), for Liberal Democrat MPs across Scotland, those 11 MPs fighting against the SNP, is a vote for the integrity of the United Kingdom.”

Mr Clegg added: “The Conservative Party has basically mutated into a pale imitation of Nigel Farage. David Cameron has the same red line as Nigel Farage.”

Mr Clegg also insisted that the SNP, which is poised to make sweeping gains tomorrow, would use any influence it has at Westminster over a minority government to force a second independence vote.

He also warned that the SNP, which has ruled out propping up a Conservatives administration in the event of a hung parliament, would pursue policies that would “rack up mountains of debt”.

He said: “Their mission remains as it always has been: to win a second referendum.

“They will use every smidgeon of grievance that they can muster in the next parliament to mount the case for a second referendum whilst sticking to a plan which would rack up mountains of debt which would fall on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren.

“I don’t think that’s fair on the children we’ve just seen at this nursery in Scotland, we should wipe the slate clean rather than burden them with more debt.”

Mr Clegg said he had become “increasingly perplexed by the habit of both David Cameron and Ed Miliband of not accepting they’re not going to win”, accusing the Conservative and Labour leaders of “perpetuating this pantomime myth that they’re going

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