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Clegg: Point-scoring over migrant boat crisis 'distasteful'

Nick Clegg has accused Labour of a "distasteful" attempt to make political capital from the Mediterranean refugee crisis.

It follows a row over a speech by Ed Miliband in which he is due to suggest the deaths of hundreds fleeing North Africa are "in part a direct result" of the government's military intervention in Libya in 2011.

Nick Clegg called for 'a little less finger-pointing wisdom from Ed Miliband' Credit: PA Wire

Mr Clegg told BBC Radio 5 Live it was "pretty distasteful to reduce this total human tragedy, hundreds of people dying in the Mediterranean, to a political point-scoring blame game".

But he acknowledged that it was "legitimate to say that things then spiral in directions that you can't fully predict".

"All I would plead for is a little less finger-pointing wisdom from Ed Miliband - when he supported the intervention in the first place - and a little bit more adherence to facts about exactly who is ending up on these boats, why they are and what we can now do about it to stop this terrible tragedy," he said.

Clegg's wife Miriam: Tories probably want to kick me out

Nick Clegg's wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has joked that right-wing Conservatives probably want to kick her out of Britain.

As she is Spanish, Gonzalez Durantez is allowed to vote in local and European elections, but not the elections that select MPs.

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Nick Clegg's wife, speaks to GMB. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

Gonzalez Durantez told Good Morning Britain, "It is what it is. I have been here for 10 years, I have been religiously paying taxes, and yes it would be nice to be able to vote".

"Listen, if it was up to the right-wing of the Tory party, they would probably kick me out of the country altogether so I am happy I can be here," she added.


Top Lib Dem urges the SNP to 'come clean' on welfare

Scottish Liberal Democrat president Sir Malcolm Bruce has called on Nicola Sturgeon to make clear whether she still supports the reversal of welfare changes made since 2010.

"The SNP need to come clean," Sir Malcolm said. "Are they planning to reverse welfare changes since 2010?"

Scottish Liberal Democrat president Sir Malcolm Bruce. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

"This is what they have spent five years telling people. If so, where are they going to find the money that they have said would be £2.5 billion for Scotland alone?" he asked.

"If they are not, people will expect them to admit that they are not going back to 2010. SNP voters will believe they've been led up the garden path.

"Only Liberal Democrats have set out costed and credible plans to balance the books by 2018, building a stronger economy and a fairer society. The SNP are all over the place when it comes to balancing the books."

Lib Dems: Tory plans 'are all stick no carrot'

Conservative plans for young benefits claimants are "all stick and no carrot", a Liberal Democrat spokesman has said.

Speaking as David Cameron unveiled plans to have such claimants take on unpaid community work or be stripped of their benefits, the spokesman said

These placements are not designed to help someone into work, more to punish.

Young people should be given help and support into the workplace, help at job centres and the opportunity to get on in life, not just written off as feckless and lazy.

We must make sure young people leave school with the skills they need to succeed, which is why Liberal Democrats will protect education spending.

– Lib Dem spokesman


Ashdown warns Lib Dems 'stop it now' after plot

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown warned the party to "stop it now" after a "plot of deep malice" to remove Nick Clegg was revealed.

Lord Ashdown told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, "Anything you do now which is not getting out on the street, campaigning in the context of the next General Election ... is distraction and a dangerous distraction."

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on The Andrew Marr Show. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

He said the Lib Dems have to "get out and start campaigning for the next election" following disappointing results at the local and European elections.

Poll claims Ukip will win 22 European Parliament seats

A poll has predicted Ukip and Labour will each win 22 seats in the European Parliament election.

The YouGov/The Sun poll suggests that, compared to the last election, the following will happen:

  • Ukip: 22 (+9)
  • Labour: 22 (+9)
  • Conservatives: 16 (-10)
  • Green Party: 4 (+2)
  • Lib Dems: 3 (-8)

According to the poll of 6,000 voters, both Ukip and Labour would send 22 MEPs to Brussels, while the Tories would secure 16 seats.

The Lib Dems, who currently hold 11 seats in the European Parliament, are expected to send only three MEPs, while the Green Party look set for four.

Poll relegates Tories to third for first time in history

Ukip is set to win the European election on Thursday, narrowly beating Labour, according to the latest YouGov/The Sun poll.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to party activists during a rally in Ealing Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The projection sees the Conservative Party relegated to the third place for the first time in the political history.

The survey predicts the Liberal Democrats will finish fifth, behind the Green Party.

Alexander rubbishes Labour-Lib Dem coalition claims

Suggestions that Labour could enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats after next year's General Election have been dismissed as "nonsense" by the man in charge of Labour's election strategy.

Douglas Alexander told the Scottish Labour conference that his party should hold the Lib Dems to account for their role in implementing policies such as welfare reform and a rise in tuition fees.

Douglas Alexander is the chair of Labour's General Election strategy. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Alexander insisted that next year's election was "quintessentially winnable" for Labour.

"The Liberal Democrats want to pretend that they are the internal opposition to the Conservatives - they're not the internal opposition, they are the enablers of the Conservatives," he said.

"The reason David Cameron is sitting in Downing Street is because Nick Clegg is sitting next to him at the Cabinet table."

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