Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 20:13 UK

Paxman pushes Cameron on Lib Dems

David Cameron is pressed about a hung Parliament

David Cameron has rejected suggestions Nick Clegg could have a seat in his cabinet following a hung Parliament.

"I'm hoping to form a cabinet based on my shadow cabinet. I think we've got a very good team," he said in an interview with the BBC's Jeremy Paxman.

Mr Cameron also predicted he would inherit a "complete mess" if his party won the general election.

The Conservative leader said his government would cut what he called "wasteful" public spending immediately.

Asked twice if he would have Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg in his cabinet under a hung parliament, David Cameron said: "I'm trying to win this election outright, that's what I'm fighting and campaigning for. I think it is achievable, I think we have a huge fight on our hands."

He said the question of whether he would serve under a Nick Clegg government was "not something I've been lying awake and thinking about".

"I think the Liberal Democrats, as we're discovering now, do have some, some quite frankly strange ideas that would actually not be change for the better but change for the worse."

'Mess'

He also said he did not agree with the policies of Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable.

"He thinks we shouldn't get on with cutting waste this year, he doesn't have a plan to stop the jobs tax. I think he's made a bit of a mess of it - I don't see him as some economic soothsayer, frankly - his numbers and his policies are beginning to unravel," he said.

Describing the situation his party would face if it were to form a government after 6 May he said: "I didn't come into politics to make these sort of reductions that we're going to have to do. The fact is, if we win the election we're going to inherit a complete mess.

"We are borrowing well, well over what we borrowed in 1976 when the country nearly went bust. But I do believe in responsibility, and whoever wins this election has got to take responsibility for this mess and deal with it."

Mr Cameron also dismissed claims the Tories would put up VAT if they won the election, insisting his first Budget would focus on cutting spending.

Although he again stressed it would be "irresponsible" to give guarantees against any tax move, he said: "We have said in respect to all taxes that we think the government's doing too much in terms of raising taxes and not enough in terms of cutting spending.

"We have absolutely no plans to raise VAT. Our first budget is all about recognising we need to get spending under control rather than putting up tax."

Labour's Liam Byrne said Mr Cameron could not give "one example of where his savings would come from or where the departmental cuts would fall" if the Tories won the election, in his interview with Mr Paxman.

"With every passing day David Cameron's big society sounds more and more like the same old Tories - tax cuts for the few at the expense of cuts to essential services and to our regions," he added.

Mr Clegg was the first of the main party leaders to submit to an interview with Jeremy Paxman. Labour leader Gordon Brown is due to face him next Friday.



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