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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 16:41 GMT
Clegg pledging to fight ID cards
Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg said the local elections in spring will be a test for his party
The new Lib Dem leader has pledged to campaign "tirelessly" against "expensive, invasive" ID cards in 2008.

Nick Clegg said the recent data loss "scandals" had created a lack of public confidence in the government's ability to look after personal information.

His comments were made in his New Year message to the Lib Dem party.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said he would introduce "positive policies" on issues such as trade and defence and housing in 2008.

Mr Clegg, who succeeded Sir Menzies Campbell earlier this month, attacked Tory policy which, he said, blocked opportunity.

He also urged party members to take the "unparalleled opportunity" to break Britain's "stale" two-party system.

And he called for 2008 to be "the year we bring down the identity cards scheme".

We must reach beyond the stale two-party system to the millions of people who share our liberal values and change Britain for the better
Nick Clegg
Lib Dem leader

Mr Clegg, an ex-journalist and former MEP, is the third Lib Dem leader in three years to deliver the party's New Year message.

He said he had the leadership skills that would enable the party to challenge the dominance of Labour and the Conservatives by tapping into Britain's liberal beliefs.

"We have before us an unparalleled opportunity," he said. "We must reach beyond the stale two-party system to the millions of people who share our liberal values and change Britain for the better.

"Let us show what that means in the local elections that face us this spring."

Power to families

He said he wanted to put British families back in control of their everyday lives, especially on issues such as flexible working, ID cards or TV advertising.

"Giving power and responsibility to families - of every shape and size, of every background - is the only way to make sure everyone has a fair chance in life," he said.

In the coming year we will see another challenge which Brown, Cameron and Clegg have all seen fit to ignore - the very strong likelihood of vast increases in consumer prices
Nigel Farage, UKIP

He said he wanted spending on pupils from poor backgrounds equal to that in private schools and he would also cut taxes for low-income families if he came to power.

Attacking Tory leader David Cameron's attempts to attract Lib Dem supporters, Mr Clegg said the Conservatives did not really want equality of opportunity.

"They talk about social justice, but want to return to a Victorian-style voluntary system.

"They talk about families, but only want to help married couples. They talk about tax cuts, but don't say where they'll find the money."

Charles Kennedy quit as Lib Dem leader in January 2006 after a frontbench rebellion having admitted he had a drink problem.

Sir Menzies resigned in October, blaming an age-obsessed media.

In his New Year message, UKIP's Mr Farage said: "We will be bringing forward positive policies on trade, defence, criminal justice, housing, healthcare and the environment and others which if adopted will make our country a happier more secure and more prosperous place.

"In the coming year we will see another challenge which Brown, Cameron and Clegg have all seen fit to ignore - the very strong likelihood of vast increases in consumer prices," he said.

"These increases will hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest - pensioners, the disabled, the unemployed and those working on minimum wages."



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