Nick Clegg has claimed he ‘works harder’ than fellow South Yorkshire party leader Ed Miliband because Labour ‘take their seats for granted’.
The Deputy Prime Minister made the claim as he visited a Sheffield nursery.
Mr Clegg hit back at comments the Queen had been to Sheffield more than he had in the first week of campaigning.
The Hallam candidate said: “Last week I was out on the doorstep three days on the trot, this ludicrous assertion from Labour is getting a bit threadbare.
“I’ve been a very dutiful and hard-working MP for this area for 10 years, I’m here week in, week out, I work much harder for my constituency I can tell you than Ed Miliband does for his.
“I can guarantee you that I do many more surgeries and do much more casework than Ed Miliband does in his own patch.”
Mr Clegg, who is defending the seat for the Liberal Democrats, said: “I just know what Labour is like in their seats, they take their seats for granted.
“They don’t work as hard – he’s not done nearly as many sort of hustings as I have, I bet he doesn’t do weekly Q&A sessions in his constituency.”
A spokesman for Labour leader Mr Miliband, who is defending Doncaster North, said Mr Clegg had ‘sold local people down the river’.
He said: “Nick Clegg has spent five years failing to stand up for his constituents as David Cameron’s yes man.
“He only has himself to blame for the fact he now faces an uphill battle to keep his seat in the face of a fantastic campaign from Labour’s brilliant Oliver Coppard.
“Ed works extremely hard for his constituents and always puts them first.
“He takes his duties as a constituency MP very seriously and would never sell local people down the river as Nick Clegg has done in Sheffield.”
Polls have shown Labour is in the lead in Hallam but Mr Clegg said he was not worried about losing his seat but ‘not complacent.’
He added: “An election is a contest, it shouldn’t be a coronation whoever you are in politics but I am confident that I will win because I’ve been out and about a lot – a lot of people locally don’t want to see Ed Balls and Ed Miliband repeat the mistakes of past, spend money they don’t have and jeopardise the economic recovery.”
Mr Clegg said increased choice in the number of parties was a ‘good’ thing for voters but meant the ‘big change in the election’ was that ‘everybody knows they are not going to win’ outright.
n See tomorrow’s Star for a constituency profile of Sheffield Hallam.