Nick Clegg would serve in other coalitions

Lib Dem leader acknowledges party has no prospect of winning 2015 election alone

Britain’s deputy prime minister, and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, has said a second coalition would be a better outcome for Britain than single-party government, as it would allow the Lib Dems to act as a restraining influence on either of the larger parties.Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Britain’s deputy prime minister, and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, has said a second coalition would be a better outcome for Britain than single-party government, as it would allow the Lib Dems to act as a restraining influence on either of the larger parties.Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Wed, Sep 18, 2013, 10:42

Nick Clegg yesterday insisted he would be willing to serve in coalition under either a Labour or Conservative prime minister after the 2015 general election, as he acknowledged that his Liberal Democrats have no prospect of winning power on their own.

The deputy prime minister said a second coalition would be a better outcome for Britain than single-party government, as it would allow the Lib Dems to act as a restraining influence on either of the larger parties.

Describing himself as “chipper” about Lib Dem prospects – despite polls putting them at 10 per cent or below of public support – Mr Clegg said he would “obviously” remain party leader up to and beyond the May 2015 election.

The Lib Dem leader slapped down Business Secretary Vince Cable for suggesting that the coalition Government might collapse before its five-year term is over.

But in TV interviews at the Lib Dem annual conference in Glasgow, Mr Clegg brushed off suggestions Mr Cable had been disloyal by going off-message on the issue, as well as sending mixed signals on economic policy.

He told Channel 4 News: “I don’t think it’s fair on Vince to read into his comments some mischievous intent.”

Mr Clegg declined to criticise the business secretary’s vituperative assault on his Tory coalition partners as “callous” and “nasty”, telling ITV News: “I’m not going to start doctoring people’s adjectives and adverbs.” – (PA)