Miliband rejects talk of working with Clegg

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP.
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Going into coalition with the Liberal Democrats would be ‘difficult’ for Labour if fellow South Yorkshire MP Nick Clegg was still leader, Ed Miliband has said.

Mr Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, has said he would be ‘open’ to working with Labour if the election scheduled for 2015 produces a hung parliament.

But Mr Miliband, Labour leader and MP for Doncaster North, was less enthusiastic about the prospect of partnership with Mr Clegg, who he called an ‘accomplice’ of the Conservatives.

He said: “Mr Clegg’s biggest problem is he will say he is a brake on the Tories, but he is an accomplice.

“He chose not to kill the Health and Social Care Bill - a bad bill doing damage to the NHS - and to pursue House of Lords reform.”

Asked if he could work with Mr Clegg, Mr Miliband said: “I would find it difficult.”

On Sunday, Mr Clegg suggested his party would do its ‘duty’ by working with Labour in the same way it was now in partnership with the Tories, if voters fail to return an overall victor in 2015.

He said he hoped that, by 2015, people would see the Lib Dems had ‘created a better economy and fairer society’.

Mr Clegg said: “If the British people say no-one has won, then I’ll be open to working with other parties.”

Asked if he could do business with Mr Miliband, he said: “Yes.”

Mr Clegg said: “If the British people said that was the only combination which could work, in the same way as after the last election the only combination was Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, it would be obvious Liberal Democrats would need to do their duty.”