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I’d prefer a Lib-Lab coalition, says Eastleigh MP
EASTLEIGH’S Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton has revealed he would prefer a deal with Labour – rather than a fresh coalition with the Tories – after the next election.
Mr Thornton said most Lib Dems would be “happier with Labour” after 2015, as the party’s conference got into full swing in Glasgow.
And he called for green energy and possible tweaks to the bedroom tax to be key priorities in coalition talks – both more likely to find favour with Ed Miliband’s party.
Mr Thornton said: “If push comes to shove, I would probably lean towards Labour because, historically, like a lot of my colleagues, we saw ourselves as moderately left-wing.
“But we need to be as exploitative as we can, so if the Conservatives offered more we would be bound to go with the Conservatives.
“A lot of people said it was awful that we were in coalition with the Conservatives, but we will work with whichever party gives us most of what we want.”
As Labour’s poll lead has shrunk, Lib Dems have – despite their own miserable scores ratings – consoled themselves that another coalition is likely, after 2015.
Nick Clegg has said he would first seek to strike a deal with whichever of the major two parties has the stronger “mandate” – probably the higher number of seats.
But speaking yesterday, the Lib Dem leader dropped the clearest hint yet that he would prefer David Cameron, when he urged voters to “let us finish the job”.
Mr Clegg suggested his priority of ensuring no one earning the minimum wage pays income tax – a policy attractive to the Tories – would be a “red line” in negotiations.
In contrast, Mr Clegg twice declined to agree that a “mansion tax” on the super-rich, backed by Labour, would be given the same weight.
He said: “Our message to the British people in 2015 will be essentially this: We will say ‘We’ve done very good things in Government – let us finish the job, but finish the job fairly’.”
Mr Thornton agreed further hikes to the tax threshold were crucial, but also demanded a clear date to remove carbon emissions from electricity generation – blocked by George Osborne. And, while backing the bedroom tax, he said: “We do need to look at it to make sure injustices don’t occur.”
- Meanwhile in Glasgow, the Lib Dems voted not to oppose ‘fracking’, with Hampshire among the areas where shale gas could be extracted
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