Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Now Darling says Labour supporters in Tory/Lib Dem marginals should vote for "next best choice"

Chancellor Alistair Darling has become the latest minister to hint at Labour supporters backing the Lib Dems in areas where they are best placed to keep the Tories out.
In an interview in today’s Western Morning News, Mr Darling insisted every voter had to decide for themselves who to back at the ballot box, and “would encourage people to vote Labour”.
But in the wake of Ed Balls and Peter Hain saying similar things, Mr Darling said:
“We and the Liberals have many areas where we share a view, on political reform for example and that is opposed by the Tories.
“I think every voter knows what the score is in their constituency and they have got to make their own mind up and think if they cannot get the first choice, go for the next best choice. It is for the voters to choose at the end of the day. My job is to set out our case.”
Last week Mr Balls told me that Labour and the Lib Dems have “common cause” to “stop the Conservatives”.
“In some places people vote Liberal to stop the Conservatives, in other places they are voting Labour to stop the Conservatives. Of course, I think everybody should vote Labour but I do want to stop a Conservative government.”
And of course he repeated that on Tuesday, while Welsh Secretary Peter Hain who said, in an interview with The Independent, that people should “vote with their heads, not their hearts”.
Also speaking to me for today’s paper, Nick Clegg rejected these advances, knowing it could spell disaster for Lib Dems in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset who do not want to be seen as an extension of Gordon Brown’s unpopular party. He said Labour ministers were “just desperately trying to save their own skin”.
“Don’t let any politician tell you how to vote. It’s your choice, it’s your country, it’s your future.
“I am asking you to vote for something, to vote for a different politics, for fairer taxes by raising the income tax threshold to £10,000, for smaller class sizes and more one-to-one tuition for your children, for rebuilding the banks to get them lending again and for a decent and open politics.
“I think it’s a measure of how desperate Labour have become that they are now trying people to try to second guess how other people will vote, when I think people should be voting with their hearts.”

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