Lib Dem members want Nick Clegg to back Labour if in event of hung parliament

 

Political Editor

Liberal Democrat members have warned Nick Clegg that they want to do a deal with Labour rather than the Conservatives if the 2015 election results in another hung parliament.

A survey of more than 600 party members by the LibDem Voice website found that 55 per cent would prefer an alliance with Labour and only 18 per cent a continuing pact with the Tories.

Mr Clegg insists his party is “equidistant” between the Tories and Labour, saying  he would respect the voters’ verdict by talking first to the party which had won the most seats. But many Lib Dem members suspect that, if he could choose, he would be more inclined to extend the Coalition with the Tories than link up with Labour.

The poll suggests that would leave him out of step with his own party, which would have to approve any post-election deal. “The message is that we like coalitions – just not with the Tories,” one Lib Dem source said.

According to LibDem Voice, 72 per cent of party members expect another hung parliament after the next election. Four out of ten members expect their party to be back in government in a second coalition; three-quarters of this group believe it will be with Labour and only a quarter with the Tories.

Some 40 per cent of Lib Dems want to see a formal coalition with Labour, while 15 per cent would prefer a “confidence and supply” deal under which the third party supported a minority Labour government in key Commons votes. Only 13 per cent of members want to see a second coalition with David Cameron’s party, while 5 per cent favour a “confidence and supply” pact with the Tories.

Lord Oakeshott, a senior Lib Dem peer, said: “It's yet more proof that most Liberal Democrat hearts beat on the centre-left, not in the muddled middle of British politics. We've proved we can make coalition work- but in 2015 we'll be more far comfortable working with Labour than Lynton Crosby's Conservatives".

Stephen Tall, co-editor of LibDem Voice, said there had been a noticeable shift towards a full coalition with Labour in the past year. “Tactically, it makes sense for the Lib Dems to want to choose Labour next time: it would show the party isn’t simply an adjunct to the Tories but can work with both other major parties if that’s how the public votes,” he said. “On a principled basis, Labour’s position on a range of big economic issues — tax-cuts for the low-paid, the ‘mansion tax’, ending universal benefits for wealthier pensioners — has moved towards the Lib Dems in recent months.”

However, Mr Tall doubted that the Lib Dems would form a full coalition with either main party. “I do not think the party will approve a second full coalition with the Conservatives: the party’s ‘triple lock’ — which means any deal must be approved by large majorities by each parliamentary party, the elected federal executive and a special conference — will, almost certainly, prevent it,” he said.  “While the results in our poll suggest the party would be willing to sign up to a coalition with Labour next time around, it seems very doubtful Labour will be prepared to offer the party the kind of deal that will make it acceptable. Too much bile has been spilled, too many bridges burned.”

However, allies of Ed Miliband and Mr Clegg say that relations between them have improved since they joined forces on how the press should be regulated after the Leveson inquiry.

What Lib Dem members want after the 2015 election

40% – A Labour-Lib Dem coalition

15% – A Labour-Lib Dem “confidence and supply” agreement

13% – A second Conservative-Lib Dem coalition

7% – A minority Labour government with the Lib Dems in opposition

5% – A Conservative-Lib Dem “confidence and supply” agreement

3% – A Labour majority government with the Lib Dems in opposition

2% – A Conservative majority with the Lib Dems in opposition

1% - A minority Conservative government with the Lib Dems in opposition

Source: LibDem Voice

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
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

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

£25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project