Clegg: We’ll give Tories heart and Labour a brain

LIB Dem leader Nick Clegg has told voters that they have a choice between him, Alex Salmond and Nigel Farage to hold the keys to Downing Street for either the Tories or Lib Dems as he warned them not to pick “a coalition of grievance”.

Nick Clegg speaking during the launch of the Lib Dem's manifesto launch in Battersea, London. Picture; PA
Nick Clegg speaking during the launch of the Lib Dem's manifesto launch in Battersea, London. Picture; PA

Launching his party’s manifesto at a crowded arts venue in South London, the Deputy Prime Minister launched a blistering attack on the prospect of the SNP or Ukip holding the balance of power.

He made a direct appeal to voters in Gordon to back Christine Jardine to keep Mr Salmond from making a return to Westminster.

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The party’s manifesto promised an opportunity for every child from “cradle to college” and the party made it clear the five policies on its front cover are its only red lines in potential coalition deals.

The top five pledges included prosperity for all which involves balancing the books and block Tory plans to cut welfare by £12 billion.

It also promises fair taxes by increasing the point where people pay the basic rate to £12,500.

The other promises included £8 billion extra for the NHS and five new green laws to protect the environment.

But the heart of Mr Clegg’s pledge was to trust him as the best person to do a deal with the Tories or Labour.

He promised the Lib Dems will “give the Tories a heart and Labour a brain.”

He described his party’s decision to do a deal with the Tories over the last five years as “gutsy” and said “I have not regretted it for a single day making Britain better.”

And he said: “The day of single party government is over.”

And turning on Ukip and the SNP he said: “Only the Lib Dems can make sure the next government keeps Britain on track. Every Lib Dem you elect makes Labour’s reckless borrowing less likely, makes George Osborne’s ideological cuts less likely and every Lib Dem you elect is a barrier between Nigel Farage and Alex Salmond and the door to 10 Downing Street.”

He added: “If you want to stop Salmond the answer is very simple, vote for the fantastic Christine Jardine in Gordon.”

Clegg said: “I’m not denying that either David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister. One of them will. But you know and they know that neither of them will win outright. Neither of them will have a majority in Parliament.

“So what really matters is who they will have by their side.

“Someone is going to hold the balance of power on the 8th of May and it won’t be David Cameron or Ed Miliband. But it could be Nigel Farage. It could be Alex Salmond. Or it could be me and the Liberal Democrats.

“So ask yourself this: Do you want Nigel Farage walking through the door of No 10? Do you want Alex Salmond sat at the cabinet table? Or do you want the Liberal Democrats?

“The Liberal Democrats will add a heart to a Conservative government and we will add a brain to a Labour one.

“We won’t allow the Conservatives to cut too much and jeopardise our schools and hospitals.

“And we won’t allow Labour to borrow too much and risk our economy again.”