Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Sunday, 25 January 2009

Clegg: Tories won't offer change

Nick Clegg: 'We must retain optimism'

The Conservatives will not offer the "radical change" that the UK needs to make the country fairer, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said.

The Tories would shy away from major reform of the tax system needed to help those on middle and lower incomes, Mr Clegg told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

Asked who he might support in the event of a hung Parliament, Mr Clegg said it was "arrogant" to second guess voters.

He added: "I don't spend time worrying about deals or no deals in the future".

Focus on values

Mr Clegg declined to say what might happen should his party hold the balance of power after the next election, which some commentators believe is a real possibility.

The Lib Dem leader reshuffled his shadow ministerial team earlier this month in preparation for a possible snap poll.

Pressed on whether he would be prepared to support a Tory government or "prop" up another Labour administration, Mr Clegg politicians he could only act on the "cards that have been dealt them by the British people".

Mr Clegg said his entire focus was on getting across the values, beliefs and priorities of his party, which he said were "starkly different" from Labour and the Conservatives.

"Do you think David Cameron is going to change the tax system to ask people at the top to pay considerably more?

"I don't believe for a moment that a Conservative government will take radical action to make the tax system fairer."

The Lib Dems have called for 20bn in public spending to be either cut or re-allocated to free up money for income tax cuts.

"You won't get that radical change to our tax system to put money back in the pockets of those who need it most from the Conservatives or - judging by the record of the last 10 or 11 years - from a Labour government either."



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