Nick Clegg: Lib Dems and Labour should join forces to end ‘Tory hegemony’

Posted On: 
26th May 2017

Nick Clegg has defied his party leader by calling for the Liberal Democrats to join forces with Labour after the election and mount a “proper challenge to Conservative hegemony”.

Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg
PA Images

The former deputy prime minister said he will “play my part” in helping to form a “proper anti-Conservative force” in British politics and prevent decades of Tory rule.

In an interview with the New Statesman Mr Clegg argued it cannot be “business as usual after 8 June” and declared that the Labour party cannot win again under the first-past-the-post electoral system - no matter who is leader.

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Lib Dem boss Tim Farron has ruled out any agreement or coalition with either the Tories or Labour at the election so long as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn remain in charge.

But Mr Clegg said he will play an active role in getting his party to work with Labour: “I am self-evidently a pluralist – why else would I go into coalition?

"I’ll always be happy to play my part in doing what I think is right, which is that we need a proper anti-Conservative force or forces in British politics."

He continued: “We can’t continue with business-as-usual after 8 June...

“If we all just carry on talking to ourselves in our own rabbit hutches, all that will happen is we will carry on with this dreary, soulless, almost perpetual one-party domination by the Conservatives.

“The dam needs to break within the Labour party, and the moment they understand that they can never win again – that their days as a party of national government have ended – can you start thinking about how to mount a proper challenge to Conservative hegemony.”

He added: “The Labour party is still operating under this illusion that it can win an election – it can’t! It’s irrelevant who’s leader.

"It doesn’t matter whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn or David Miliband – there is no way that the Labour party can beat the Conservatives under this electoral system... It’s impossible... their days as a party of national government have ended.”

At the start of the election campaign Mr Farron said there would be no formal coalition and no confidence and supply agreement with the Tories or Labour – though he left the door ajar to an arrangement if one of the parties changed leadership.

“There can be no truck that we could have with those two parties and their leaders as they currently are,” he told ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

“No supply and confidence, no coalition, no deal. No [we would not prop up a minority government], because what is very clear at this moment is that we have an official opposition which is not behaving like an alternative government, but is not even behaving like an opposition.”