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06/12/2016

Clegg suggests coalescing with Labour in 2015

UK & Europe

Clegg suggests coalescing with Labour in 2015

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats)

Nick Clegg, the leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government, has hinted at forming a future coalition government with the Labour party after the 2015 election.

Polls show the election will be close with Labour currently leading Cameron's Conservatives by around 4 to 7 percentage points. If none of the parties win an overall majority of seats, the Liberal Democrats could hold the balance of power.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister, said Ed Miliband's opposition Labour party had realised it might have to share power after 2015.

"There's nothing like the prospect of reality in an election to get politicians to think again and the Labour party, which is a party unused to sharing power with others, is realising that it might have to," Clegg said in an interview with the BBC.

Clegg said that if there was a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition government, his party would "absolutely insist that government would not break the bank," the BBC reported.

"I think the Conservative party has changed quite dramatically since we entered into coalition with them. They've become much more ideological, they've returned much more to a lot of their familiar theme tunes," Clegg was quoted as saying by the Guardian newspaper.

Background

Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives and the smaller Liberal Democrat party led by Nick Clegg struck an agreement in May 2010 to form Britain's first coalition government since 1945.

Clegg and Cameron have much in common. They are the same age. Cameron is the Eton-educated son of a stockbroker, Clegg the privately educated son of a banker. Cameron was at university in Oxford, Clegg at Cambridge.

Clegg has enjoyed a rapid rise since entering British politics in 2005, becoming party leader two years later.

Born to a Dutch mother and half-Russian father, and married to a Spanish lawyer, he is the most pro-European Union of the main party leaders and speaks five languages.

Clegg was an advisor at the European Commission before becoming a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004.