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Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 12:05 UK

Election 2010: Clegg refuses to rule out backing Brown

Nick Clegg
Voters will decide how the government should be formed, Mr Clegg said

Nick Clegg has refused to rule out working with Gordon Brown if the PM was at No 10 with a minority government.

The Lib Dem leader has previously said it would be "preposterous" for Mr Brown to continue if Labour had the most MPs but came third in the popular vote.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live it was for voters and "really not for me" to decide the election outcome, but could "work with anybody who shares my view".

Labour and the Tories warn that a hung parliament would be bad for the UK.

Conservative leader David Cameron has said that outcome after the general election on 6 May would be "dangerous" and would lead to "bickering".

Mr Brown has said he will "accept the people's verdict", although Home Secretary Alan Johnson has admitted it would be a "difficult" situation if Labour remained in power while earning fewer votes than the Tories or Lib Dems.

Opinion polls continue to suggest no party will achieve an overall victory.

'A bit peculiar'

On Sunday Mr Clegg told the Andrew Marr Show he would not support Gordon Brown remaining as prime minister if Labour "lose" in terms of votes cast, even if they had the most MPs.

He repeated that view on Monday but was repeatedly asked in Tuesday's interview if he would work with Mr Brown in the event of a hung parliament.

"It is not for me to decide; it is for people to decide how the government should be formed," he replied.

"I am not the kingmaker, David Cameron is not the kingmaker, Gordon Brown is not the kingmaker.

Lord Mandelson
Lord Mandelson said Mr Clegg's remarks appeared "slightly arrogant"

"There are 45m people who have still got to choose and I am not going to short-circuit that. It is simply not for any politician to do that."

Asked if it would be a "problem" to work with Mr Brown he responded: "No, no, no.

"What I have said is something very specific, which is that I think many people - not me; it is not about politicians, it is about many people who are thinking about how they are going to vote - would find it a bit peculiar that under our system, under our conventions, someone who is in No 10 can carry on being in No 10, even if they have come last in terms of the votes cast."

Pressed on whether he could work with Mr Johnson, he said: "What interests me is not the personalities; it is not the personal likes and dislikes."

He went on: "I am prepared to work with anybody who shares my view."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said there was a "clear overlap of policy between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats" which might see Mr Clegg leaning towards a coalition with Tories.

For five years Britain was condemned to weak government and economic instability. Britain cannot afford a repeat of that experience
Shadow chancellor George Osborne on the impact of the last hung parliament in 1974

He said Mr Clegg's remarks about who he could work with in a hung parliament appeared "slightly arrogant and started to exude the kind of entitlement that we have associated with Mr Cameron and George Osborne".

And Mr Clegg was in danger of "over-reaching" himself by talking about possible jobs in a future cabinet, the peer added.

Mr Osborne, the shadow chancellor, warned on Monday that after the last hung parliament in 1974, the stock market "ended the year more than 50% below where it began".

"Inflation rose, and interest rates were forced higher," he said.

"For five years Britain was condemned to weak government and economic instability. Britain cannot afford a repeat of that experience."



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