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Monday, 15 May, 2000, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Tories are the 'enemy' - Kennedy

Charles Kennedy with Romsey by-election victor Sandra Gidley
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is moving to capitalise on his party's success in the recent Romsey by-election by marshalling the anti-Tory vote.

With the next general election already looming on the political horizon Mr Kennedy has labelled the Tories "the enemy" while acknowledging that Labour is merely the "the competition".



Do you really want Ann Widdecombe as home secretary, Michael Portillo as chancellor or, God forbid, William Hague as prime minister?

Charles Kennedy
But he has stopped short of calling for an official alliance with Labour, nor has he made any direct appeal for tactical voting.

Speaking on Sunday, he told the BBC: "Much as we might have profound misgivings with the government of the day - which we do, whether over asylum and immigration, expenditure on the health service, support for pensioners and so on - we should be under no illusions."

"They are our competitors. But the enemy?

"What you have got to do to is look in the mirror and ask yourself do you really want Ann Widdecombe as home secretary, Michael Portillo as chancellor or, God forbid, William Hague as prime minister?

"I think the question answers itself."

Mr Kennedy added that the Lib Dems best way forward was to work on "maximising our appeal by being ourselves".

His comments follow the local elections where the Liberal Democrats' 28% share of the vote saw them come just one point behind Labour, with the Tories coming first.

Grabbing a slice of power

Responding to Mr Kennedy's attacks on his party Tory chairman Michael Ancram said: "Charles Kennedy and his Liberal Democrats have only two clear objectives.

"One is to scrap the pound as soon as possible and the other is to grab a slice of power by making deals and pacts with Labour.

"Charles Kennedy has once again made it clear that he will sell out any principle to achieve the second."

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See also:

05 May 00 | UK Politics
Romsey defeat mars Tories' night
05 May 00 | UK Politics
Romsey: What the result means
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