Jeremy Corbyn attacks ‘pro-austerity’ Liberal Democrats as he rules out electoral pact
Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out an electoral pact with the "pro-austerity" Liberal Democrats.
The Labour leader said his party was determined to end the "horror" of spending cuts which began when the Lib Dems were in coalition with the Conservatives.
His comments were a clear swipe at Jo Swinson, who served as a minister in the coalition government, and has insisted she would not support any pacts which put Mr Corbyn into power.
Mr Corbyn was quizzed on whether he could agree a pact with the Lib Dems if Labour fails to get a majority on 12 December.
Addressing an audience in Lancaster, he said: “We are fighting this election on a programme of ending austerity in Britain, reducing inequality and poverty in Britain, ending Universal Credit and all the horrors that have been brought in by the coalition government of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats from 2010 onwards.
“And our government when elected in December will produce a Budget quite early on.
“That Budget will be produced by John McDonnell and that Budget will be about ending austerity in Britain and starting down the path of giving hope and opportunities to the millions of people who have seen their wages and living standards fall over the past ten years, seen their public services destroyed over the past ten years.
“So if other parties decide that it’s a point of negotiation with us whether we’re going to end austerity or not to get into government, I simply say this: It’s not up for negotiation, we’re fighting this election to win it, to end austerity in Britain and bring hope to the people of this country.
“We’re not going into coalition with any of the pro-austerity parties, in fact we’re not planning to go into coalition with anybody, we’re planning to win this election on our manifesto for Labour.”
The intervention comes a day after the Lib Dem leader rejected calls for her to pull candidates from seats held by strongly anti-Brexit Labour candidates.
It follows the party having agreed so step down in seats held by the Greens' Caroline Lucas and pro-Remain former Tory minister Dominic Grieve.
And it comes amid pressure following Nigel Farage's decision to withdraw Brexit Party representatives from any Conservative-held seat in a bid to boost Boris Johnson's hopes of a majority.
Ms Swinson said: “We will be standing in seats everywhere, apart from where we have reached those agreements with Remain parties... and that is the right thing to do.”
"Labour are not a party of remain. They are trying to deliver Brexit and that is contrary to what we are trying to achieve in this election which is to stop Brexit and give people the chance to vote to stop Brexit."
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“There is clearly no love lost between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with memories from the coalition very raw indeed.
"That neither Jeremy Corbyn or Jo Swinson are planning a pact is no surprise – they’re aiming for very different voters – but it does narrow the route to a Labour Majority. We go 25/1 (3.85%) on a Labour Majority, which looks unlikely unless there’s significant gains in Wales as well as a significant increase of their performance with Remain voters.
"That said, it is very early in the campaign and a lot can change in four weeks.
"If there is to be a route to Downing Street for Jeremy Corbyn, it likely comes through Labour winning the most seats, a 10/1 shot (9.85%) and then being the largest party in a minority Government (a 9/2 shot with Star, or 18.18%) that holds a Second EU Referendum in due course – the SNP looks to be the only viable coalition partner.”
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