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Nick Clegg asks voters to put Liberal Democrats back in government at 2015 general election

Nick Clegg believes his party should be a permanent fixture in British politics. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg believes that his party's place is in government and coalitions should be a permanent fixture in British politics.

Setting out the message that will drive his campaign for the 2015 general election at his party's conference in Glasgow, the Deputy Prime Minister said his party can be trusted with the economy.

But he told delegates in his keynote speech that it was right for voters to judge him, not only by his record in power, but also by his "values, character and background".

Nick Clegg with wife Miriam at the party conference. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Watched by wife Miriam, Mr Clegg - who has previously tried to keep his family out of the spotlight - drew on his experiences as a son, husband and father to explain "who I am, why I'm a Liberal Democrat and why I'm standing here today". And in a tantalising hint about his future intentions, he reminded delegates that "I won't be in politics forever", and that he has another life with his family and away from politics.

Despite an ITV News poll which today suggested that 67% of voters do not want another coalition, Mr Clegg also warned that a return to single-party government would be the "absolute worst" outcome of the 2015 poll.

Claiming credit for restraining the more right-wing instincts of his Tory coalition partners, Mr Clegg said Lib Dems have waged an "endless battle" in Government, fighting "tooth and nail" to block policies which they found unacceptable, such as inheritance tax cuts, "fire at will" employment laws, regional pay for the public sector and ditching the Human Rights Act.

As well as reeling off a list of Conservative ambitions which Lib Dems had thwarted, Mr Clegg said the party should feel "proud" of the priorities which it had implemented, such as lifting earnings under £10,000 out of income tax, gay marriage, the pupil premium for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, pension reform, the cap on the cost of social care, free childcare, extra parental leave and the £600 million promise of free lunches for children at infant school which was announced yesterday.

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