Cable urges Labour support for AV

Business Secretary Vince Cable has urged Labour supporters to back the Alternative Vote (AV) in next month's referendum to help stop the Conservatives winning general elections.

He called on the "progressive majority" to get behind the reform to end the domination of Tory governments elected under first-past-the-post without the support of 50 per cent of the population.



His remarks are likely to inflame tensions between the Lib Dems and their Conservative coalition partners.



As well as making plain his wish for the Lib Dems and Labour to keep the Tories out of office, Mr Cable also questioned David Cameron's failure to prevent members of his party launching "brutal" attacks against Nick Clegg.



The Deputy Prime Minister will also try to make common cause with "progressive" Labour supporters today as he hits the campaign trail in Norwich ahead of the May 5 referendum on changing the voting system for Westminster elections.



In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Cable said it was time to complete the work of Liberal and Labour MPs who tried to introduce AV in the 1930s.



"Conservative governments have dominated ever since without securing a majority of the popular vote," he said.



"It's time for the progressive majority in the country to rise above this narrow tribalism and support this reform because we need to make sure the progressive majority wins elections in this century and not the Conservatives as they did, by the back door, for two-thirds of the last century."



The Business Secretary said he had been "alarmed" by an anti-AV campaign leaflet, promoted by a Tory councillor from Worcestershire, accusing Mr Clegg of breaking promises when he had "loyally supported coalition policies".



"I find it difficult to reconcile this leaflet attacking coalition economic policy with the fact that Mr Cameron is personally leading the No campaign and the leaflet is produced by a leading Tory donor.



"He may not directly control what his supporters are up to. But he must make it clear that he doesn't condone and will endeavour to stop personal attacks on his deputy for loyally supporting coalition policy.



"To stand by and let this happen is dangerous and puts considerable strain on the coalition. I haven't really reacted to this spat. But that leaflet was absolutely dreadful. It does take it on to a different level."



His views echo those of other senior Lib Dems, including the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and former leader Lord Ashdown, who feel Mr Clegg has been unfairly targeted by the Tories during the referendum campaign.



Asked about relations between the Tories and Lib Dems after the May 5 referendum, Mr Cable said it would work "in a professional and businesslike way to deliver an agreed agenda", but stressed: "That doesn't mean ideological alignment or an absence of policy disagreement and I am not into lovey dovey stuff either."



Mr Clegg, despite the Tory-Lib Dem alliance in Westminster, will say today that he would "rather side with progressives in all parties than the old establishment" - apparently referring to the Conservative Party.



In comments that risk being thrown back at him by his critics, he will also describe Labour figures who disagree with their leader Ed Miliband and oppose AV, as "the means to conservative ends".



"There is a proud history of progressive politics in the Labour Party, just as there is in the Liberal Democrats," he will say.



"A Yes vote would be a victory for progressive politics."



Mr Clegg will acknowledge he is "not exactly every Labour supporter's favourite politician right now, to put it mildly", but urge them to vote for "a real, progressive change to our democracy" in the referendum.



"There are those in the Labour Party who oppose AV. They are trying to block progress," he will go on.



"The John Prescotts, David Blunketts, John Reids and Michael Martins are in the bizarre situation of fighting a campaign that gets the vast majority of its funding from big Tory donors they have always criticised.



"Labour No campaigners are the means to conservative ends. Look at the company they are keeping. The only political parties supporting the status quo are the Conservative Party, the Communist Party and the BNP.



"The contrast with the cross-party Yes campaign speaks volumes. I would rather side with progressives in all parties than the old establishment and the lunatic fringe."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

Software Engineer - C++

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software En...

Software Team Leader - C++

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software Tea...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor