Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

Tory leader David Cameron urges 'clean' election fight

David Cameron has launched an attempt to woo Liberal Democrat supporters

Conservative leader David Cameron has used his new year message to call for the general election campaign to be a "good clean fight".

He said he wanted 2010 to be a year for "a new politics", and an election "free from fake political dividing lines".

Explaining this point, he urged the Liberal Democrats to focus on the similarities between their two parties.

Mr Cameron said there was a "lot less disagreement than there used to be" between his party and the Lib Dems.

"I don't think we should invent differences where there aren't differences," he said.

"There are many more areas where Liberal Democrats and Conservatives agree and that's a good thing but we need to have a decisive election.

"A hung Parliament would be bad for Britain, would be bad for the sort of strong united determined leadership that we need, but we shouldn't invent differences where they don't exist."

'Love bomb'

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BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says this could be interpreted as laying the groundwork for a possible coalition in the event of a hung parliament.

But senior Conservatives sources say this is an attempt to "love bomb" Lib Dem supporters - not their MPs - and to convince them on green issues, decentralisation, and less state interference.

The message they want to get across is the Conservatives would be more effective in delivering their desired policies, our correspondent says.

It also fits into the overall message, which is to oppose Labour's "dividing lines" strategy by emphasising that Mr Cameron would try to pull the country together and wants a clean election fight.

'Not trusted'

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg's chief of staff Danny Alexander said: "This kind of vacuous spin is fooling nobody.

"David Cameron seems to be confused about what a fairer Britain means.

"For the Liberal Democrats it means cutting taxes for the lowest-paid, for him it means cutting them for millionaires.

"Anyone who wants a fairer Britain knows Labour has failed to deliver and the Conservatives cannot be trusted where fairness is concerned."

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell has said the next general election campaign should not descend into a "hideous" class war.

Earlier this month, Gordon Brown said Conservative policy had been "dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton". Mr Cameron called the comment "petty".

Ms Jowell told the Sunday Telegraph the election campaign should not be a "to and fro of personality attack".



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27 Dec 09 |  UK Politics

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