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Sturgeon: Lib Dems have shown 'how not to' be in coalition

Nicola Sturgeon has told Good Morning Britain that the Liberal Democrats are facing "political annihilation" because they "abandoned their principles" during five years of coalition.

The SNP leader said Nick Clegg's party had shown "how not to do it" as a smaller party in coalition.

"The Liberals have in my view got themselves into the position they are in now - facing political annihilation in a few weeks time - not because they went into coalition, but because they went into coalition and immediately abandoned all their principles," Sturgeon told GMB's Susanna Reid.

Asked how many seats her party was targeting on May 7, Sturgeon said: "I'm not going to put a number on it; opinion polls don't win election - hard work, persuasion, having the best policies and best ideas for the country win elections."

Last week, Sturgeon told ITV News that her party could work together with Labour as part of a "looser arrangement" to keep the Tories out of Downing Street in the event of a hung parliament.

Clegg insists the Lib Dems 'can and will win' at election

The Liberal Democrats can thwart Alex Salmond's bid to return to Westminster, Nick Clegg will claim today as he insists his party "can and will win" in May's General Election.

Despite his party's poor showing in opinion polls, Clegg believes the Liberal Democrats will "do so much better than anyone thinks".

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Lib Dem leader will address activists at an election rally at the Scottish party conference in Aberdeen this evening.

Clegg is expected to argue that the party's resilience and the "incredible things" it has achieved as part of the coalition Government will be key to doing well in May.

Treasury announce 'tough' new tax evasion laws

The Treasury has outlined plans to strengthen the law on tax evasion following George Osborne's Budget yesterday.

Danny Alexander making his statement to the Commons today. Credit: ITV News

Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said a new strict liability criminal offence would be introduced so offshore tax evaders "could no longer plead ignorance" in an attempt to avoid prosecution.

"Strict liability will bring an end to the defence of, 'I knew nothing - it was my accountant my Lord,'" Alexander told the Commons.

He said the Government would also enforce a new offence of corporate failure to prevent tax evasion, so no organisation is allowed "to get away with facilitating or abetting others to evade tax".

Anyone who helps tax evaders will also be handed new civil penalties, Mr Alexander announced, meaning those found guilty will be forced to pay fines that matches the sum of the tax dodged.

During his speech in the Commons, Mr Alexander was met with angry heckling from Labour MPs who accused him of abusing his ministerial office by Labour to set out the Liberal Democrats' "alternative Budget".

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Alexander: Prospect of Conservative majority 'grim'

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will accuse the Tories of planning further spending cuts. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will use his speech at the Liberal Democrats conference later to claim that the prospect of a Conservative majority is "grim".

Mr Alexander, George Osborne's deputy in the Treasury, will warn that the Tories want to balance the books "solely on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society".

He will say that the Tories would make further public spending cuts while Labour has an "unclear" vision and is in denial about the party's role in the financial crash.

We're fighting to save the soul of this country from a clueless Labour party, a heartless Conservative Party and from deluded nationalism.

– Danny Alexander

He will insist that the progress made on cutting the deficit means that the next parliament could see increased public investment as the economy grows.

"We are now within touching distance of being able to finish the job of balancing the books," he will say.

"Now balancing the books will be a landmark in its own right. But reaching that point means more. It means that we can turn the corner."

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