Lib Dem Conference: Party declare they are ‘ready to work with’ Labour

Nick Clegg warns against single-party government as he courts both sides at his party’s conference

Nick Clegg has said he is ready to work with Ed Miliband in a coalition if the voters install Labour as the largest party at the 2015 general election.

In his closing speech to the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow today, Mr Clegg will appeal to the public to give his party a share of power for another five years, saying they are just getting into their stride in government. “The absolute worst thing to do would be to give the keys to Number 10 to a single party government – Labour or the Conservatives,” he will say.

During a round of media interviews last night, the Deputy Prime Minister sought to kill growing speculation that he is preparing to form a second coalition with the Conservatives in 2015.

Asked if he could comfortably say “Bye bye David Cameron, hello Ed, I will be your deputy now”, he told the BBC: “I’ll tell you why I could, it isn’t about my personal preference, it isn’t about whether this person likes that person more, or whether they get on better with this person ... It is about following the instructions, the instructions manual handed to us [by the voters].”

Mr Clegg said: “Of course I would serve in a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition if that is clearly what the British people want and of course that it is possible to assemble [one].”

Asked if Mr Miliband would be a good prime minister, Mr Cameron replied: “I don’t know, it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t think you should judge people until they’ve been able to prove themselves. I personally think that the Labour Party and Ed Miliband himself have assumed that the general election is somehow going to be delivered to them on a plate simply by criticising the Coalition and the difficult decisions we’ve had to make – often unpopular decisions because we’ve had to clean up the mess they’ve left behind.”

He made clear he would not stand down as Liberal Democrat leader if Labour demanded that as the price of forming a coalition. “It’s not for them to hand-pick which individual Liberal Democrats they work with, in the same way as it’s not for me to hand-pick the Labour team,” he said.

In today’s speech, Mr Clegg will stress that he is ready to work with either Labour or the Tories in the national interest. He will say: “I don’t look at Ed Miliband and David Cameron and ask myself who I’d be most comfortable with, as if I was buying a new sofa.”

Mr Clegg will tell his party to “feel proud” of what it has achieved in office since 2010. “This recovery wouldn’t be happening without us. We have made sure the deficit is being cut at the right pace … Three years. We’re not even done yet. Can you imagine what we could do with five more?”

He will claim the sacrifices made by the British people would be put at risk if Labour or the Conservatives governed alone. “Labour would wreck the recovery. The Conservatives would give us the wrong kind of recovery. Only the Lib Dems can finish the job and finish it in a way that is fair,” he will say.

Mr Clegg will tell delegates that the Liberal Democrats have completed their journey from “the comforts of opposition” to a party of government. He will argue: “We’re no one’s little brother. We’re not trying to get back into government to fold into one of the other parties – we want to be there to anchor them to the liberal centre ground... bang in the middle. We’re not here to prop up the two-party system. We’re here to bring it down.”

In an unusually personal speech, the Deputy PM will admit he had a privileged background but insist that the upheavals faced by his parents and grandparents meant he was taught not to “ take things for granted”. He will say: “My Dutch mother had spent much of her childhood in a prisoner of war camp. My dad’s Russian mother had come to England after her family lost everything in the Russian Revolution... We were raised to believe that everyone deserves a chance because everyone’s fortunes can change, often through no fault of their own.”

Mr Clegg will stress that, since entering government, he has spent more time than anything else on improving social mobility through measures such as the pupil premium for disadvantaged children.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
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

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game