Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 16:50 UK

Lib Dems targeting Labour seats

Nick Clegg
The Lib Dems need you: Nick Clegg plans to target Labour seats

The Liberal Democrats are to shift resources to target what they see as the 50-most winnable Labour seats.

Leader Nick Clegg said in a summer message that "a Labour vote is now a wasted vote" and said they would raise funds to target those constituencies.

"We're rejigging the party organisation so we're fit to win and fit to deliver our programme for government," he said.

Gordon Brown says Labour should have "confidence" in policies he says can win over voters at the next election.

Appeal

But in his summer message, Mr Clegg insisted: "There is no point voting Labour any more. There are no safe Labour seats.

"They will lose every by-election they fight in this Parliament. And at the next general election, they will lose in their heartlands to the Liberal Democrats. A Labour vote is now a wasted vote."

You never know how quickly things will change. Gordon Brown may find the guts to call the general election we should have had last year
Nick Clegg
Lib Dem leader

He spoke out after the SNP snatched Glasgow East from Labour in last week's by-election. Labour also lost Crewe & Nantwich in May - a seat it had held for 26 years - to the Conservatives.

The Lib Dem focus on Labour is a change of emphasis for the party, which in 2005 embarked on a "decapitation strategy" - aimed at unseating prominent Tory MPs, such as David Davis and Theresa May.

Turning his fire on the Tories - who climbed above the Lib Dems to third place in Glasgow East - Mr Clegg said while a lot is heard about them, "the truth is there are huge parts of the country where they haven't got a hope.

"Not even a single elected councillor in Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool or Oxford, let alone an MP. Places where only the Liberal Democrats can defeat Labour."

In an appeal to the party faithful, Mr Clegg stressed: "This is a huge opportunity for us. We've got to seize it. So I'm shifting our resources to put more campaigners and more effort into those seats where we're taking on Labour.

"I've instructed our campaigns chief Chris Rennard to step up our campaigns in the 50 seats where we're best placed to beat Labour.

"We'll be launching a special fundraising drive for those constituencies in the autumn and I hope you'll help."

'Ready for anything'

He said he was also sending Lord Rennard and Ed Davey, the party's foreign affairs spokesman, to the Democrats' convention in Denver in August to take a closer look at American campaign techniques.

"You never know how quickly things will change. Gordon Brown may find the guts to call the general election we should have had last year," he said.

"He may be replaced with yet another unelected Labour prime minister.

"We've got to be ready for anything. Britain needs a break from Labour.

"Britain needs a young party with fresh ideas for today's families - that's us. So let's make it happen."


SEE ALSO
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Why Clegg changed tack on tax
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