Senior Labour party figures are split over the way to prevent a Tory landslide in the Westcountry by wooing Liberal Democrat support.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the Western Morning News yesterday that he would not disrespect voters in the region by telling them to vote tactically.
But his comments appear to contradict remarks made by Schools Secretary Ed Balls on Wednesday, when he highlighted Labour’s “common purpose” with the Liberal Democrats in wanting to “keep the Conservatives out”.
Mr Balls said: “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.”
Other senior Labour figures to suggest Lib Dem support could help Labour include Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, who said he would be "very comfortable" working with the Lib Dems.
But speaking as Labour stepped up its campaign with a new set of posters, Mr Miliband told the WMN: “I respect people in the Westcountry very much indeed and I am not going to tell them how to vote tactically.”
Outside Labour strongholds in Exeter and Plymouth, all of the major marginal battles in are between the Conservatives and Lib Dems. The Tories need to win a 10 Lib Dem seats in the Westcountry to secure a Commons majority of just one.