Updated: Friday, 7th August 2020 @ 1:30pm

‘Services cut to bone and communities divided’: Nick Clegg issues ‘Blukip’ warning

‘Services cut to bone and communities divided’: Nick Clegg issues ‘Blukip’ warning

| By Ben Weich

Nick Clegg warned voters that a right-wing alliance of the Conservatives, Ukip and the DUP could form the UK’s next government, urging people instead to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

In a marginal Lib Dem-Conservative seat currently held by his party, Clegg spoke of the dangerous social policy such a coalition would implement at Cheadle College, yesterday. 

Referring to such a formation as ‘Blukip’, Clegg said David Cameron might be held to ransom by Tory backbenchers and the two parties – that lean to the far-right in many areas of social policy – citing the Liberal Democrats as the moderating force in the last government.

“Imagine what Britain could become if the Prime Minister had to bargain with Nigel Farage for votes,” he said.

“Our public services would be cut to the bone and our communities divided. Our shared values of decency, generosity and tolerance cast aside.

“It would be a right-wing alliance bringing together people who don’t believe in climate change, who reject gay rights, who want the death penalty back, who want to scrap human rights legislation and privatise our schools and hospitals.”

Adjacent to his lectern was a large poster of Nigel Farage striding into Downing Street alongside Cameron.

And Lib Dem activists present handed out ‘Blukip’ playing cards featuring controversial statements made by members of the three parties.

Among the cards was one which reads ‘Look Left, Look Right, then cross (for the Liberal Democrats)’.

Positioning himself firmly in the centre ground between Cameron and Ed Miliband, but with his party stuck on around 8% in the polls, some fear Clegg doesn’t seem to have left his party any manoeuvrability in search for votes.

Yesterday’s event therefore might have been seen by some as a desperate – and quite cynical – bid to scare wavering voters with socially liberal sensibilities into voting Lib Dem.

So MM asked Clegg if ‘Blukip’ was enough of a threat to advocate voting Labour in seats like Heywood and Middleton, where in October’s by-election Ukip came within 617 votes of winning the seat from Labour, while the Liberal Democrats registered only 5.1% of the vote.

“I want Liberal Democrats to vote Liberal Democrat, of course I do. I’m the leader of the Liberal Democrats, I’m not going to advocate anything else,” Clegg said, drawing a laugh from the audience.

“I think when you make a choice you obviously make a choice first and foremost for what you think is right for yourself and your family and your community.

“You also vote for what you think is in line with your values and what’s right for the country at large. But it’s also about what threats there are.

“And there are threats because of the very fragmented nature of British politics and the fact that you can have extreme views working their way into number 10, almost by accident.

“And that’s why it’s so important to be very clear to voters in marginal seats who have been bombarded by literature from the Conservatives, paid from their huge, huge coffers.

“But they’re not being told the downside to voting Conservative in those seats, which poses a very, very serious risk to our country.”

Clegg also ruled out being in any coalition with Ukip, saying he didn’t want to be in any arrangement in which they’d have to dance to the tune of ‘that man’, meaning Nigel Farage.