Nick Clegg warns of right-wing alliance if Conservatives win
Liberal Democrat leader suggests possibility that coalition would include DUPs and Ukip
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg warned of potential “Blukip” coalition “bringing together people who don’t believe in climate change; who reject gay rights; who want the death penalty back; and people who want to scrap human rights legislation”. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The Democratic Unionist Party could wield power after the British general election in “a backward-looking right-wing” alliance with the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has warned.
In his toughest words yet about the DUP, Mr Clegg said that most of attention has focused on the implications of a post-election pact between Labour and the Scottish Nationalist Party.
However, the Conservatives, Ukip and the DUP could equally form a partnership, “bringing together people who don’t believe in climate change; who reject gay rights; who want the death penalty back; and people who want to scrap human rights legislation”.
Urging voters “not to take my word” for it, Mr Clegg said: “Listen to the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr, who said: ‘I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. Or his leader, Nigel Dodds, who described the passing of equal marriage legislation as ‘a source of great shame’.”
“There is a right-wing threat to Britain,” he said. “The only way to stop it is to make sure there are enough Liberal Democrat MPs to keep the next government anchored in the centre ground.”
Mr Clegg’s warning came on the back of a Comres/ ITV News survey of 14 Liberal Democrat-held seats in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire, which suggests that the Conservatives could take each of them, if current patterns hold over the next three weeks.
Some Conservatives are backing for-profit schools, or an insurance-based National Health Service, he said. Others, such as MP Philip Hollobone, have issued warnings that immigrants “overwhelm our indigenous culture”.
Death penalty Bill
“With a hung parliament practically inevitable, there is a very real prospect that David Cameron may rely on these people to stay in No 10. You have all heard the mood music,” he said.
Mr Clegg’s decision to toughen up his language could create post-election pressures if enough Liberal Democrat MPs survive to form a minority coalition with the Conservatives, but one dependent upon DUP support from the margins.
Indeed, this is one of the two most likely outcomes of the election, behind the most-tipped result: a Labour minority government surviving on vote-by-vote support from the SNP.
However, the conservative social agenda held by the DUP deputies – some believe in creationism – is anathema to the Liberal Democrats, particularly the left-leaning MPs who have the best chance of surviving the May 7th election.