BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 16:59 UK

Election 2010: Time to make a choice, says Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg denies that his campaign is suffering from a "slow puncture"

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has told voters it is "time to make a choice", as he nears the end of a whistle-stop tour of England.

Mr Clegg started his final push for votes in Eastbourne, before going to a question and answer session in Durham.

In a direct appeal, Mr Clegg asked voters to give his party "a chance".

"If you... trust us with your vote, I promise I will do everything I can to make things better for good, to deliver the fairer Britain you want", he said.

The Liberal Democrats say the constituencies chosen for the last day of campaigning are ones they did not think they could win before the campaign started, and show the extent of their ambition.

"We have 36 hours to do something different, to deliver real change, real hope, real fairness," Mr Clegg told a crowd on Eastbourne's seafront. "Don't let anyone tell you your vote doesn't count."

With supporters chanting "we agree with Nick" and with his wife Miriam at his side, Mr Clegg hit out at his political opponents, who had "played pass-the-parcel with government for 65 years".

"If you voted Labour in the past, but feel let down after 13 years of failure and disappointment, or voted Conservative in the past and have no idea what they stand for, if you've never voted before, join with us in our campaign to deliver real fairness, real change for good."

Later, in a question-and-answer session at Durham University, Mr Clegg faced tough questions from students over MPs' expenses.

Election rally

He insisted that no Lib Dem MP had "flipped" their homes to make a profit - while admitting that no party was "blemish-free" on expenses.

Mr Clegg was also asked whether proportional representation was a condition of Lib Dem support in the event of a hung parliament.

"Regardless of the result tomorrow, people now realise we have a political system that is not fair, and doesn't reflect the will of the British people", he replied.

The Lib Dem leader is set to close the final day of campaigning with an election rally in Sheffield.

Elsewhere, the party's Treasury spokesman Vince Cable has been speaking about what his position would be if the party were asked to join a coalition government.

"I would be making it absolutely clear that I was part of the Lib Dem team, I'm not acting as an individual, and the approach of the Lib Dem team to the situation, hypothetical situation you've described, because we've no idea what's going to come out of this election, is that we have a series of principles based on radical change," Mr Cable told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

But Home Secretary Alan Johnson says Mr Clegg's chances of being a king-maker after the election are fading.

"The Lib Dems are on a slow puncture and the air is coming out of the tyre.

"Whether enough of it will come out by Thursday, I don't know, but people like what they saw with Nick Clegg three weeks ago and ever since then he's been a bit grating", Mr Johnson told Today.

Mr Clegg's visit to Eastbourne came a day after a local Lib Dem activist was arrested on suspicion of vandalising and stealing Conservative campaign posters and signs.

The party leader said on Wednesday that anyone who broke the law had "no place" in the Liberal Democrat's election campaign.

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