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.
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."
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.
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.
Ukip is set to win the European election on Thursday, narrowly beating Labour, according to the latest YouGov/The Sun poll.
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.
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.
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."
David Cameron's commitment to an in/out referendum on Europe is causing uncertainty and damaging investment in the UK, Business Secretary Vince Cable will warn today.
He will say that firms will "look elsewhere" to invest if access to the lucrative European market is jeopardised.
As Liberal Democrats gather for their spring conference in York, Mr Cable will also warn that Eurosceptics are putting the union with Scotland at risk by indulging in nationalist rhetoric.
He is expected to say, "How on Earth do you expect to persuade the Scots to ignore the siren voices of nationalism and separatism when you indulge in British nationalism and Euro-separatism?"
We understand that councillor Mike Hancock has resigned from the cabinet of Portsmouth City Council. The Liberal Democrat group will be selecting a successor for the planning, regeneration and economic development portfolio.
Mike Hancock continues to be a Portsmouth City Council councillor.
MP Mike Hancock has stepped down from the ruling cabinet of Portsmouth City Council.
He was suspended from the Liberal Democrat party last month after the leak of a report into allegations of sexual impropriety. He has denied the claims.
Mr Hancock resigned the parliamentary party whip last year, but was still sitting as a Lib Dem councillor until the local group ruled that his suspension meant it must strip him of the party banner.
The announcement of his resignation came hours before a meeting at which local Lib Dems were expected to decide whether Mr Hancock could retain his responsibility for regeneration and economic development while sitting as an independent councillor.
There are new questions tonight about why it took the Liberal Democrats so long to act against an MP accused of sexual misconduct.Read the full story ›
Following a private meeting this evening, Portsmouth City Council's Liberal Democrat group has said Mike Hancock will retain his seat on the council's cabinet.
He has been forced to stand as an independent councillor as he was suspended as a member of the party yesterday over claims of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
Explaining their decision, the group said: "This was decided because Councillor Hancock is best placed to fulfil the role of cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development."
As well as being a local councillor, Mr Hancock is also an MP for Portsmouth South.