David Cameron has asked the electorate to embrace tactical voting to block a Labour government backed by the SNP from taking power.
The Prime Minister urged Liberal Democrat and Ukip supporters not to “waste” their vote and instead back the Conservatives, if they did not want to see Ed Miliband win the election.
“Vote for Ukip or the Liberal Democrats and you take Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon a step closer to Downing Street - and our government, economy and country a step closer to chaos,” the Tory leader wrote in the Sunday Times.
He described Nicola Sturgeon, the popular SNP leader, as a “hostage-taker" who would demand “more borrowing, more taxes and more welfare”.
Mr Cameron’s appeal comes less than three weeks to go until the election, as the Conservatives struggle in the polls and a hung parliament looks the most likely outcome.
While the Prime Minister did not use the phrase “tactical voting”, it appears that the party leadership is aware that it is failing to make headway in the campaign and needs the support from other party supporters.
Coalition partner Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, dismissed Mr Cameron's tactical voting call as “dangerous nonsense”.
Mr Cable confirmed the widely-held view that the Conservatives would be unable to win an overall majority at the election and said the Prime Minister would have to rely on the support of Ukip and “30 or 40 maverick Tory MPs”.
“These are people who hate his guts,” the cabinet minister told the Andrew Marr Show.
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