Only we are green, says Clegg

Liberal Democrat leader attacks rival parties as poll shows boost for Labour

Nick Clegg will unveil a "green" Liberal Democrat manifesto today amid growing signs that his party could forge a post-election deal with Labour in a hung parliament.

The latest ComRes survey for The Independent and ITV News shows that Labour has cut the Tories' lead from seven to five points, suggesting that Labour may have received a boost from its manifesto launch on Monday. Labour would be the largest party in a hung parliament, enjoying a slim overall majority if it won the support of the Liberal Democrats in key Commons votes.

The poll puts the Tories at 36 per cent, Labour at 31 per cent, the Liberal Democrats at 19 per cent and others at 14 per cent. If repeated on 6 May, that would give Labour 283 MPs, the Tories 281 and the Liberal Democrats 53.

ComRes found little public confidence that any of the three main parties would tackle the deficit in public finances. Asked which party had the most realistic plans, 25 per cent said the Tories, 23 per cent Labour and 11 per cent the Liberal Democrats. But 24 per cent replied "don't know", 15 per cent "none" and 2 per cent named another party.

Although Mr Clegg will play down speculation about a post-election pact today, the Liberal Democrats and Labour launched almost identical attacks on the Tory manifesto unveiled yesterday, claiming David Cameron's party had not changed. Some Labour strategists are advocating an unofficial "non-aggression pact" in which the party does not criticise the Liberal Democrats.

There is little prospect of Mr Clegg reciprocating. Today he will accuse both Labour and the Tories of downgrading the environment. In an attempt to outflank them, the Liberal Democrats have put the fight against climate change at the heart of their programme. Every chapter in the manifesto has a "green" section to ensure the environmental impact of key policies is assessed.

Mr Clegg told The Independent last night: "Climate change is the greatest challenge facing this generation. The old establishment parties offer warm words but weak, compromised solutions. The Liberal Democrats are the only party putting the battle against climate change front and centre."

The Liberal Democrats call for a "carbon-neutral" Britain by 2050 and a 40 per cent cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. They want 40 per cent of Britain's electricity to come from clean, sources by 2020.

They propose a big expansion of renewable energy; a huge programme of home insulation; new ways for people to make their homes more energy efficient and a pledge to block an expansion of coal-fired and nuclear power stations.

The Liberal Democrats list "creating jobs by making Britain greener" as one of their four key manifesto themes. The others are fair taxes, a fair chance for every child and cleaning up politics. The manifesto pledges to end the detention of children in secure units or young offenders' institutions and to take 500 of the most mentally ill people out of prison into secure treatment.

In his foreword, Mr Clegg writes: "We've had 65 years of... the same parties taking turns and making the same mistakes, letting you down. It is time for something different... Liberal Democrats are different. When it's come to the big decisions – on the banks, on the environment, on the war in Iraq – we are the only party that has called it right, every time."

Last night the Tories dismissed the Liberal Democrats' claim that they had sidelined green issues, saying they had been beefed up since the turn of the year. Mr Cameron yesterday reiterated his support for increasing the share of overall taxation raised by green taxes.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, said: "The Tories haven't changed. They want to offer unfunded promises today and hide the bill until the emergency budget that George Osborne wants to give in June." Danny Alexander, Mr Clegg's chief of staff, said: "The Tory manifesto offers only fake change, not the real change this country desperately needs."



ComRes telephoned a random sample of 1,002 GB adults on 11-12 April 2010. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk

Highlights of the day

Flat note of the day

After months of planning, the Conservatives' manifesto launch was slick, but one detail was overlooked. The choice of the song "Everybody's Changing" by Keane backfired when the band's drummer, Richard Hughes, angrily announced that he didn't support the party, the band hadn't been asked, and he was "horrified".



Flashback of the day

The Tory manifesto was launched by projecting images on to Battersea Power Station. In 1994 the "Hello Boys" campaign for Wonderbra was launched by projecting a giant image of the lingerie model Eva Herzigova on to the side of the building. This time round passers-by had to make do with the rather less titillating image of a suited David Cameron. Robert Phillips, head of the public relations firm behind the Wonderbra campaign, remarked: "Who said there is no such thing as a new idea?"



Stitch-up of the day

During a question-and-answer session with the press, David Cameron was unable to answer one on green taxation and passed it over to his old university friend George Osborne instead. A red-faced Osborne didn't know the answer either, and despite a hurried attempt to find it in the manifesto he had to admit defeat and ask Mr Cameron to come back to him later.



Inappropriate yawn of the day

Proceedings were clearly dragging for one Tory MP who spent Mr Cameron's presentation stifling huge yawns. Eagle-eyed Standard journalist Paul Waugh caught him: "I thought, 'Oh blimey, the whips will have his guts for garters.' But, hey up, it's Patrick McLoughlin himself taking in some extra air." Yes, one and the same – the shadow Chief Whip.



Heroine of the day

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, the international lawyer otherwise known as Mrs Clegg, has spoken out against the media's treatment of leaders' wives. "I think that the voters deserve better, deserve more focus on the policies and less on the clothes," she told ITV. Asked whether media coverage of the political spouses was patronising, she replied: "Patronising is putting it very diplomatically." One wonders whether Mrs Brown (accomplished public relations executive) and Mrs Cameron (accomplished businesswoman out campaigning for her husband again yesterday) would privately agree.



Misjudged parody of the day

Parodies of the climactic scene of Downfall in which Hitler delivers an angry rant have become hugely popular on YouTube, but a new version featuring a parliamentary candidate ranting about Oxfordshire Conservatives has been less well received. Conservative candidate for Henley John Howell failed to see the funny side and promptly reported the video to the police for "defamation". Mr Howell told the BBC: "The generation which fought in the Second World War would find it highly offensive and I don't see why they should be put through this. It's outrageous that they fought for the right to hold free elections which is what this film derides."

Billy Kember

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
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: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there