Kennedy rules out closer links with Conservatives

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Indy Politics

"Fundamental" differences will keep the Liberal Democrats from allying with the Conservatives, even if David Cameron wins the Tory leadership, says Charles Kennedy.

In the event of a hung parliament, the Liberal Democrats would do best to remain independent, Mr Kennedy insisted yesterday.

The Liberal Democrat leader attacked the policies of Mr Cameron, who is seen as the moderate candidate in tomorrow's Tory election. His stance on Europe was a "counsel of despair", Mr Kennedy said, adding that the Conservatives had big differences with his party over nuclear power.

Pressed on whether the Liberal Democrats would be tempted into a coalition with the Tories, Mr Kennedy told Sky News: "We do best as a party - and the last two elections under my own leadership have shown this - where we campaign independently and then subsequently conduct ourselves independently in the House of Commons.

"I don't think being part of a Government is necessarily the issue," he said. "What you can do is have considerable influence from a point of independence in the House of Commons if no one party commands an overall majority."

Mr Kennedy said Mr Cameron had said two things about Europe: "A; that he is a eurosceptic; we're not, and B; he is going to withdraw British Conservative MEPs from the conservative grouping in the European Parliament. That is a counsel of despair.

"That is his approach to Europe. You can't have any co-operation there."

He said the party disagreed with the Conservatives' stance in favour of nuclear power.

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